There it is, in all of its bright orange glory– The very last BMW M3 Coupe to be built moves along the assembly line (below photo). While the M3 Sedan will live on, the iconic two-door version of everyone’s favorite road-track performance monster will give way to the larger (and likely heavier) M4 Coupe. It is the end of an era, and while there will continue to be all other manner of road going performance machines, the M3 was the one that we came to love.
The E92 was the first M3 to sport a V8, ditching the previously beloved 3.2-liter inline-6. The purists scoffed at the notion of a V8-powered M3, but soon the automotive press fell in love, like every M3 before it. The 4.0-liter unit made 420 horsepower, and could manage 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds with BMW’s double clutch transmission.
More than 40,000 Coupes were produced over its lifetime, and the V8 powerplant won the 3.0L-4.0L division of the International Engine of the Year Awards five years in a row. This was a loved, lauded vehicle.
It is with this reverence that the above photo, of the car on the assembly line, seems anticlimactic. Flanked by passion-devoid BMW 1 Series hatchbacks, this scene feels like the painting, The Fighting Temeraire, in which a revered sailing warship is towed to its impending demise by a mundane steam-powered tugboat. The future M4 Coupe may thrill, but the stout, hard-nosed performance of the M3 Coupe is something that will be surely missed in the automotive world.