BMW M3 History

E30 BMW M3: 1986-1991

Calling the E30 M3 a sports car isn’t giving it enough credit — it’s a race car through and through. Yes, it looks like a regular E30 that’s been put through an ‘80s movie training montage, but it shares very few parts in common with the standard 3-Series. The M3’s engine is actually derived from the M1’s six-cylinder and churns out 192 horsepower — not a bad hand-me-down. It weighs a mere 2,645 pounds, making it a nimble, purpose-built racer that you can use to get groceries if you so choose. Its 6.5-second 0-60 time could easily be matched by your modern garden-variety hot hatchback, but the M3 provides a distinctly pure and visceral driving experience that remains largely unmatched today. BMW only ever intended to build 5,000 M3s so it could run in Group A Touring Car racing, but they ended up building nearly 18,000 — and many are still on the road for the world to worship. To this day, the original M3 consistently lands on lists of best-performing cars, and a decently-preserved model fetches over $30k. Find one and the prices will climb — but so will the the automotive endorphins.

E30 M3 drifting a corner


Engine 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder
Horsepower 192
Torque 177 lb-ft
0-60: 6.5 seconds
Top Speed 146 mph
Weight 2,645 lbs