Which to buy: E30 BMW M3 or this 1985 BMW ALPINA C1 2.3?

3-Series, BMW M3, News | March 11th, 2017 by 0
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On the classic car market, the original BMW M3, the iconic E30-generation, fetches quite a lot of money. There are people willing to pay brand …

On the classic car market, the original BMW M3, the iconic E30-generation, fetches quite a lot of money. There are people willing to pay brand new BMW M3 Competition Package money for a mint E30 M3, without blinking. But, typically, a decent example with low mileage, in good shape and mostly original parts can go for about $30,000 – $40,000. They’re so highly revered that most collectors find it worth the money. However, what if you could buy this awesome 1985 BMW ALPINA C1 2.3 for the same money?

This specific car is a Japanese-market car that was imported to the US within the past year. It only has around 53,000 miles on it, which is incredibly low for something 32 years old, and seems to be in great shape. It isn’t perfect, as there are some minor rock chips from road debris in the front. But the paint damage is minor at most and the body is near perfect. To be honest, though, many enthusiasts would actually prefer a car that shows some signs of wear, that way they can really drive it without worry of damaging it.

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On the inside, it seems to be in great shape as well, with no visible blemishes in any of the upholstery and no cracks in the dash, the latter being a common problem with E30s. I’m also a sucker for those period ’80s cloth ALPINA seats and that wood shift knob.

Under the hood lies an upgraded variant of BMW’s 2.3 liter I6 engine, as the ALPINA C1 2.3 is based on the BMW 323i. That means it makes 170 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. Okay, so these aren’t numbers that will make an E30 M3 owners jealous, as that car makes 200 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. The ALPINA C1 2.3 was capable of 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which is a few tenths slower than the E30 M3.

However, there are some advantages to the ALPINA. It’s more luxurious than the track-ready M3, with cushier seats, more creature comforts and a softer suspension, so it’s the easier car to drive everyday. It’s also even more rare than the already rare E30 M3. When was the last time you saw an ALPINA on the road? Exactly. It also looks great and very different, as the ALPINA livery over the classic blue paint looks fantastic, as do the classic wheels.

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While the ALPINA C1 2.3 isn’t the most desirable of cars from the famous BMW alternative, it’s still very cool, very rare and packs tons of character. Is it worth the same money as an E30 M3, though?

[Source: Classic Driver]
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