M3. The badge, the name, is universally understood. It all started with this car. I am, of course, talking about the E30 BMW M3. Almost 30 years after its creation, it continues to command near universal respect among petrol-heads.
As we mentioned in the previous article about its rival Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth, the M3 was »the answer« for taking the battle in DTM touring car racing, along with another rival Ford Sierra Cosworth.
So like all the M-cars of today, and unlike most of the M-cars that followed it, the E30 M3 was basically a street legal race car. This driver-oriented, rear-wheel-drive coupe, is powered by 2.3-litre S14 engine, based on the venerable M10 four-cylinder and it produced 192hp (143kW) straight from the box, reaching 0-100km/h (0-60mph) in 6,9sec and with the top speed of 235km/h (146mph). However, it was developed through its life, and for those needed more acceleration, late Evo and Sport versions ended up pushing out 235hp, a remarkable figure considering the lack of forced induction. Evo version hit the mark of 0-100km/h (0-60mph) in 6,1 sec and the top speed of 249km/h (155mph).
Sure modern cars may be able to outgun it, but few can match its character, its motorsport spirit, and the way it puts a huge smile on your face at any speed and corner. Because there’s the fact that it has a racing engine, the fact that it’s the ultimate edition of what may be the best Ultimate Driving Machine the Bavarians have ever put out, it’s unmatched number of victories in road racing, and the fact that it is far rarer than its successors. Only about 16,000 were ever made.
I think the E30 M3 is also one of the best looking cars ever to come out of the 1980s. Sure, it looks outdated when parked next to the newest BMW M4, but thanks to their compact, stylish, aggressive design they are still very attractive.
The E30 M3 value has been skyrocketing in recent years, taking ordinary E30 prices with them. Expect to pay at least 30,000€ – 40,000€ for a solid one, some have even blasted into the 100,000€ range.
If you are able to buy one now, BUY IT and keep it forever! That’s what I would do. It’s one of the greatest. What more can I say?