Not only the last true M3 coupe but also, in all likelihood, the last normally aspirated M car too. That fabulous V8 needs a proper send-off. And over the next week that's what we'll be doing.
So, I've had to give the M3 back. And with a heavy heart too - it's been quite a week. All good stories should end on a cliffhanger though and in the case of this one it's the question of what the M4 has to measure up to.
To complete this send off in suitable style and knowing that BMW UK has both a new M3and M4 in the country (because I'd seen them only the other week) I rang the press office on the off chance we might be able to shoot the E92 beside its F82 successor.
It's always interesting putting cars of succeeding generations together and musing on the differences and similarities. The first thing that hits you is the M4's size; we know cars are getting bigger but the E92 looks like a 1 M Coupe against the M4. This was just a static shoot so unfortunately comparisons will have to remain aesthetic for now but it's clear the M4 carries over the M3's pumped up looks and is significantly more aggressive looking than 'our' M Sport embellished 435i long termer.
The F82 is indeed longer overall than the E92 but only by 26mm - the 50mm wheelbase stretch and 16mm lower roof together with significantly increased width (43mm for the non-M 4 Series over the equivalent 3 Series Coupe) all adding up to a greater difference to the eye. Impressively though for all that extra metal and the added complexity of the twin-turbo engine the M4 is a significant 83kg lighter than the M3, comparing like for like manual coupes. It's a smidge under 1,500kg as a result - the DCT M3 like 'ours' is a porky 1,655kg - and that and the 38 per cent increase in torque should answer those who've complained about the V8 car only really coming alive in the top end of the rev range.
But, boy, when it does... Those fleeting moments when you do get a chance to extend the V8 remain something truly special, perhaps the more so because they are hard won and require a determined effort. The M4's considerable talents are going to be much easier to access but the fact you have to work the M3 is, to me, what makes it special.
Looking back at yesterday's comparison with the C63 it'll be interesting to see whether its turbocharged replacement is closer in character to the M4 or whether the M division has maintained some of that more manic power delivery that's traditionally separated products from M and AMG.
So yes, we're excited about the M4 and M3 saloon. But it's also been a real treat to rediscover the V8 car and savour what makes it so unique. If all this has whetted your appetite we've got a full buying guide coming later in the week but for now I'll sign off with a few more pics from this morning's brief encounter.
Tuesday - M3 gets dropped off, Dan gets excited
Wednesday - Sideways fun in the M3 at a skiddy Bedford Autodrome
Thursday - Our M3 versus the bright orange M3 GTS
Friday - M3 owning PHers share the love
Weekend - Comparing the market at M experts Munich Legends
Monday - M3 versus C63 AMG, decisions decisions