Two more short documentary films provide insight into M3 development over the years.BMW has released two more short documentary films highlighting the M3's history, including the E36 and E46 generations.The latest videos provide insight into the evolution of BMW's design considerations after the first-generation E30 model proved successful both on the track and in showrooms across the globe. For the second generation, the company focused on a compromise between performance and street drivability.
"Here it was important for us to find a combination of racing technology and an increased ability for every-day use," says E36 chassis development head Gerhard Richter. "The aim was to exploit the limits on both sides."
BMW is proud of the E36's "mechanically perfect" inline-six engine, which introduced the company's VANOS variable timing system. European buyers were offered the most powerful engine variants, surpassing 320 horsepower in later years, however US buyers were limited to a 240-pony powerplant.
As intended, the E36 raised the bar for M3 sales with more than 71,000 units rolling off the assembly line.
The company shifted its focus once again for the E46 chassis, eschewing the understated looks of the E36 and returning to a "purist sports car." E46 project head Siegfried Friedman suggests engineers also placed a high priority on minimizing weight and creating a high-revving engine, which shared only three minor components with the E36's mill.
Sales increased once again with the E46, jumping past 85,000 units.
The company will release two additional videos detailing the E90 and current F80 M3 generations.