Have you experienced the sweet mechanical song of a BMW S54 straight-six screaming towards its 8,000 rpm redline? If not, it is recommended by five out of five car enthusiasts. That is the engine BMW mounted in the third-gen M3, a fitting sendoff to their legendary powertrain engineering.
Six individual throttle bodies feed the cylinders, while the Double-VANOS system orchestrates a seemingly chaotic dance of cams and valves into an incredibly efficient production of power. When BMW coined the phrase, “Ultimate Driving Machine”, surely they had the E46 M3 in mind.
Produced in the early aughts, these M3s sport a strong, bulldog-ish stance that seems to beg for the opportunity to show off. That is backed up with a 333-horse, naturally aspirated six and, in the case of today’s car, a sweet six-speed stick spinning the rear wheels.
A liberal application of aluminum to the suspension bits combined with the M Variable Differential Lock ensured all this outward appearance of power could be properly applied to the road. It was, and still is, a car known as much for it’s amazing powertrain as for its telepathic handling.