The BMW M3 Compact E36 never went into series production, and yet its impact is still felt today. Long before compact sports cars with over 200 hp became a favourite of passionate high-performance fans, it already offered everything that makes this class of vehicle so popular. So it’s no surprise that many view it as the pioneer of successful models that followed, such as the BMW 1 Series M Coupé and the BMW M2.
THE HOT HATCH PIONEER.
With its extraordinarily drivable overall package and the progressive, almost rebellious design of the prototype, BMW M wanted the M3 Compact to inspire a younger customer base in particular. With that in mind, considerations like comfort and space were pushed down the pecking order and fun factor brought to the fore. Achieving maximum sporty appearance and uncompromisingly agile handling was the main aim of the day.
GUARANTEE FOR DRIVING PLEASURE.
Short body and low weight.
It’s with good reason that many fans regard this high-performance car as a pioneer and the forerunner of iconic models such as the BMW 1 Series M Coupé and the BMW M2. Not least because with the M3 Compact’s significantly shorter body, BMW M engineers achieved tangeable improvements: the prototype weighs 150 kilograms less than the equally weight-optimised E36 M3 Coupé. In addition to its lightweight 1,300 kilograms, one of BMW M3 Compact’s trump cards is that reduced length. At the rear, the prototype is a good 23 centimetres shorter than the Coupé, making it more agile thanks to there being less active mass behind the axle. However, while it is often reported that the wheelbase is also shorter than that of the regular BMW 3 Series, it is in fact identical.