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Car Review, Figures and Specs for the BMW 3 Series M3 E30 - [1986]

BMW E30 M3 - Review


E30 M3 - ‘Top Sports Cars of the 1980s’ - 6th Place - Sports Car International (2004).



In 2004, Sports Car International named the E30 M3 6th ‘Top Sports Cars of the 1980s’. Introduced in the 1980’s the E30 M3 ended production in 1992, with various improvements over it’s lifetime. The first E30 M3 was introduced with a 2.3 L Inline 4 S14B23 engine (also known as S14). The engine block layout was derived from the 4-cylinder M10 found in the 320 series with several parts and design markers taken from other BMW’s such as the M1 and M6 such as overbored and reinforced engine blocks. The developmental progression of the M3 was partly driven by racing homologation in order to compete in Group A Touring cars, rallying and other touring car competitions throughout Europe. The evolution of the M3 was reiterated in the naming of various special editions such as the Evolution 1 and Evolution 2 with power improved from 193 PS to 238 PS. Decreasing the 0 to 60 mph time from 6.9 seconds to 6.1 seconds in its final form.

BMW



Muscular Arches and Aluminium Arms.


The wider boxier arches of the E30 M3 was a small part of the overall aerodynamic and handling based aesthetic changes upon the standard 3 series. Whilst still using the same basic shell, the M3 only shared the bonnet, roof panel, and sunroof with the standard car. Underneath the more streamlined and muscular body was also a much stronger and lighter suspension and handling package which included a wider track, bigger wheels, aluminium control arms, with all models benefiting from limited slip differential. To resist the increase in speed, the M3’s braking inherited bigger front and rear brake callipers, rotors and an improved master cylinder. The combination of subtle styling changes and much mechanical improvements is what makes the E30 M3 such a popular and award winning drivers car. The E30 is revered for it’s handling prowess but it had power to boot and all this in a practical and reliable saloon shape.


The E30 M3 Evolves.


As mentioned, the M3 had a variety of special editions including the Evolution 1, 2 and Sport Evolution which had various performance enhancements. Other specials such as the Europa, Ravaglia, Cecotto, and Europameister had various interior and exterior colour and pattern changes, there were also a several hundred convertibles produced too. Nowadays the E30 M3 still has a cult following, the prices for good examples of the stylish fast saloon are on the increase but the E30 M3 was never cheap. Similar to the 1980’s, the M3 is head and shoulders above it’s closest rival the 190E. Whilst the BMW still stands head and shoulders in the power and handling department, the Mercedes has not aged as well as the M3 and is once again an also ran in the battle between the German fast saloons.


Summary


Positive  Muscular saloon car looks, handling masterpiece, German reliability.

Negatives  Not cheap but never was.


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