According to Doug Demuro, cars of the early ’80s were a bit crap. There is merit to his claim, as BMW’s M Division wasn’t yet established, there really weren’t any AMG cars, the Audi Quattro hadn’t been developed yet and the most powerful Camaro at the time, with a massive V8 I might add, had less horsepower then your average ride-on lawnmower. Cars like the BMW 2002 did exist and the E28 M5 came out in 1985 so a bit before the M3, but I digress.
Anyway, his point is that it wasn’t until the late ’80s that two car companies decided to shock the world by coming up with the same idea, independently of one another and on different sides of the world. That idea was to take relatively simple, everyday cars and turn them into hardcore performance monsters. In this latest comparison by Demuro, he tests these two cars against each other.
One of those cars happens to be the legendary E30 BMW M3. The E30 was the original M3 and is still considered to be the best M3 of all. Many enthusiasts claim it to be the best sports car of all time. Now, regardless of if that’s true or now, no one is debating that it’s an amazing car. It’s the kind of sports car that any brand, including BMW, would give anything to be able to make today. Its S14 2.3 liter four-cylinder engine made just 211 hp, which is minute by today’s standard, but it was an absolute gem to drive. Not to mention damn quick by late ’80s standards. But it revved like crazy and sounded amazing doing it, which is one of the reasons why it was so beloved.
But the main reason everybody loved the E30 M3 was the way it handled. Considered to have one of the best, most pure steering of any production car, the E30 M3 was an absolute gem to drive. It felt as if the steering wheel had a direct connection to your cerebral cortex. It was, and probably still is, one of the most fun cars in the world to drive.
On the flip side of Doug’s coin is his personal R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R. The GT-R was a giant middle finger by Nissan to everyone who thought that they couldn’t build a true performance car. It had a 2.5 liter twin-turbocharged Inline-6 engine which developed 280 hp, considerably more than the M3. It also had Nissan’s very high-tech ATTESA all-wheel drive system.
Despite the Skyline GT-R’s humble underpinnings, it was an incredible performance car. Far faster than the E30 M3 and faster than most other performance cars of the day. Much like the current GT-R, it was one of the best performance bargains the world had ever seen and made people stop and take notice of Nissan as a serious performance manufacturer.
In his comparison, Demuro notes that the E30 M3 is the better car to actually drive, but it’s slower and far more expensive. But it’s hard to ignore their similarities. Both are based on pretty average cars, both have similar styling (in the flared wheel arches and big rear wings) and were both middle fingers to the more expensive performance cars of the day. It’s an interesting video and one you should check out.
[Source and Top Photo: Jalopnik]