BMW is taking a look back at the first generation of its legendary M coupe, the E30 M3, in a new video which reminds us just how great it was.
It all began back in 1985. The automaker’s board of management wanted to again see a series production car for the track. That was when “the most successful touring car ever” was born.
The M2 was BMW’s response to the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V. The M2 won the first World Touring Car Championship in 1987.
The first model carried an inline 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine derived from the six-cylinder in the M1. Depending on the model it had between 195 to 238 horsepower. The race track version packed more with 300 horses. This put it on level with the BMW M635CSi.
Despite what today seems like a low amount of horsepower for a sports car, it proved to be ruthless on the track. The E30 had a career of over 1,500 victories and remains unbeaten to this day as a touring car.
It was designed as a compromise between a racecar and a road ready car. It featured a stiffer chassis than the regular 3-series and focused on lightweight handling. It was featherweight light at 2,645 pounds.
The E30 was 1.5 times more expensive than the its sister 325i model. However, it received a good reception at its debut in the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show. In order for it to meet the motorsport homologation, 5,000 of them had to be built in 12 months. Once this was done selling them in 1986 to the public was a non-issue. BMW sold 17,970 of them before its final year in 1991.