The BMW M3 has changed dramatically since it was first introduced three decades ago. Back in the late ’80s, the original E30 M3 was a lightweight, high-strung, homologated touring car for the road. Now, the M3—and by extension, the BMW M4—is a very comfortable, surprisingly luxurious, high-tech road car that weighs more than SUVs did back in the E30’s day. Their designs have changed quite dramatically as well, as evidenced by these new photos from Vorsteiner.

In this new photo gallery, you get to see three different generations of M3/M4: the E30 M3, an F82 M4 GTS, and the new G80 M3. Looking at them side-by-side, it’s wild to see both the differences and the similarities. I know, it’s crazy to think that there could be visual similarities between the E30 M3 and G80 M3 but there are a few. Not a ton, but a few.

e30 m3 f82 m4 g80 m3 04 830x554
Photos by for Vorsteiner

All three cars share a few common elements: twin-circle-ish headlights, kidney grilles between them, hood lines that accentuate the kidneys, three sections of front air intakes, and flared wheel arches. However, they get very different after that. The most obvious difference is the size of the kidney grilles, as the new G80 grille is a caricature of the E30’s at this point. Even with Vorsteiner’s grille update, which adds a bisecting horizontal bar through the two kidneys, it’s still absurd.

If I had to choose between the three, I’d obviously choose the E30 but the F82 is aging quite well, I think. The G80 looks bulbous and sloppy by comparison and is clearly the least attractive. In terms of driving dynamics, the G80 might actually be the best of them, which is why its looks are so frustrating. However, it is interesting to see all three cars next to each other, to see where the M3 started and where it is today.

[Photos by for Vorsteiner]