Advance auto zone blog about fast cars and auto trader

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Fourth-Generation BMW M3 Debuts

MUNICH, Germany — Less than four weeks after it was unveiled in concept-car form BMW has pulled the wraps off the definitive production version of its new M3. The muscular-looking two-door, planned to go on sale in North America as a 2009 model following a planned public debut at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, is the fourth iteration of BMW's original motorsport-inspired coupe.

BMW M3BMW M3 2BMW M3 3If it looks familiar, that's because the production car is a virtual carbon copy of the earlier concept shown at the Geneva auto show last month. The two share the same styling and design features, down to the finest detail.

The new M3 is once again based on the 3 Series coupe. However, a host of visual modifications make it appear more athletic than its standard sibling. They include a deep front spoiler, a distinctive power dome in the hood, chrome air vents behind the front wheel arches, new exterior mirror housings, widened fenders and four chromed tailpipes. It is all set off by new 18-inch forged alloy wheels and a lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced roof that helps to lower the crucial center of gravity. The new model is slightly enlarged to provide it with an aggressive hunkered-down stance befitting its reputation as one of the world's most distinguished performance cars.

In a move aimed at extending the new M3's appeal, BMW plans to follow up the introduction of the coupe model revealed here with sedan, cabriolet and wagon variants, each sharing the same mechanical package but with individually tuned suspensions.

Powering the latest incarnation of the M3 is a new 4.0-liter V8 engine derived from the 5.0-liter V10 unit used in the larger M5. The engine kicks out a solid 420 horsepower at 8,300 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm — an increase of 77 hp and 25 lb-ft to make this the most powerful M3 ever.

At the moment, BMW has confirmed just one gearbox for the new M3: a reworked version of the outgoing model's six-speed manual fitted with the lower 3.86:1 final drive. BMW had been expected to also offer the option of a seven-speed sequential manual gearbox, as on the M5. However, it appears this will not be the case. Instead, the German carmaker is said to be planning the introduction of an all-new double-clutch gearbox for later this year, possibly on the M3.

With a claimed time of 4.8 seconds from zero to 60 mph, the manual version of the new M3 outsprints its predecessor to the tune of 0.4 second. Top speed remains limited to 155 mph. However, the new car is geared to run to over 175 mph without electronic intervention.

© Source: article on insideline
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