Choices: BMW M3

Welcome back to Choices. An evolution of a series I wrote years ago where seemingly similar cars are pit against one another in a battle for your affection. It’s like trying to choose your favourite hamburger (they’re all great, right?) Your task, if you agree to accept it, is to determine which of the four cars below belongs in each category:

  • One would be your daily driver.
  • One would become a motorsport special (and maybe enlighten us as to what motorsport).
  • One would be locked away in storage for years to come.
  • One would be tossed aside like excessive packaging on a pack of batteries. 

It’s as simple as that. Have fun with the quartet below.

The Contestants

  • 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution
  • 1994 BMW M3 GTR
  • 2004 BMW M3 CSL
  • 2009 BMW M3 GTS

The BMW M3 has one of the most loyal, devoted and rabid fan bases of any automobile every built. Approaching its 35th anniversary, the M3 has always represented a fantastic combination of performance, luxury and style. It has been as successful with enthusiasts as it has been on the racetrack.

But which BMW M3 is the best? Amongst its fanbase, answers differ greatly. Some love the first generation E30 M3, with its four-cylinder engine and lightweight chassis. To appease those fans, we have the fantastic 1990 M3 Sport Evolution with its larger, 235 hp engine.

The second generation E36 also has its share of followers and for them we included the 1994 BMW M3 GTR, which was essentially a stripped-down road going version of the race used in Germany as part of a GT Cup Touring Car series.

Although the highlight of E46 generation of the M3 was the GTR Road Car, it was such a limited edition with a prohibitively expensive price tag, we are sticking with the still awesome 2004 BMW M3 CSL. Finally, rounding out our group of four is the E92 2009 BMW M3 GTS.

My Choices

I’ll start with my daily driver and select the 2009 BMW M3 GTS. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be most welcome during my traffic-filled commutes and I’ll never get tired of hearing that 4.4-liter V8 scream.

For the car I’ll put in storage, it has to be the 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution. As much as I would love to drive the crap out of that car on the track, it is too much of an icon to suffer such abuse. Plus, people are willing to pay small fortune to buy one today.

That leaves me with my track weapon. Both the ’94 M3 GTR and the ’04 M3 CSL would make excellent candidates are they were basically race cars masquerading as road roads. But ultimately, I like the look of flared fender E36 GTR more, and I can enter it in historic races. Sorry CSL, you’re getting left behind.  

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