In any case, the E46 M3 quickly gains iconic status despite not being so old (it was launched in 2000). To be fair, it has a lot to do, sitting in the cute place where it is old enough to feel like a classic while still providing the necessary necessities we expect from a modern car that allows it to be used as a daily driver (AC, power steering, decent safety features).
However, the only part of the M3 that will count in this drag race against the fantastic Toyota GR Yaris with Circuit Pack is the driveline. So we look at a 3.2-liter straight-six engine that spits out 343 hp and
365 Nm of torque that went through a six-speed manual against the rear wheels. It had a heavy weight for a sporty car from that time, though, tilting the weight at 3,240 lbs (1
Although more modern, the opponent is still lighter thanks to the fact that it belongs to a segment that is two levels lower. Other than that, though, all the specs are worse, though not by much. The 1.6-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine provides much less power – 261 hp – but a similar amount of torque thanks to the fan – 360 Nm (266 lb-ft) – and also requires manual shifting through a six-speed gearbox. However, and it’s a big one, it sends power to all four wheels, and even with an improbably dry track on the day, it should still help the Japanese hot-hatch off the line.
In fact, the standing quarter-mile race is no competition, as the Yaris comfortably wins both games, albeit with Mat jumping a little at the start for the other. The gap does not look very flattering for the M3 visually, and the 0.7 seconds clocked between the two cars confirms that.
The 30 km / h roller coaster starts in the same way with the Yaris pulling away, but when the two cars reach higher speeds, Toyota’s lower plateau shows, and BMW comes flying past. Mud slowly past, but it will win. It’s the same story at 50 mph, just a little closer.
Finally, it’s time for the 70 mph brake test, and the M3 knows it has no chance. Finally, the 20-year gap between the two cars is reflected by the performance on the track. And it’s against a small warm hatch. It’s almost scary to imagine how bad the E46 would do to a modern M3 with M xDrive AWD system. Fortunately for that, though, it will soon become a classic, and no one will judge it by performance anymore.