The BMW M3, in theory, has always been simply a base sedan turned into a sports car by BMW M GmbH. There were substantial improvements in its chassis and engine, but it was still a 3 Series. Over the years, many have attempted to duplicate the performance and success of the M Division, but most always fall short of the mark. For instance, Audi’s S4 was too slow and too heavy, so much so that Audi had to create the sportier RS4 version. The Mercedes-Benz AMG version of the C-class was fast and powerful, but the driver involvement just was not there.
In 2007, an M3 competitor came from the least likely of places, Lexus, in the form of the IS F. Like the E90 M3, it too had a powerful V8 engine that sent its power to the rear wheel via a proper limited-slip differential, and the car boasted a strong, well-tuned, chassis. While the IS F did not knock the M3 off its throne, it may have come closer to doing so than many others.
To further show how serious it was about its performance, Lexus put the much-hyped LFA supercar into production. The V10 two-seater was aiming straight at Italy’s exotica, offering parallel performance but with a Camry-level of reliability and none of the drama. To say that Lexus is serious about performance brand image would be an understatement.
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