The E92 BMW M3 Lime Rock Park is a Higher Truth Sports Car

Side view of an orange BMW M3 parked in front of trees.

Positive, it is a pumped-up 3-series, but it surely’s additionally greater than the sum of its components.
Picture: BMW

This yr marks the fiftieth anniversary of BMW’s M division. That fateful letter gave us a few of the greatest driving automobiles of all time, and on the high of the checklist is the E92 M3, the primary and solely M3 with a V8. The swansong of this mannequin was the limited-edition Lime Rock Park, with its placing orange paint job and manufacturing facility Inconel sports activities exhaust.

As a part of Monterey Automotive Week, BMW launched a bunch of its best hits for journalists. I’ve already written about my experiences with the 1973 3.0 CSL and 1988 E28 M5, however the E92 M3 is a mannequin I had pushed earlier than, albeit years in the past. Now that I’ve had the privilege of driving all types of sports activities automobiles, supercars and classic BMW M automobiles, how does the E92 examine?

In brief, superbly. The E92 is even higher than I bear in mind, for a number of causes. The primary, after all, is that unbelievable 414-hp 4.0-liter S65 V8 with its peak output of 8,300 rpm and its redline of 8,400 rpm. Not solely is it an extremely free and responsive motor, it is also prone to be the final M3 with out compelled induction, and that alone makes it price celebrating.

The back of an orange BMW M3

The Lime Rock Park version receives, along with the orange paint, an excellent sounding Inconel sports activities exhaust.
Picture: BMW

The S65’s comparatively low torque output of simply 295 lb-ft additionally provides to the expertise. It makes you’re employed to maintain the engine revved up and above the three,900 rpm peak of torque. It additionally makes the expertise extra controllable, since you are a bit much less prone to overwhelm the rear tires with a sudden shove of the throttle. The M3 was obtainable with both a wonderfully good six-speed guide transmission or a surprisingly good (for 2013) dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that rivals Porsche’s PDK for pace and really feel. The model I drive has DCT.

The true factor that makes the S65 legendary, nevertheless, is the sound. The Lime Rock Park Version comes with the M Efficiency accent exhaust system, which isn’t solely a bit louder (however not obtrusive), but additionally boosts the nice frequencies, making the engine sound each angrier and smoother at greater revs. As a bonus, it is also over 20 kilos lighter than the inventory unit, not that you will discover.

The subsequent factor – and maybe essentially the most placing factor for me, in any case these years – is the standard of the steering, particularly in comparison with any trendy sports activities automobile with electrical energy steering. The E92’s hydraulic system, mixed with the stiffer suspension and lighter wheels of the M Competitors package deal, makes for splendidly communicative steering. It is completely weighted, neither too heavy nor too mild, and the accuracy is improbable. It is arguably the most important factor that separates this automobile from the M3 and M4 that adopted it.

Let’s drive! 2013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Version – New Arrival E92 V8-Energy!

The chassis of the E92 can also be price mentioning. The M Competitors Pack, normal on the Lime Rock Park Version, advantages from distinctive digital damper management calibration, and this method does a terrific job of differentiating between the hardcore M mode and the softer on a regular basis mode. In its softest setting, it is by no means sloppy or floaty. Within the stiffest body, it is not one thing you’d wish to stay with every single day, but it surely’s not going to drop some filler or bounce you off the highway on unhealthy pavement.

The chassis works with the superb steering to make an extremely controllable and pleasing efficiency automobile. The E92 feels playful in a approach the present M3 and M4 do not. The present technology automobile feels indignant on a regular basis. It is extremely quick and competent, but it surely would not really feel as enjoyable because the E92.

So far as the inside is anxious, the E92 is finally only a well-equipped 3-series. The seats are supportive, however not full race buckets such as you would within the present automobile. (There is a particular place in hell for BMW’s elective $4,500 M Carbon buckets.) The general really feel is kind of spartan, in typical BMW trend, but it surely’s snug and a pleasant place to hang around. . The Lime Rock Park will get an Alcantara steering wheel, which is only a tough recipe after just a few months of oil buildup on the pores and skin. The steering wheel rim can also be a bit thick for my style.

In the end, on the subject of in-car tech, 2013 was a very long time in the past, and the E92 appears arguably the oldest on this realm. iDrive was notoriously sucked in on the time, and lots of the driver-assist options we respect are nowhere to be discovered. That stated, I do not suppose anybody shopping for an E92 in 2022 would care. It is simply not that form of automobile.

The museum instance of BMW Lime Rock Park M3, being low mileage and completely maintained, utterly recalibrated my sense of what a sports activities automobile must be. It would not must be a quick or menacing supercar. It would not must have an ear-bleeding exhaust or all of the tech bells and whistles below the solar. It simply must be accessible, partaking, visceral, and rewarding to drive properly. The E92 does all of this with aplomb.

A couple of years in the past, I promised myself that the subsequent automobile I’d purchase can be a 997-generation Porsche 911, and I meant it. I like this automobile and think about it the platonic ultimate of what a sports activities automobile must be. However rattling, this E92 M3 Lime Rock Park is making me rethink that call, and it is not one thing I ever thought I might say.

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