BMW E46 M3 Coupe vs BMW F82 M4 Comparison

BMW F82 M4 vs E46 M3 1 photo
Photo: Original image by autoevolution
In the wake of seeing the first F80 M3 and F82 M4 models on the street, more and more people are starting to remember the inline 6-cylinder configuration and the way the last M3 fitted with such an engine drove.
We’re talking about the E46 M3, of course, the third car in the history of the model after the E30 and E36 versions and one of the best ever made. Two of them used the same engine architecture while the E30 stuck to 4-cylinder units while the E92 M3 was another exception, coming out with a 4-liter V8. Therefore, the new models are just a return to the roots, a comeback and a breath of fresh air for all the fans that have been complaining lately.

Compared to the E46 M3, the M4 is definitely a step up while keeping the weight in check. Actually, the new model is the first one in the Motorsport division’s history that is lighter than its predecessor and just on par with its grandfather at under 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs). Furthermore, it has a smaller engine, considerably more torque and more than 100 extra HP, thanks to turbocharging. Sure, you won’t get the 8,000 RPM redline but the 7,600 RPM limit is damn close!

Talking about the engine, it should be pointed out that back then, the E46 model was one of the most technical advanced models out there, its ‘heart’ using 24 valves and six individual electronic throttles for a more rapid response. With 333 HP and 262 lb-ft (355 Nm) of torque the Coupe was capable of 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 5.2 seconds, with a Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), the best you could have back then. It felt a lot faster, though.

Today, the M4 will be coming out with BMW’s fastest gearbox too, the 7-speed DCT unit that shifts unbelievably fast. Coupled to the 3-liter biturbo S55 engine under the bonnet making 431 HP and 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque it will do the same benchmark speed 1.1 seconds faster, a worthy a notable improvement.

What amazed the people about the E46 M3 back then, though, was the way that gearbox worked and how similar it was to a manual. back then BMW was involved in Formula 1 and a couple of the tech used on the Williams BMW car was infused in this particular model, including the launch control sequence that was staggering. The only downside of this kind of transmission was that you could forget what speed you were on at times and the display didn’t help that much.

For that kind of problems, you could always go with the manual 6-speed unit from Getrag. The same applies today, for the new M4 that can be had with both an automatic and manual that was especially developed for the new M cars. Even though it might not be using F1 tech, we’re pretty sure, it’s going to be very good nonetheless.

Overall, the E46 M3 had its own flaws too but in the end the feeling it gave the driver and the experience it was providing was able to overrule everything else and turned it into a legend. The handling was superb and the design unique, being the best car in its class at the time, hands down.

Today, the F82 M4 is coming out with a new name and a lot of controversy. Its turbocharged engine is probably the most problematic area and a lot of people will be reluctant before driving one but we’re sure that it will manage to impress in the end and start up a new legend around it. Only time will tell.
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