Limited Edition BMW M3 convertibles, coupes to land in the UK in March

Article by Christian A., on March 1, 2012

The convertible and coupé models of the exclusive new Limited Edition BMW M3 are coming to the United Kingdom beginning this month. The special interpretations of the popular high-performance 3 Series come in a patriotic and strictly limited color palette of Mineral White, Santorini Blue or Imola Red. There will only be 500 of these models -- convertible and coupé combined -- available for release.

Each of these units will feature an edition designation laser cut into the dashboard's trim inlay. The Limited Edition 500 is mechanically similar to the M3 in technical specification. It utilizes the highly praised 420hp V8 engine, M-specific chassis with either seven-speed M DCT transmission or six-speed manual. The three prominent exterior colors of the BMW M3 Limited Edition 500 are matched by the distinct M-car signature elements of the side gills, kidney grille surround and twin double exhaust pipes finished in dark chrome.

Additionally, both the convertible and coupé models come with the automaker's high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, further accented by the 19-inch high-gloss black light-alloy wheels. Each of the limited edition units will be trimmed with the automaker's extended Novillo leather with contrasting stitching on the door panels and sports seats. 

The stitching matches the exterior color of the vehicle. For the Imola Red vehicles, they will have Black leather with Mugello Red stitching. As for the Santorini Blue units, Black leather with Tobago Blue stitching is featured. The Mineral White vehicles will boast of Fox Red leather with Black Stitching.

The Limited Edition 500's cockpit showcases the automaker's Piano Black interior trim. It has the edition designation 'One of 500' laser-cut into the left-hand side of the dashboard's inlay. 

Aside from owning the exclusive version of the sports vehicle, the owners of the BMW M3 Limited Edition 500 will also benefit from an offer that sees well beyond £4,000 worth of additional equipment included for just £1,000 in addition to the standard M3 Convertible and Coupé list price. This means that the Limited Edition 500 variant of the convertible costs from £59,785 while the coupé comes for as low as £55,690.

Although BMW had already released a number of products under the M line, the M3 Coupé will be the first one to have the EfficientDynamics technologies. An effect of applying this principle is that the M3 Coupé is able to utilize fully lightweight technology. The best example of this would be the roof made of plastic that is reinforced with carbon fiber.

This is the first time that a vehicle from this class would use such a material. Because of this, the roof is even lighter by 22 kg., compared to a standard steel roof that has been fitted with a sunroof. The roof also helps lower the center of gravity of the car to allow for improved balance. This roof was manufactured at the Landshut foundry, the same facility where the engine block used by the brand’s Sauber F1 team is also made.

While the material used on the roof help with lowering the overall weight of the car, it nevertheless helps in how the chassis has been configured as well as the excellent dynamic qualities. Thus the M3 Coupé comes with a bespoke suspension set-up and construction. Though the objective is to lower the weight, it was important that rigidity was not sacrificed.

As a result, all the parts that are in the spring strut double joint suspension in the front are composed of aluminum. This allowed the new model to lower the weight by an additional 2.5 kg. With the exception of the one-track control arm, the five-link axle suspension in the rear is also composed of aluminum. There are other features of the model that make use of lightweight materials like aluminum for the bonnet and the thermoplastics for the front wings and the bumpers.

Lower weight is not the only benefit of using the technology as the new M3 Coupé has a fuel efficiency of 22.8 mpg. This is 8% better when compared to the previous model. Meanwhile CO2 was lowered as well to 295 g/km from 323 g/km, a reduction of 9%.

All of these results are possible due to the Brake Energy Regeneration, which is of course part of the EfficientDynamics program. Models in the past generally lose any power that is created when the vehicle undergoes deceleration. With the EfficientDynamics, this energy is recovered to allow the Absorbent Glass Mat battery to be charged.

Of course when going faster, the alternator is decoupled to make sure that it does not drain the performance of the engine. On the inside, the driver can make use of the optimum gear change indicator placed on the instrument binnacle. As it allows the driver to activate the optimum gear, it results in economical driving. Helping the driver are stability control systems that are truly the most advanced and sophisticated offering in the auto industry.

The Dynamic Stability Control + system (DSC+) for instance is a good addition to electronic safety and can even be modified to fit the driving style. Features in the DSC+ include the Corner Brake Control, Anti-slip + Traction, and traction control. This helps the M3 Coupé with enhanced hill starts, smooth braking, and better wet braking performance.

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