The original BMW M3 only had a pesky four-cylinder engine, but that didn’t stop the homologation special from becoming an absolute legend. The S14 is at the heart of this rally car as well, but it makes much more power. Indeed, the 2.3-liter unit has been modified to produce around 300 horsepower and 300 Newton-meters (221 pound-feet) of torque.
That’s quite the bump considering the most powerful E30 road car was the extremely rare Sport Evolution (Evo3) with its larger 2.5-liter engine rated at 235 hp and 240 Nm (177 lb-ft) on tap. In motorsport guise, the most potent M3 E30 had as much as 360 hp. Today’s M3 G80 packs 550 hp in the limited-run CS flavor.
Power advantage aside, this rally-spec build also happens to be a lot lighter, tipping the scales at a mere 960 kilograms (2,116 pounds). The lightest M3 from the first generation was still roughly 200 kg (441 lbs) heavier than this purpose-built machine.
New footage shot at the end of February shows the rally car making wonderful inline-four music during the 2023 Rally van Haspengouw event held in Belgium. Driven by Bjorn Syx and Thijs Ozeel, the M3 E30 finished second in the BMW M-Cup class and was 17th overall out of a total of 60 vehicles. It sounds better than most four-cylinder cars we’ve heard in recent times and looks like a hoot to drive.
In 2023, BMW M is still committed to showcasing the motorsport side of the M3 with GT4 and GT3 versions of the mechanically identical M4 Coupe. The two track-only models are positioned below the M Hybrid V8 endurance car and above the M2 CS Racing based on the previous-generation M2 (F87). In 2024, we’ll see the flagship race car at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, a quarter of a century after the V12 LMR’s triumph on Circuit de la Sarthe.
Source: Belgian-Motorsport / YouTube