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The purists howled, but V8 pulls the punters to BMW M3

By Peter McKay, 13 Nov 2009 Features

The purists howled, but V8 pulls the punters to BMW M3

Two more cylinders equate to more grunt, more fun and a swag more sales.

At the time it was akin to sacrilege when BMW overturned the tradition of a straight-six engine powering its M3 in favour of a V8 - but one belting out all of 309kW/400Nm from 4.0 litres.

Not an old design blunderbuss V8 mind, is a growling high-revving design with variable camshaft control, low-pressure double-VANOS which weighs less than the old six

The first eight-cylinder for the BMW M3 sports sedan, the engine produced that mountain of power and torque while reliability was maintained right up to the 8400rpm max thanks to a consistent and reliable oil supply with longitudinal and lateral acceleration up to 1.4 g ensured by two oil pumps and wet sump oil lubrication optimised to cope with extreme dynamic behaviour.

The V8 had to exceed the benchmark set by BMW's 3.2-litre straight-six, several times the "Engine of the Year" and developing a 252 kW in its last iteration.

While purists tut-tutted when the V8 arrived, enthusiasts voted with their wallets.

BMW has confirmed it will deliver the 1000th current V8-powered M3 in Australia in the coming weeks.

By comparison, it took the previous E46 generation M3 seven years to reach a total of 1579 cars. Sales of the earlier E36 generation M3 tallied 890 units after eight years.

In its time here, the new M3 has been embroiled in a mighty sales war with the rival 336kW/600Nm V8 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG four door.

The majority of customers want some comfort and pampering in their performance car but for those who demand something more hard core, a t hand-built clubsport special, the M3 GTS may be heading their way. . BMW is currently investigating the possibility of bringing the car to Australia.