If there is one unifying aspect of all BMW M cars, it is that their owners wouldn't trade them for anything else. When buying an M3, you are inducted into a group unlike any other. Owners stick together with more loyalty and dedication than almost any other automotive culture. Your M3 is not defined by its model year. BMW enthusiasts must memorize the chassis code of each generation. Much like fans of the Porsche 911, each generation has its own pros and cons. To see how the M3 has evolved since 1986, carwow brought together the four most significant examples. Here is a cheat sheet to help you bet on the right model:

  • E30: 1986-92, 2.3-liter four-cylinder 192 horsepower, 5-speed manual transmission
  • E46 CSL: 2004, 3.2-liter straight-six, 350 horsepower, six-speed SMG transmission
  • E92 GTS: 2010, 4.4-liter V8, 444 horsepower, 7-speed DCT
  • F80 CS: 2018, 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight six, 454 horsepower, 7-speed DCT

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You can't go wrong with any of these, as they all represent the state-of-the-art for their era. With prices for the E30 and E36 series starting to skyrocket, the E46 is a sound investment. Click the link below to find your M3 and tell us which one you want in the comments below!

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