BMW in the world

M3 Lightweight (LTW) (E36)

Beginning with the first E36 M3s delivered, BMW racers began pressuring BMW for a homologation version with which to compete against Porsche 911s in sports-car racing. A homologation version is a car with special modifications from the factory that are allowed in racing as "production" cars, if enough cars are made and sold. In 1995, BMW relented and offered the M3 LTW. The major changes to the car were to lower the weight for racing. The cars came without a radio (although the speakers were installed and the car pre-wired for the radio), air conditioning (later offered as a dealer installed option), leather seats, tool kit, or a sun roof. The doors have aluminum skins. There is no underhood insulation blanket and the trunk only has carpet on the floor. The under body insulation is thinner and there is special carpeting to lower weight. Overall the changes added up to 200 -300 pounds less than a standard M3. The engines were specially selected from the assembly line for the highest power. The ECU had the top speed limiter removed. The cars also came with a 3.23 rear axle ratio versus the standard 3.15 of the 1995 M3s. The cars were fitted with a sport suspension with stiffer springs and shocks. Cosmetically the M3 LTW came only in Alpine White with the Motorsports flag decals on the left front and right rear corners of the car. There is an aggressive wing on the trunk lid. There was some carbon fiber interior trim and the badges (side molding and dash) say "BMW Motorsports International." The seat fabric is black with a red pattern. Upon completion they were sent to Prototype Technology Group (PTG) Racing n Virginia for final preparation, which included the front and rear Motorsport flag decals, and "trunk kit." In the trunk there was a different oil pan with special oil pump, longer oil dipstick tube, front strut bar, lower x brace, spacer blocks to raise the rear wing, and an adjustable front splitter. The oil pump was actually two pumps, one for feeding oil to the engine as normal, the second fed from a second pick up at the front of the pan and pumped the oil back into the sump to prevent build up of oil in the shallow area of the oil pan. Each new owner was given a 1 page legal document to sign stating that any installation of trunk items voided the new car warranty. Later cars did not come with the "trunk kit" in the trunk, but with a form that allowed the owner to order the items at no cost. Unique forged 17-inch alloy wheels, 7 1?2 inches wide in the front and 8 1?2inches wide in the rear, mounted with identically sized 235/40-17 tires front and rear were an additional difference from the standard 17 ? 7 1?2-inch cast alloy wheels mounted with 235/40-17 tires on standard M3s.[13] Although BMW promised to build approximately 100, BMW never released the number of M3 LTWs built, and because of the peculiar assembly line, to this day may not be known. However, enthusiasts now believe that there exist approximately 125 built, with some 116 sold to the public. The first two cars, which were used as press cars, are not technically M3 LTWs as they were regular production M3s that PTG made similar in appearance to the not-yet-built LTW. After press duties, those two cars were brought back into the PTG stable.