When BMW controversially switched from its famous straight-six engine to V8 power for the latest generation M3, many purists cried foul. But it seems the move has helped sell the scorching mid-size German in record numbers.
In fact, over the coming weeks, BMW M, the luxury maker’s performance arm, has confirmed it will deliver its 1,000th V8 powered M3 in Australia.
“The M3 is the bona fide benchmark in its segment,” says BMW managing director, Mr Stavros Yallouridis. “Customers adored the straight-six M3, so it was understandable the switch to a high-revving V8 concept would be closely scrutinised. Some sceptics even predicted the downfall of the M3 – until they drove it.
“Fortunately, BMW M engineers are not bound by dogma. There are no sacred cows. They knew reputations can be difficult to live up to and the M3’s iconic status raised the stakes even further.
“The final result has not disappointed. Driving the new M3, customers quickly realised it had not lost any of its charm.“On the contrary, revving to 8,400 rpm, the V8-powered M3 is one of the most addictive cars you can drive on a racetrack. Yet in the evening it can take four people to dinner in style,” he says.
Since going on sale just over two years ago the newest generation M3 has been delivered to 973 customers in Australia, and is on course to be the nameplate's most successful iteration ever.
By comparison, it took the previous E46 generation M3 seven years to reach a total of 1,579 cars. Sales of the earlier E36 generation M3 culminated in 890 cars after eight years.
Since the new M3 arrived in Australia, Mercedes-Benz delivered 772 examples of the C 63 AMG. The corresponding figures for the Audi RS 4 and Lexus IS F are 129 and 158.
For customers interested in a clubsport hand-built special, the company has announced the BMW M3 GTS. Mr Yallouridis says the company is currently investigating the possibility of bringing the car to Australia.
“If it is available for our market and sufficient customers are interested we will make every endeavour to bring the M3 GTS to Australia,” he says.