BMW M3 GT E36  in British Racing Green

POWERPLAY IN BRITISH RACING GREEN.

The BMW M3 GT E36 from 1995.

Powerplay in British Racing Green.The BMW M3 GT E36 from 1995.

The demands were enormous, the legacy of the M3 E30 was weighty: From 1992 to 1999, BMW M built the second generation of the BMW M3 E36. The challenge: The new M3 would aim for a wider target group than its predecessor, without losing its motorsports DNA in the process. In retrospect, this goal can be said to have been successfully achieved. But the engineers from BMW M had another ace up their sleeves: In 1995, they created a more powerful high-performance model that is today known as the highpoint of the M3 E36 – the strictly limited BMW M3 GT.

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5 POWERFUL FACTS:

  • 01 Inline 6-cylinder engine
  • 02 Max. output 217 kW (295hp)
  • 03 Max. torque 323 Nm at 3,900rpm
  • 04 5.9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h
  • 05 Only 356 units produced
Optimised S50B30 engine of the BMW M3 GT

The optimised S50B30 engine of the BMW M3 GT.

MATTER OF THE HEART.

The engine of the BMW M3 GT.

When the M3 GT was launched in 1995 at a price of DM 91,000, under the bonnet was still the S50B30 3.0 litre inline 6-cylinder engine which had been introduced with the E36. Technical highlights were the six single throttle valves and the newly developed camshaft control called VANOS. This innovation enabled improved fuel injection and thus higher torque. 323 Newton metres at 3,900rpm made the M3 power unit the best of the naturally aspirated engines.

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The motor already had the short intake manifold from the 3.2l S50B32 engine from the facelift model of late 1995. The altered set-up with a 264° camshaft raised the power level from 286 hp of the series M3 to 295 hp. That translates to a power density of 72.2kW (98.7 hp), an excellent figure for the 1990s. The power unit is seen by many fans as a masterpiece of engine-building: Already from idling speed, the four-valve motor develops as much power as its predecessor at maximum level. Let off the leash, it catapults the M3 special edition to 100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds. The high rev character with its spontaneous throttle response can be experienced in every situation, at 7,000 camshaft rotations full power is reached. On the way there, it develops the typical sound of the BMW M straight 6-cylinder engine of that era.

 

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Design highlights of the BMW M3 GT

356 UNITS IN BRITISH RACING GREEN.

The high-performance coupé was only available in one colour: the BMW shade with the code 312 – British Racing Green. This applied to all of the 356 vehicles produced (including the five pre-production models). The rare special edition can thus basically be identified by its paintwork. In addition, there were specially made front and rear spoilers, along with aerodynamically optimized mirrors and M double-spoke aluminium forged wheels in the format 7,5J x 17" at the front and 8,5J x 17" at the rear which were only available as special extras in the M3 series. With tyres of the size of 235/40 ZR17, in the mid-90s the sports car gained the respect of observers even when merely parked. Another difference to the standard model was the front indicators, in white glass instead of yellow. Indistinguishable from the standard models were the weight-optimized doors made of aluminium.

 

In the colour-coordinated interior, the eye is immediately caught by the Amaretta sports seats in Mexico Green nappa leather, along with the high-quality décor trim made of carbon. In contrast to the civil BMW M3 E36, the GT model was never available as a four-door limousine.

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BMW M3 GT steering wheel and interior
BMW M3 GT sports seat and door sill

PURE DRIVING PLEASURE.

25 years after the launch of the BMW M3 GT E36, the vehicle still radiates a fascinating dynamism today. That’s not only down to the clear design, which with a few precise lines is particularly timeless, but also the performance – it’s hard to believe you’re sitting in a sports car that is already a quarter of a century old: The M3 GT’s sprint qualities still thrill drivers today, the large-volume engine’s elasticity can be felt with every overtaking manoeuvre. Underlined by the great sound of the normally aspirated 6-cylinder engine, a unique driving feel is created that still enchants motorsports enthusiasts today.

 

The reason for this is also to be found in the puristic character of the M3 GT E36: the lack of electronic driving assistance allows drivers with skilful hands to experience and enjoy the “pure doctrine”. This makes the coupé a car for sports drivers to the core.

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RARE EDITION MODEL.

The BMW M3 GT was only available in Germany, so it’s a rare find for international fans and collectors. According to estimates, there are around 80 E36 M3 GTs in Germany. The rest are scattered through Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Portugal and Turkey. In Japan, too, a few M3 GTs are lovingly cared for.

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BMW M3 LTW – THE M3 GT FOR THE USA.

For the US market, M GmbH created a separate version of the BMW M3 GT, the BMW M3 LTW. Between August and October 1995, precisely 126 cars were built. LTW stands for “Lightweight” and the car is true to its name. The vehicle is characterized by heavily reduced features: air-conditioning and sunroof were unavailable in the M3 LTW, as were a radio or alarm system. Using a thinner carpet for the interior and less insulation material meant that the vehicle’s weight was reduced to under 1,350 Kg. Less weight, and also less power: The slim M3 LTW’s revised M50B25 engine, which came from the BMW 325i, has 243 hp and thus a little less than the S50B30 of the German sister model. In Europe British Racing Green, in the USA gleaming white: The M3 LTW was only supplied in colour code 146 – Alpine White. Original examples of the car can also be identified by the chequered flag décor on bonnet and boot in the typical M colours.

 

The best-known owner of a BMW M3 LTW was probably Hollywood actor Paul Walker, who died in 2013. An avid sports car enthusiast, Walker’s car collection included five of the rare lightweight coupés.
 

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BMW M3 GT

BMW M3 GT.

Classic car with potential.

For collectors and M3 fans, the BMW M3 GT E36 is already a sought-after classic car. It has the potential to be seen in the same league with the valuable Evo models of the E30 M3 in the foreseeable future. In good condition with a reasonable owner history and low mileage, they can command prices of around €50,000.

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BMW M3 GT