The E30-generation BMW M3 has attained a legendary status among BMW enthusiasts. For good reason, too. Its pure driving dynamics, near-perfect balance and motorsport-bred engine make it a driver’s car like few others in history. However, it might actually be the BMW 325i that’s the sweet spot of the E30 lineup.

According to Jason Cammisa, who’s a long-time automotive journalist and German car owner, the BMW 325i is the Goldilocks of the E30 generation. He says this as an owner of an E30 325i Touring. There are a few other reasons for his choice, though.

Compared to the E30 M3, the BMW 325i is significantly cheaper but also just as fast in a straight line. Plus, its inline-six is smoother and more refined than the high-strung four-cylinder of the M3. It’s also more comfortable and easier to live with everyday, which makes it more usable. So you can actually drive it everyday, whereas the E30 M3 can be a bit much.

Also, with some modification, the E30 BMW 325i can actually be just as sharp as the M3 and it’s likely cheaper to make a 325i faster and sharper than to actually buy the M3. Though, it won’t look as cool as the boxy-fendered M3.

It’s also cheaper and easier to maintain. Parts are much easier to find and afford on a 325i than on an M3.  So ownership over the long run is going to be significantly easier with a 325i than with an M3. On the flip-side, the M3 will maintain its high value, and is likely to continue appreciating, but only if it isn’t driven much and what’s the point of owning an E30 M3 and not driving it?

So if you’re in the market for an E30 3 Series, keep an eye out for the Goldilocks BMW 325i.

[Source: Car and Driver]