The BMW M3 is an iconic car. A combination of sport, luxury, and practicality, it has always been a head turner. But there is a decade long debate about which M3 is the greatest of all time. Hence I hope this blog post will help make you decide why the E30, first M3, is the best of all.
NB: There might be bias since I am a proud owner of an 88′ E30, but unfortunately not an M3… yet!
BMW M3 E30 History
BMW’s M-Sport division was only in its infancy when the bosses at the company decided they wanted to get a foot into the performance sedan market. A number of years of development were undertaken before the BMW first showed the M3 at the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show. It was at this moment, that people knew that the engineers at BMW had created something special. As a result of the motorsport focus that went into the development, the BMW M3 E30 possessed a state of the art engine that wasn’t too different to a race car. Therefore, this car became a must-want of many enthusiasts. Over the following years, the BMW M3 rolled off the assembly line thousands of times, into the hands of many happy customers. Consequently, the car was a huge success and created the basis of what M-Sport models BMW produce today.
The BMW M3 E30 was designed with motorsport in its blood, so of course, it was going to be successful on the track. As Paul Tan put it, “It was conceived as a road-going car suitable for everyday use, it remained first and foremost a racing car. With a World Touring Car Championship being held for the first time in 1987, the BMW M3 was simply perfect for this new challenge”. It took less than a season for the M3 to win its first championship, but it didn’t stop there. In the following years, the BMW M3 E30 won the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft and the European Touring Car Championship. In addition to the 24 Hours Nürburgring, Spa 24 Hours, and countless Rally Championships. Hence, the BMW M3 E30 is perceived by many to be the most successful road-race car ever.
It was conceived as a road-going car suitable for everyday use, it remained first and foremost a racing car. With a World Touring Car Championship being held for the first time in 1987, the BMW M3 was simply perfect for this new challenge.
One of the reasons why the M3 was deemed such an extraordinary vehicle was due to its handling. The connection between car and driver was reported by reviewers as the best they have ever felt. This was was due to the suspension and chassis that the BMW M3 E30 possessed. The earlier models used newly developed gas dampers before changing to electronic in the early 90s. It was the suspension in combination with the stiff chassis, weight balance and super-sharp steering that the car is considered to be one of the most pleasing to drive ever. Still to this day, driving an E30 makes you feel that you are connected to the road without all the modern assistive equipment, the car is simply a pleasure to drive.
So, need more reason as to why this car is classic? The prices to buy one now have gone through the roof in recent years! When searching for a good condition BMW M3 E30, you will be very lucky to find one under $75,000. Only 10 years ago, an M3 could be bought for under $35k. Any traders with a keen eye were very fortunate to pick one up at those prices, and now they have doubled their investment. But do not fear! The BMW M3 E30 is still expected to rise in price. Harry’s Garage video on YouTube describes exactly why this car is still a solid automotive investment too.
So have I convinced you why the E30 and first M3 is the best? If you don’t agree let me know in the comments!