BMW has built its last ever M3 Coupé – the fourth and final generation of a model which has defined the brand since 1986. Most of us have either owned one, driven one or been passed by one. None of us will be unaware of its iconic status.

But the next M3 will only be made as a saloon/sedan – so for a mid-sized sports coupé in BMW’s range you’ll need to look towards the forthcoming M4.

Production of the E92 M3 Coupé, launched in 2007, exceeded 40,000 units at BMW’s plant in Regensburg, with the E90 M3 Saloon adding 10,000 and the E93 M3 Convertible a further 16,000 units. The convertible remains in production until September 2013, while the next six-cylinder turbocharged M3 Saloon is expected to debut at this year’s Frankfurt motor show.

  • BMW-M3-Final-run_G2
  • BMW-M3-Final-run_G3

Seems fitting that the last ever M3 Coupé should be painted in the special Fire Orange paint finish used on the limited-edition M3 GTS.

The fourth-generation M3 saw the introduction of BMW’s first double-clutch transmission (with M DCT Drivelogic), it also trail blazed when it came to its lightweight construction, adding plastic front side panels in addition to the carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) used for its roof (and first introduced on the E46 M3 CSL).

The M3’s high-revving V8 engine continues for another year, having grown from 4.2-litres to 4.4-litres in the limited edition M3 GTS (and M3 CRT saloon) and from 414bhp to 444bhp.

Just 135 examples of the M3 GTS were delivered to customers, each at £121,000 a pop, while the M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) is even more exclusive with only 67 units produced.

BMW-M3-Final-run_G12All four generations of BMW’s iconic M3 – E92, E46, E36 and E30.

The M3 Coupé lives on in DTM (German Touring Car Masters), where it won the 2012 drivers, team and constructors titles – an achievement which the M4 will do well to live up to.

We’ll get our first taste of its potential when the new M3 Saloon arrives in a few months time.