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M3 - E46 (2001 - 2006) - What makes an M Car?

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M3 - E46 (2001 - 2006)
What makes an M Car?
Clean and economical sports car
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What makes an M Car?:
All BMW M cars have five essential ingredients:
·a high-revving, naturally aspirated engine with exceptional performance potential
·at least one pioneering technical innovation
·a docile nature for everyday road conditions
·a distinct and individual character
·outstanding value for money in terms of performance

"The new M3 delivers all this in spades", said Jim O'Donnell, Managing Director of BMW (GB) Ltd. "It behaves like a docile limousine in Hatch End, yet is as responsive as the most potent sports car at Brands Hatch. There is simply nothing like the new M3 on the road" he concluded.

Vital statistics:
The latest generation M3 features the all-new S54 engine. Although only 45 cc or one per cent larger than its predecessor at 3246 cc, the new engine produces 343 bhp at 7900 rpm, a rise of 6.9 per cent. This equates to 106bhp per litre, the highest specific output ever achieved by a BMW road car engine. The new M3 engine weights six per cent less than its predecessor and has a lower centre of gravity.

Torque, the value that determines in gear 'thrust' has risen by 4.3 per cent to 365 Nm (296 lbs ft) at 4900 rpm, whilst 80 per cent of this total is available at just 2000 rpm. This pulling power contributes to the new M3's civilized and flexible response in normal traffic conditions.

Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h (155 mph): the 0-100 km/h sprint is achieved in just 5.2 seconds for the coupe (and can be taken back to zero in just 2.6 seconds). Acceleration in fourth gear from 80-120 km/h, a typical overtaking range, is covered in just 5.3 seconds.

Innovation - the variable M differential lock:
All M cars have been equipped as standard with a torque-sensing differential with up to 25 per cent locking action. This improves traction and rewards the driver with more delicate balance. However, the standard locking differential's ability to aid traction in extremely slippery conditions is limited by the laws of nature.

BMW M, in cooperation with GKN Viscodrive GmbH, has developed an entirely new system that offers decisive traction advantages, even in the most demanding conditions. In combination with a finely tuned 'M' Dynamic Stability control ( DSC) system and the M3's 50/50 weight distribution, the variable M differential lock delivers driving characteristics previously regarded as impossible with a rear wheel drive sports car.

The new system senses the slightest difference in rotation speed of the rear wheels and instantly builds up an increasing locking action between them. The wheel running under less load (such as the inner wheel on a fast bend) cannot, therefore, lose drive forces. This ensures that the car maintains its forward progress in all situations.

This 'intelligent' distribution of power between the driven wheels is achieved by a shear pump 'reading' the loss of load on one wheel and generating pressure to a multiple plate clutch. This, in turn, conveys drive force to the wheel with better grip. In an extreme case the drive force may be transmitted to one wheel then, when the difference in wheel speeds decreases, the locking action is reduced.

The major advantage for the driver of the new M3 is a significant increase in handling and driving stability that, in turn, brings added safety and driving pleasure.

Last Updated on Monday, 12 April 2010 14:37  

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