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End of the line for two-door BMW M3

New number: Coupe and convertible versions of the BMW M3 will wear an M4 badge when the new models arrive next year.

Two-door M3 to end production in September ahead of possible Frankfurt debut for M4

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8 Jul 2013

BMW has announced some news that will have performance car enthusiasts the world over shedding a quiet tear – the M3 coupe and convertible will soon be no more.

Instead, the two-door hardtop and folding tin-topped versions will wind up at the end of this year to make way for the newly minted M4 that is due sometime next year.

While it is the end of the line for the two-door M3s, the M3 name should live on with a four-door sedan version also scheduled to appear in 2014.

Two-door production will officially end in September, in preparation for an all-new vehicle based on the 4 Series Coupe due for local release late this year.

While BMW has given little away about the first-generation M4, it is rumoured to be in line for a Frankfurt motor show reveal in September, where a production version of the 4 Series will also get its first public showing.

A 3.0-litre six-cylinder 225kW 435i that can sprint to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds, just 0.1 seconds slower than the current 309kW M3, will headline the 4 Series line-up before the flagship M4’s arrival.

The M4 name change follows BMW's switch to even numbers for its convertible and coupe lines, with the 1 Series coupe and convertible adopting the 2 Series model name from the second-generation range due in 2014.

BMW has built four generations of M3 models since the first E30 M3 rolled off the production line at Regensburg, Germany in 1986.

The first M3 – never sold in Australia – was powered by a 2.3-litre four-cylinder 143kW petrol engine and was available in coupe and convertible body styles only before production ended in early 1992.

The second-generation E36 M3 introduced a five-door sedan version, with BMW racking up 71,242 sales across the three body styles in the seven years it was on sale.

BMW ditched the sedan in 2001 for the third-generation E46 M3 that used a 3.2-litre in-line six-cylinder engine delivering 252kW and 365Nm, with 85,744 sold between 2001 and 2006.

The current fourth-generation E90/92/93 M3 arrived in 2007 and reintroduced a four-door sedan to compliment the coupe and convertible, as well as replacing the six-cylinder engine with a 4.0-litre V8.

BMW says it has built more than 40,000 current M3 coupes, 10,000 sedans and almost 16,000 convertibles since its launch with the US, Britain and Germany topping sales.

The 4.0-litre V8 is produced exclusively for the M3 and develops a whopping 309kW of power and 400Nm of torque for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds.

While this time matched that of Audi's RS4 in 2007, it couldn't beat the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG that arrived in early 2008 with a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds.

BMW won accolades for its powerful V8 engine that was supplied by the car-maker's engine factory in Munich, winning the 3.0- to 4.0-litre class of the International Engine of the Year Award five times running.

The fourth-generation M3 was a “trailblazer” according to BMW, with light-weight construction that incorporated an aluminium bonnet, plastic front side panels, and a carbonfibre roof.

While pricing, a release date and specifications for the M4 remain a mystery for the time being, production of the current-generation M3 will continue until September this year, with Australian deliveries likely to continue into 2014.

Earlier this year, BMW released a limited-edition, stripped-out “Pure” version of the M3, that cut the car’s entry price by $30,000 to $125,000.

The regular M3 Coupe is priced from $155,100, while the convertible is available for $173,450 before on-road costs.

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