BMW E30 M3
The Grand-daddy of all hot saloons, the BMW E30 M3 was built with one singleminded purpose, to win on the track. And how it did. It’s the most successful touring car in history, winning the World Touring Car championship, Euorpean Touring Car championship, DTM (German Tournig Car) championship, and the BTCC.
Concieved in 1986, BMW’s M division were tasked to produce a new high powered engine and a car that would win on the track. Paul Rosche, M divisions Technical Director, had the unenviable task of creating a prototype engine, and incredibly in just 14 days, the first engine was ready. Of course it helped that Paul Rosche had also been the person behind the F1 World Championship winning BMW Brabham engine.
The chassis although based on the existing 3 series saloon was extensively modified. Only the Bonnet and roof are carried over from the standard car. With it’s wider track suspension, box flared arches, more raked rear screen, raised boot lid, rear spoiler and aerodynamic bodykit, the M3 looked like it meant business.
Essentially, BMW only needed to make 500o examples to satisfy Group A homologation rules, in the end around nearly 18,000 cars were made, such was the demand for the car.
Produced from 1986 until 1990, there were various changes and “Evolutions” of the M3 (produced as a development of the race car thus neccesitating homolagation):
At launch the M3 featured a 2.3 litre, inline 4 cylinder (S14) normally aspirated engine and produced 200 bhp (195 with cat). In 1989, the standard M3 was uprated to 215bhp and recieved Boge electronic damping.
Evolution I (1987) added extended spoilers and a light bootlid.
Evolution II (1988) Engine uprated to 220bhp, bigger wheels, higher final drive.
Sport Evolution (1989) Larger 2.5 litre engine upping the power to 238bhp, adjustable spoilers, enlarged wheel arches, thinner glass, no air-con, sportier cabin and higher final drive.