Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The original BMW M3 - as close to racing as a saloon car can get

When BMW launched the BMW M3 (E30) in 1986, the idea was not to sell thousands of them, but rather to create the basis for success in motorsports. In fact the first M3 was a homologation model for the German touringcar champion ship racing series (DTM). It delievered roughly 190 hp with a 2.3 liter four cylinder engine, a de-tuned racing engine. Compared to the normal 3 series saloon car, a number of car components were lightened, the car made stiffer and the aerodynamics was improved. The M3 looked much more "serious" than a normal 3 series BMW. People loved it and it became a very good seller. More than 17'000 E30 M3 were built and sold, many of them used in racing and for track days. With its good performance (0-100 km/ in less than 7 seconds) and pure handling it was the toy to have for many amateur sports driver. It won a lot of touring car races too, not just in the DTM, but also in other countries' series and in the European touring car championship. The successor (E36) was much more refined and less pure and was never a match for the first M3.
So, the E30 model, ideally one of the homologation specials, is the one to have and one day I will own one of these myself. It will be a great collectors' car as it combines race pedigree, rarity and good look and performance.

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