Delve into the exciting universe of motoring with the BMW M3 E30, a sports car that left an indelible mark on its era. Also known as the BMW E30 M3, this high-performance vehicle was crafted by Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) and built upon the foundation of the 1986 BMW 3 Series E30. In this article, we invite you to explore the precise details that made this model an icon, from its powerful engine to its stylish body styles. Join us as we thoroughly examine this automotive classic, uncovering the secrets that turned it into a legend. Keep reading to unravel the fascinating story behind the BMW M3 E30!
The M3 E30 used the BMW S14 engine, the first version of the engine having 143 kW, updated in September 1989, and increasing power to 158 kW, 212 hp.
The sportier “Evolution” model (also called “EVO2”) introduced in 1988 with a 160 kW (220 hp) engine. Other changes include larger wheels (16 X 7.5 inches), thinner rear and side window glass, a lighter cigarette lighter cover, a deeper front diffuser and an additional rear spoiler.
A more powerful and lighter “Sport Evolution” model (sometimes referred to as “EVO3”) with a limited production of 600 units increased engine displacement to 2.5 litres. The engine with the larger displacement produced 175 kW; 235 hp (238 bhp).
Sport Evolution models have enlarged front bumper openings and a multi-position front splitter. Brake cooling ducts were installed in place of the front fog lamps. An additional 786 convertibles were also produced.
Changes to the m3 compared to the standard 3 Series
The E30 M3 differed greatly from the other E30 models, although it used the same basic body shell as the standard E30, it was fitted with 12 different and unique body panels aimed at improving aerodynamics, as well as flared wheel arches at the front and rear to accommodate the wider and taller wheels and tyres. The only exterior body panels shared by the standard 3 Series and M3 were the bonnet, roof panel, sunroof and door panels.
Special editions of the BMW M3 E30
One of the most recognisable special editions is the M3 Sport Evolution. Launched in 1989, this model is also known as “EVO1”. The M3 Sport Evolution featured significant improvements over the standard European M3s of the time. Its 2.3-litre engine was upgraded to generate 215 horsepower, increasing the top speed to 240 km/h (150 mph). In addition, this model featured larger wheels, thinner rear and side windows, a lighter luggage compartment, a deeper front splitter and an additional rear spoiler. Only 505 units were produced, making it a real treasure for classic car enthusiasts.
The Ravaglia and Cecotto editions also deserve mention. Launched in April 1989, these limited editions were named after the famous racing drivers of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM). Power was increased to 215 horsepower thanks to a catalytic converter. Production of the Cecotto Edition consisted of 480 cars, while 25 cars were part of the Ravaglia Edition.
|Evolution 1||– Production: February 1987 to May 1987|
– Number of units: 505
– Engine: S14 (23 4E A) 200 HP (147 kW), non-catalyzed (Code: 1001)
– Additional features: Does not have a plaque on the console, has an “E” stamped on the cylinder head, below cylinder no. 4
|Tour de Corse ’87||– Limited edition of 50 units destined for France|
– Commemorates the victory in the 1987 Corsica Rally
– Engine: Same Evo 1.8 engine
– Additional features: Numbered plaque signed by drivers Bernard Beguin and Jean-Jacques Lenne on the console
|Tourenwagen Europameister 87||– Limited edition of 50 units|
– Motorsport colors throughout the car (white)
– Additional features: Numbered plaque signed by drivers Winni Vogt and Altfrid Heger on the console
|Europameister 88||– Limited edition of 148 units|
– Honors driver Roberto Ravaglia for winning the European Touring Car Championship in 1988
– Engine: S14 195 HP (192 HP; 143 kW), catalyzed (Code: 1005)
– Additional features: Plaque signed by Roberto Ravaglia on the console, not numbered
|Evolution 2||– Limited edition of 500 units|
– Engine and aerodynamics improvements
– Engine: Increased power to 220 HP (217 HP; 162 kW)
– Additional features: Improved aerodynamics, larger wheels and tires, ellipsoid headlights, ventilated and reinforced disc brakes
|Cabriolet||– Convertible version of the M3|
– Production: June 1988 to June 1991
– Weight: 1,360 kg (2998 lb)
– Additional features: Reinforced structure, convertible top, customizable color options and upholstery
|Cecotto / Ravaglia||– Limited edition of 505 M3 in commemoration of drivers Johnny Cecotto and Roberto Ravaglia|
– Evo 2 aerodynamics, same colors
– Engine: Catalyzed, 215 HP (212 HP; 158 kW)
– Additional features: Numbered plaque on the console, upholstery with BMW M colors