The BMW M3 has come to define the luxury-sport sedan. Over three decades, the M3 has set a standard that’s been followed by the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Cadillac.

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The M3 project was launched in 1986. Production of the M1 mid-engine sports car had already been discontinued for some time and BMW CEO Eberhard Kuenheim commissioned a design for a successor, almost as an aside, according to legend.

M3 models have been derived from the E30, E36, E46 and E90/E92/E93 3 Series, and sold with coupe, saloon and convertible body styles. The next generation F80/F82 will come to market next year and for the first time will be sold under two different badges: M3 for sedan and M4 for coupe/convertible.

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