June 02, 2012
The BMW M3 GTR is the classic cover car from the original Need for Speed Most Wanted, and the very latest M3 Coupé features prominently in our brand new Most Wanted. We recently caught up with our friends at BMW to learn a little more about what makes these cars so fantastic.
“A company is like a human being. As long as it goes in for sports, it is fit, well-trained, full of enthusiasm and performance.”
With these words, BMW founded its now legendary sports division. They kicked things off in spectacular style with the 3.0 CSL. This incredible coupé became the most successful touring car of its time, winning the European Championship six times by 1979 and rocking the international touring car scene for almost a decade.
They immediately adopted the blue, violet and red colour stripes that you see on today’s M Series models. Just "Wow!" The original BMW 3.0 CSL in its striking original race livery is something else.
The colour stripes and “M” are still visible on M Series models today, but back then, they were a little less discreet!
In 1974, BMW unveiled their first “extra hot” road-going car and delivered bespoke M Series developed engines, suspension and brake technology to people like us for the first time ever. This was the start of something special, but it wasn’t until 1978 that you could buy BMW branded with the famous “M”.
And what a car it was. At the time it was Germany’s fastest road-going sports car, with a staggering top speed of 164.1 mph.
In 1986, BMW brought us the M3, the most successful touring car ever and the basis of a production car that Auto Plus described as the Car of the Century. Gone were the striking spoilers and widely flared wheel arches. It was like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but you could still recognise the M3 badge and the unmistakable sound of the three-litre, 286 horsepower M Series engine.
In 2001, the M3 took off its suit and donned racing overalls. The M3 GTR lined up on the starting grid of the American Le Mans Series with a four-litre eight-cylinder under the bonnet for the first time. This car rocked US race tracks, winning the GT Class Championship and was the obvious choice for cover car on the original Need for Speed Most Wanted.
Of course it wouldn’t be Most Wanted without an M3, which is why an all new Most Wanted demanded an all new M3 Coupé. We love the M3. It delivers all around performance in every area that counts: speed, acceleration, power, strength and rock solid handling on practically any surface.
In Most Wanted, it’s the perfect all-rounder: strong enough to plough through road blocks, tough enough to take a beating from aggressive rivals and fast enough to cross the line in first place. And if you want to just cruise the open world with your friends or attack their Autolog™ records in an executive, luxury style, nothing else comes close.
If in doubt, pick the M3. We rarely leave home home without one.