Special Edition BMW M3s, they’re a dime-a-dozen now, aren’t they? Last week at the BMW M Legendary Experience in China, yet another limited edition M3 joined the ranks: the M3 Carbon Edition. The two-door M3 Carbon Edition joins the M3 Matte Edition and M3 Tiger Edition as Chinese-market-only special edition M3s. The M3 Carbon Edition will be limited to 111 examples and cost 1.23 million Yuan, or approximately $189,000. What possibly could the new M3 Carbon Edition have to make it so expensive?
Well for starters, carbon fiber. The M3 Carbon Edition, like the other limited edition models that BMW has produced for the Chinese marketplace in the past, is essentially no more than an expensive paint and stripe job. The Carbon Edition is powered by the same high-revving naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter V-8 that all M3’s are powered by, with all 414-hp routed through BMW’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to the rear wheels.
The differences between the limited-edition M3 Carbon Edition and its more common siblings come down to trim. Available only in Mineral White Metallic, the exterior of the M3 Carbon Edition is punctuated with bits and pieces of carbon fiber trim. BMW Performance front lip splitter? Carbon fiber. Trunk spoiler? Carbon fiber. Hood inlet surrounds—you guessed it, carbon fiber. The only knick-knacks that BMW added to the exterior of the M3 Carbon Edition that aren’t carbon fiber are its gloss-black 19-inch wheels and its black side stripes that run the full length of the car, flanked with special Carbon Edition lettering.
The carbon fiber motif on the M3 Carbon Edition carries through into the interior. The dash gets carbon fiber trim with “Carbon Edition One of 111” embossed on the passenger-side. The interior also gets contrasting black and white leather with headrests stitched with carbon fiber. Otherwise, the interior of the Carbon Edition is the standard M3-affair.
Now the ultimate question: is it worth it? Like most other BMW M3 special editions, the Carbon Edition really brings nothing new to the table. It isn’t faster, it isn’t particularly better looking; it’s just more expensive and being one of 111, more exclusive. And that’s what it comes down to: exclusivity. In an emerging market with over 1 billion other people in the country, can you really put a price on that?