Next in the BMW series chronicling the M3 come the second-generation E36 and third-generation E46 models. The E36 ran from 1992 to 2000, upping the game over its predecessor with a 3.0-liter inline-six that started out with 286 horsepower in Europe, or 240 hp when it came to the US in 1994. By the time it ended its run in 1999, it had vastly expanded the lineup and ushered in some key BMW firsts. Going beyond the coupe-only E30, the E36 added sedan and convertible bodystyles, and gave us BMW’sVanos variable cam timing system and the six-speed SMG sequential gearbox.
The E46 that launched in 2000 would pare down the bodystyles to coupe and convertible yet go further with design and technical changes. The 3.2-liter inline-six shared only three minor components with the previous motor and put out 333 horsepower at 7,900 rpm. It introduced the power dome, fender vent, and inset exhaust tips as design trademarks. The special editions included the Euro-only M3 CSL, and the second-generation homologation special M3 GTR with a 493-hp, 4.0-liter V8, of which just ten were made. Having made the complete transition from racer for the street to comfortable, perfectly balanced sports car, BMW sold even more of the E46 with just two bodystyles than the E36 with three.
Check out the video on the E36 above, then enjoy the look back at the E46 below. If you want to catch up on the latestBMW M3 and its M4 siblings, take a look at the video at the very bottom.