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BMW unveils higher-performance M3

  • 444bhp M3 CRT hits 62mph in just 4.4 seconds
  • Use of carbonfibre reinforced plastic lowers weight
  • Production limited to 67 cars; won't come to UK
Words ByAndy Pringle

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BMW has unveiled a new high-performance version of its M3 saloon.

The M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) is both more powerful and lighter than the existing M3, as well as incorporating a host of motorsport-inspired enhancements.

The car is perhaps most notable for its use of carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Various parts including the bonnet and bucket seats are made of CFRP to save weight, and the way they are constructed paves the way for the more extensive use of the technology in the electric i3 and diesel hybrid i8, which are due in 2013.

Despite the M3 CTR's long list of standard equipment, such as sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and a top-notch stereo, it is almost 50kg lighter than the standard M3.

At the same time, the M3's engine has been uprated to produce 444bhp and 325lb ft torque up from the standard car's figures of 414bhp and 295lb ft.

The car's twin-clutch seven-speed transmission is designed to give uninterrupted power through gearchanges. Together with the lower weight and improved engine, it's enough to help the M3 CRT to hit 62mph in 4.4 seconds half a second quicker than the standard M3.

The car's suspension and brakes have also been developed using BMW's motorsport experience.
To set the CRT apart from the regular M3, it comes with only silver metallic paintwork and with bespoke door and dashboard trim.

This is the second high-performance model based on the M3 to be produced. Like the previous GTS, production of the CRT will be limited: just 67 models will be built.

BMW has no plans to sell the new model in the UK.