E92 M3 - A Moment In Time

24 November 2021

The last E9x generation of M cars is a “moment in time”… Closing the naturally aspirated sports sedans and coupes chapter in style, pioneering new and remarkable powertrains at the dawn of an era. The E9x remains the only one to sidestep the inline cylinder lineage of M3 model range with a naturally aspirated 4,0L V8, winning International Engine of the Year in the 3,0L – 4,0L category for 4 consecutive years from 2008 to 2012. Naturally aspirated S65 B40 4,0L V8 is a timeless masterpieces that was designed completely from scratch with BMW’s F1 philosophy at its core – 500cc per cylinder, wide bore, short stroke, high compression engine, with individual throttle bodies and full variable valve timing, delivering immersive power density at high rpm’s. 

S65 B40 – Power & Torque

  • 420hp @ 8,300rpm
  • 105hp/L 
  • 400Nm @ 3,900
  • 100Nm/L  

E9x M3 furthered composite chassis solutions pioneered by the E46 M3 CSL designed to assist with the 50/50 weight distribution, holy grail, using carbon fibre roof lowering the centre of gravity and light aluminium body panels reducing the leverage over the axles, equating to a curb weight of 1,650kg.

E92 M3 – Power to Weight·      

  • 255hp/ton (3.9kg/hp)
  • 242Nm/ton (4.1kg/Nm)  

BMW’s traditionally undergo subtle tweaks throughout the model lifecycle along with special driver oriented chassis, power and drivetrain refinements offered with optional packages / special variants. The ‘Competition Package’, first introduced on the E92 generation of M3’s, constitutes a series of upgrades substantially improving driving dynamics of the vehicle:     

  • Uprated dampers with EDC       
  • 10mm lower and stiffer springs      
  • Stiffer roll bars     
  • Recalibrated limited slip differential       
  • Revised dynamic stability control (DSC) 

Limited production E92 GTS (150 units) and E90 CRT (67 units) are the two most notable upshots of E9x generation, concluding the chapter with two philosophically different lightweight iterations of M3. Both unicorns are powered by naturally aspirated S65 V8, dubbed ‘B44’ for its increased 4,4L engine capacity using elongated stroke and fitted with titanium exhaust, fully adjustable KW coilover suspension and 19’ 359M style rims from factory.  

S65 B44 – Power to Weight      

450hp @ 8,300rpm

  • 102hp/L 

S65 B44 – Torque       

  • 440Nm @ 3,750       
  • 100Nm/L  

The E92 M3 GTS is a track-focused coupe executed in the spirit of ‘club sport’, void of creature comforts as such navigation, radio and AC, some revertible as a no-cost option unlike sound insulation, front armrests and rear seating, suitably replaced with fixed bucket seats, 3-point harnesses and a roll cage. As a result the GTS shreds a total of -75kg, giving it a curb weight of 1530kg and a Nürburgring lap time of 07:48.0, a staggering -17 seconds quick than the Competition Pack.  

E92 M3 GTS – Power to Weight

  • 294hp/ton (3.4kg/hp)
  • 288Nm/to (3.5kg/Nm) 

CRT stands for “Carbon Fibre Racing Technology”, celebrating BMW’s motorsport derived intelligent lightweight design technology known as Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), used across the range of the last E(xx) generation of M cars for weight saving and as a structural (‘Carbon Core’) chassis component for i3 / i8. E90 M3 CRT features CFRP thrust plate, 2 bucket seats in the front and 2 bucket seats in the rear replacing the ‘sofa’ and decreased insulation, reducing the curb weight by -45kg to a total of 1,580kg.  The E90 M3 CRT presents itself as a ‘touring’ sedan in relation to the GTS, compromising 30kg of weight in favour of discretely executed weight reduction whilst maintaining overall usability and understated appearance. 

E92 M3 CRT – Power to Weight

  • 285hp/ton (3.5kg/hp)
  • 279Nm/ton (3.6kg/Nm) 

BMW have only ever built 2 platforms sharing 2 characteristic ingredients in common, only 1 of which made it to production:  

1.     E60 M5 CSL – Prototype

Engine – naturally aspirated S85 B55 engine with increased capacity to 5,5L with elongated stroke, producing 580hp and 542Nm, corresponding with 105hp and 99Nm per litre.o   Gearbox – 7-speed dual clutch transmission (Getrag)  

2.     E92 M3 – Competition / GTS / CRT

  • Engine (Comp) – naturally aspirated S65 B40 engine, producing 420hp and 400Nm, corresponding with 105hp and 100Nm per litre.
  • Engine (GTS/CRT) – naturally aspirated S865 B44 engine with increased capacity to 4,4L with elongated stroke, producing 450hp and 440Nm, corresponding with 102hp and 100Nm per litre.o   Gearbox (Comp) – 7-speed dual clutch transmission (Getrag) / 6-speed manual (Getrag)o   Gearbox (GTS/CRT) – 7-speed dual clutch transmission (Getrag) 

I.       Powertrain Architecture – high revving naturally aspirated engine & dual clutch transmission.

II.     Engine Design – enlarged engine capacity with elongated stroke mechanism.

The degree of attention drawn to SMG, lacks integrity based on unequal response to the subliminal, not to mention very rare, marriage of a naturally aspirated V8 with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The dual clutch principle is based on ‘gear pre-selection’ using a clutch per odd and even gear set enabling instantaneous changes throughout the rev band compared with slightly slower SMG, with no power transmission compromise to the inertia of a centrifugal clutch in a torque converter (ZF8). 

Comparatively speaking, the powertrain evolution from a 430 Scuderia to a 488 Pista is very similar to that from and E46 to an F80 M3. In both of the family trees, the models in between is arguably where the peak powertrain (F136 / S65) meets the peak transmission (Getrag 7-speed DCT).  

Wider frame of automotive reference lists numerous examples where, keeping other things equal, introduction of dual clutch transmission has vastly benefited the overall driving dynamics, in stark contrast to rivals based on automated single or centrifugal clutch designs.

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