Chris Harris continues to bring us coverage of the unbelievably exclusive test drives of cars that you would think manufacturers would never let the media drive. This time around he does a few hot laps in BMW’s factory backed 2013 DTM M3. Though an M3 in name, the car is actually a full on race car with a carbon tub and an advanced aerodynamics package. These are the same regulations that the Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC) will be adopting for 2014 and Grand-Am racing in the US in 2017. The idea is to keep development costs down by getting more people on the same equipment. As Chris points out, the car is extremely technically advanced, maybe even to a fault. The DTM cars are so capable and aerodynamics dependent that there’s a lot less exciting wheel-to-wheel action during the races. It’s not like the Golden Years of DTM when the race cars were still based on the production cars. That being said, it’s still pretty fascinating to watch Harris try to extract the most from the car on the track.
This is the story of Randy Balingit-Hartmann and his 1989 BMW M5. Randy bought the car brand new in his early 20’s because it was a great match to his introverted personality. He’s managed to keep the car throughout the years despite of the ups and downs of his job situation. Randy says something powerful that I think we can all relate to: “When you have something that makes you feel good no matter how many bad things are happening in your life, why wouldn’t you keep it?”
BMW Motorrad is celebrating its 90th anniversary with several special edition concepts including this re-imagining of their R90S. Privateer British rider Reg Pridmore won the 1976 AMA Superbike Championship on a highly tuned version of the R90S giving BMW its first US motorcycle racing victory. BMW designers teamed up with Roland Sands Design in California to create this Concept Ninety.
Carlos Lago of Motor Trend gathers all four generations of the venerable BMW M3 to drive and review in succession. Rumor has it that the next generation M3 will be powered by a turbocharged inline-6 which will mark the end of the naturally aspirated era for the dynasty. That’s why Carlos decided to round up all of the previous generations to see how their characteristics have evolved while honoring the commonality that binds them together as a family.
I’ve always enjoyed Carlos’s reviews because of his appreciation for chassis balance despite of his easy access to the industry’s high horsepower monsters. He makes an interesting grouping of the M3’s based on their power outputs. Lago says the first two generations, the E30 and E36, are cars where there is more sweetheart lightweight chassis capability than power output. Starting with the 333 horsepower E46 and continuing with the 414 horsepower V8 E92, the M3 became larger and more flexible with the ability to mash the throttle to make the rear end step out at any time. The M3 had to grow in size, power and refinement to follow consumer expectations but always remained true to the M-Division’s goal of building the ultimate 3-series based driving machine.
Even though each generation is distinguished by period influenced power and weight figures, the M3 has always been a driver’s car in terms of exceptional chassis balance and smooth power delivery from an engine eager to rev. Will the next car be able to integrate with the M3 heritage? The new F30 chassis in standard 3-series form has been widely criticized for being duller than what people have come to expect from the car that has always been the industry’s benchmark for sport luxury. That being said, I’m sure the chassis design and suspension geometry are good enough for the M-Division to tweak with spring, shock and anti-roll bar tuning. BMW is also ahead of the curve when it comes to tuning turbocharged engines for responsiveness and smooth power delivery as shown in the Frankenstein hooligan of a car they built with the 1M. The auto industry is in the midst of a paradigm shift towards less energy consumption and carbon emissions, but that doesn’t mean that everything we like about the cars they make is lost. I have no doubt in my mind that BMW will make an outstanding turbocharged M3 that will live up to the cars they’ve built in the past while using technologies that we will need for the future.
The Bavarian Workshop in Southern California built this restomod BMW 2002 for one of their customers. The idea was to infuse the light 2002 chassis with the spirit of an E30 M3. The suspension was reinforced and upgraded with coilovers while an S14 engine from the M3 was put under the hood with a chip upgrade. The hubs were modified to take M3 wheels and Wilwood brakes and the interior was also refreshed with some Recaro seats from a more modern BMW recovered to match the 2002’s interior. They are calling the end result the M2.