The E30 M3 is one of the many iconic BMWs built over the last few decades. The small, sporty M3 was BMW’s first M3 car built on the 3 Series platform and one that commands a pretty penny today as well. We paired up with Jonathan Harper at JBH Photo for a photoshoot opportunity with a pristine white E30 M3.
The 3 Series was the baby BMW in the late ’80s and was the one everyone liked the most. The E30 3 Series was considered to be one of the best driving cars on the market, and certainly the best BMW, so when the M3 debuted, fans went crazy for it. 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.
The E30 M3, arguably a motoring icon of the sports car world, has a near perfect weight distribution with a slight bias towards the front-end, leaving the rear-end to drift out perfectly with a slight lean on the throttle. It cost $34,000 in 1988 — nearly $69,000 adjusted to today’s inflation.
[Source: Instagram @JBH1126 | @nlakind]