Representing the last of the naturally aspirated M cars, the muscular engine and elegant looks are what make the BMW E92 M3 a brilliant M car. Here’s what you need to know before buying one.

Why you want a BMW E92 M3

The last of something is usually pretty special and so it is with the E92 M3, which has the honour of being BMW’s last naturally aspirated M car, powered by the company’s last naturally aspirated M engine, and what an engine it is. The S65 V8 revs to over 8000rpm, making 420hp in the process and is accompanied by an awesome soundtrack making it one of the best V8 BMWs you can buy. It is wrapped up in a muscular body with a fantastic chassis underneath that delivers a thrilling driving experience. This is a car that will never fail to put a smile on your face. It might be a little bigger and a little softer than its predecessor, but it’s still a true M3 through and through.

And while some will argue that BMW’s latest M cars with their turbocharged engines are far easier to tune (and boy can they handle power), with the right modifications, an E92 M3 can be transformed into a true track weapon, or a big power street build. With a bubbling aftermarket, there’s no stopping which direction you can go in. Many opt to use the fabulous high-revving V8 out on track, and if you’ve ever been to the Nurburgring, it won’t take you long to spot one…

supercharged E92 M3

What to pay

E9x M3 prices have been tumbling in recent years, however, prices seem to have stabilised, with some starting to rise. That being said, there are some bargains out there for early, higher mileage cars. The cheapest cars start at around the £13,000-mark and at this price we found a manual coupé and a DCT convertible, both with just over 92,000 miles.

At around £17,000 mileages drop and the selection of cars increases – we spotted a manual with 65,000 miles at this price along with a manual saloon.

As you start getting closer to the £22k-mark you start finding later cars with better spec and LCI cars appear around this price point, as do Competition Pack-equipped cars. Over £25,000 is where you’ll find Edition and LE500 models and we even spotted an extremely rare Performance Edition up for £35,000. The highest price we saw was for a 2010 M3 saloon, with a price tag of £45k! Although that car does only have 8k miles on the clock…

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What to look out for on the BMW E92 M3

The BMW E92 M3 is a very well-built car and that means, general wear and tear aside, there’s really not too much to worry about as far as the base car is concerned. That being said, the S65 has two main weak spots: the electronic throttle actuators and the rod bearings. The actuators can last up to around 60k miles or so (there is no mileage-specific failure point) and you can get them repaired for around £500 with a lifetime guarantee. The rod bearings on the other hand will set you back around £1000-1500.

There’s really no way to tell if they’re worn as oil sample analysis has shown to be unreliable – the general consensus is to get them changed at around the 70k-mile mark for long-term peace of mind. It’s imperative that you talk with the seller about the car’s history. Ensure that the two weak points have been addressed in the past, or that the owner is at least aware of the issues. Have that part fail and you can wave goodbye to that S65 engine…

There have recently been some reports of injectors sticking open and causing engine failures so that’s also something to be aware of. DCT is so far proving to be reliable – sump gaskets can leak but that’s about all that goes wrong.

rear of supercharged E92 M3

Modifying a BMW E92 M3

Chassis and Brakes

If you’ve got Electronic Damper Control (EDC) and want to keep it, Eibach Pro-Kit springs are the lowering spring of choice or you can opt for KW’s Height-Adjustable Spring kit; you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to coilovers, with something for every budget, and a few will even let you retain EDC functionality.

The brakes come in for criticism and while they’re okay on the road they wilt quickly on track – good performance pads and hoses will be a worthwhile purchase, and a big brake kit is definitely worth it if you’ve got the cash and are going to be upping the performance.

Increasing performance

The best drop-in air filter is considered to come from BMC, while Evolve’s Eventuri carbon fibre intake makes impressive power gains. There are also several carbon plenums on the market that don’t make any more power but do sound awesome; PSDesigns also offers a velocity stack kit, which the company runs on its own E90 M3 demo car, and it sounds incredible and delivers impressive performance gains.

As for the exhaust, the primary cats are the most restrictive part. You can either gut them completely, or fit a pair of test pipes in their place, which deliver a little more power and noise.. To keep your car legal on the road, we recommend a sports cat.

The S65 loves a supercharger – there are numerous offerings available from companies like ESS, VF Engineering and GP infinitas. The cheapest kit comes from GP infinitas and will set you back around £4000 for 500hp while its 600hp offering is about £8000; ESS kits start at £8000 for the 625 kit, the 650 is £9400 while the new G1 kit is £9300. VF Engineering kits, meanwhile, start at around £7000 for the 540hp version rising to just under £10,000 for the 650 kit. Alternatively, you could go for Harrop’s positive displacement blower – it makes around 550hp with massive mid-range torque and costs around £10,000.

rear shot of e92 m3 spoiler


The E92 M3 might be a slightly softer proposition than its predecessor but it’s all relative and this is still a seriously full-on performance machine. The S65 is an awesome engine and makes this generation of M3 something truly special, putting the latest F8x and G8x M3s to shame in the sound department. The whole driving experience is simply sensational and while the engine needs to be revved, doing so is never a chore. There are a couple of big-ticket items to be aware of but, overall, this model is proving to be reliable. As the last naturally aspirated M3, the E9x is a fitting swansong and a superb and seriously exciting car.

With values of cars only set to go one way, now yours chance to get in the action before the train leaves.

Tech Spec: BMW E92 M3

  • Engine: 4.0-litre V8 S65B40
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, seven-speed M DCT
  • Power: 420hp
  • Torque: 295lb ft
  • 0-62mph: 4.8 (DCT 4.6) seconds
  • Price When New: £50,625 (Coupé)
  • Price Now: £13,000-£35,000

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