We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
Once again, we present to you, our faithful readers, a choice of three vehicles. We are asking you to decide which one you would make your daily driver, which one would become your Sunday cruiser or Saturday track machine and which one you would use for target practice with an assault rifle.
Remember, that commuter car you must live with every day. The toy would be only available to you for occasional use on weekends and the final car would be the one you’d put in drive at the edge of the Grand Canyon and drop a brick on the accelerator.
As usual we’re not making it easy to choose, tacking an icon amongst compact luxury sports cars, the BMW M3. We are giving you a choice of three different generations of M3, with three distinct personalities and three different cylinder counts. So, now it is up to you to decide which one you would commute in, which one would be your toy, and which one you will destroy.
1986-1992 E30 BMW M3
This is the car that started it all. Sure, there was the 2002ti before it, but the E30 was the first official M3 model. Powered by a 192 hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, this coupe was one of the best balanced, most engaging vehicles to drive of its era. And, at under 3,000 lbs, it was also fairly quick and proved a successful platform for international racing.
1995-1999 E36 BMW M3
When the second generation M3 appeared, it had gained two cylinders. Initially measuring 3.0-liters of displacement, the inline-6 engine grew to 3.2-liters by the time the E36 generation was discontinued. For those of us in North America, we sadly only received 240 hp versions of this engine while those in Europe produced 282 hp – 316 hp. To make the most of this power the M3 weighed in a hair over 3,200 lbs. and of course had amazing chassis dynamics.
2007-Present E92 BMW M3
The current M3 is a performance monster. Sure, weight has substantially gone up, but so has power. Under the hood of the M3 resides a fire breathing 4.0-liter V8 producing 414 hp. Those longing for the days when only inline-engines found a home under the hood of a M3 need to drive this vehicle as it will change their mind. Of course, the chassis is dialled-in for optimal track performance.