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      08-08-2005, 02:26 PM   #1
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Some more detailed thoughts on the E92/E90 M3 test mules

Well, I always see people commenting on recent spy photos of the E90 M3 and call it ugly, or too plain, etc etc etc.. and the fact is, that the car put out on the nurburgring or any other track or road are out there to test some technical facet of the car, and not to show off styling. In fact, car makers all make the effort the purposely hide their styling cues as to not tip off their hand to opposing car makers and to keep an element of surprise with us. So in essence, its useless to comment on the styling of a test mule until the very end.

I was thumbing through some of my old photos from 1998 and found a stash of E46m3 spy photos that look eerily similar to the ones we are seeing of the e90m3.

Lets compare:

Now these shots were found after the coupe was released and were of the M3 under testing. Now many of you aren't familiar with the E46 as much, so I will explain what it is about this car. From the looks of it it looks just like a standard E46 coupe except with heavily flared rear arches. But the front arches look identical to stock. The front hood is also identical to stock, the mirrors are identical to stock, and finally the front bumper is actually the bumper from the E46 Sedan (non-m3) sport package kit. The rear bumper is also a standard sedan looking rear bumper with an extra piece of plastic mouled to the bottom (in order to hide quad exhausts). And a fake set of extra door handles on the rear part of the car to make people think its a 4-door car.

So if we were to look at this car without prior knowledge of what the M3 really looked like, here would be the summary:

"Looks like a stock car except with wider rear fenders"
- No change in front fenders
- No change in bumpers (looks the same as sport package body kit)
- No change in hood/mirrors/other accessories
- Only change are wider rear fenders

Now here of course is a picture of the real e46 m3:

The car in reality ends up with:

- Wider front and rear fenders with signature ///M gills
- All new and more deeply flared bumpers on the front, side and rear which completly distinguish the car from the standard e46
- All new hood design including egg crate grill and "power bulge" along with new design in hood lines (more V-shaped similar to an e39)
- All new quad exhaust system
- All new accessories such as signature mirror design and rear lip spoiler

Basicly the car has been transformed.. but from the aspect of the design of a car, these are minor things that can be changed after all the technical parts of the car have been finalized. And so in the end.. now looking at the E90m3 shots what can we really judge about what the M3 will be like from those pics.... ? they look very very similar to the e90 sedan because the car is purposly made to look like the stock sedan... SO lets just wait and see what little tricks BMW has up its sleave for us, and hopefully more of the real car will be revealed to us soon!