Taking the E30 M3 to the track is one of those items that shouldn’t be missing from your bucket list. The first generation M3 is the foundation of the M division and for decades has been regarded as one of the best cars ever built.
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Jarama Track in Spain hosted an event where the main theme was the BMW M3 generations. The E30 M3 also joined the pack for some hot laps and a photoshoot opportunity.
The E30 M3 was introduced in 1987 for DTM racing, which it won twice (1987 and 1989). BMW wanted to provide a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz 190E “2.3 16-V” and the Audi Quattro cars.
The road-spec vehicles were primarily built for homologation purposes since 5,000 units were required to be produced so that the car could compete in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The S14 engine was derived from the M1, getting a naturally aspirated 2.3-liter inline-four capable of generating 191 hp.
It was paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. Later on, BMW also built the more powerful “EVO2” and “Sport Evolution” models with the latter getting a 2.5-liter inline-four developing 235 hp. European customers also got a convertible variant in 1988, although it didn’t land on the United States shores.
While the M3 went on to dominate the motoring arena, winning the WTCC, 24 Hours of Spa and Nurburgring, the British Touring Car Championship and the Italia Superturismo Championship, the road models weren’t a resounding success from the word go.
Yet, 18,000 units were sold, with around 5,200 making way to the USA.