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1996 BMW M3

BMW M upgraded the engine in the M3 following the release of the ‘3.2’ at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show. Many of the changes to the engine reflect the lessons learnt creating the V12 for the McLaren supercar which was essentially two S50 engines forming a V. The new engine, called S50 B32, was larger and featured the Double VANOS system. This system made both the intake and exhaust camshafts continuously variable. Small changes to the S50 included a second oil pump, larger inlet valves, graphite-coated conrods, lightweight pistons and a new BMW/Siemens MSS50 engine management system.

Attached to the new engine was a Getrag six-speed manual transmission. In 1997, BMW Europe added a Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) as a option which was quite a substantial technology for the period. The system used an electronic clutch and hydraulic cylinders to automatically engage each gear. Following a push or pull on the gear lever the SMG system could change gears in as little as 0.4 seconds.

retained the same ratios as the Getrag box.

retained the same ratios as the Getrag box.

American 3.2

Like the 3.0 M3, the American M3 was detuned compared to the rest of the world. The S50 B30 USA was replaced by the S52 which was an evolution of the M52 found in the 328i and 528i. This engine produced 240 horsepower which was the same as the USA spec car released in 1994. The American cars did not come with the six speed transmission and retained the ZF Type C five speed manual.

In Detail

price $ $40 000 USD
engine S50 B30 Inline-6
position front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain DOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl w/VANOS Variable Timing
fuel feed Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection
displacement 3201 cc / 195.3 in³
bore 86.4 mm / 3.4 in
stroke 91 mm / 3.58 in
compression 11.3:1
power 236 kw / 316.5 bhp @ 7400 rpm
specific output 98.88 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 219.79 bhp per tonne
torque 319.97 nm / 236 ft lbs @ 3600 rpm
body / frame Unit Steel
driven wheels RWD w/25% Limited-Slip Differential
front tires 225/45ZR17
rear tires 245/40ZR17
front brakes Inner Vented Discs w/ABS, Two Piece Floating Rotors
rear brakes Inner Vented Discs w/ABS
front wheels F 43.2 x 19.0 cm / 17.0 x 7.5 in
rear wheels R 43.2 x 21.6 cm / 17 x 8.5 in
steering M-Tuned Steerin Rack w/Variable Power Assist
f suspension MacPherson Struts wSprings, Dampers Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Multi-Link Z-Axle wSprings, Dampers Anti-Roll Bar
curb weight 1440 kg / 3175 lbs
wheelbase 2700 mm / 106.3 in
front track 1422 mm / 56 in
rear track 1445 mm / 56.9 in
length 4432 mm / 174.5 in
width 1709 mm / 67.3 in
height 1336 mm / 52.6 in
transmission Getrag 6-Speed Manual
gear ratios 4.23:1, 2.51:1, 1.67:1, 1.23:1, 1.00:1, 0.83:1
final drive 3.15:1
top speed ~250 kph / 155.3 mph
0 – 60 mph ~5.6 seconds
0 – 100 mph ~13.0 seconds