BMW M3 (E 30): A masterpiece of combination

Ralph Wagner
BMW M3 (E 30) in the driving report
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D he BMW M3 is still good in shape. Sticks to the road as if rails were laid under the asphalt. The BMW M3 sprints from zero to 100 km /h in 7.8 seconds and further up to a speed of 237. With its precise, directly translated power steering, it can be steered playfully around every corner, has neither serious traction problems nor brake fading and only wants to go around 7,000 Tours can be shifted to a higher gear. The original BMW M3 has mastered its repertoire even 25 years after its presentation.

BMW M3 on the racetrack

It still turns on, demands, comes pretty close to the ideal of a well-tuned driving machine. What a grenade the BMW M3 must have been a quarter of a century ago. The current meeting will take place at the 'Ascari Race Resort' in Andalusia, Spain. Fernando Alonso is said to have declared this 5.4 kilometer private circuit the most demanding racetrack in the world.

In this way, with the layout of straights, curves and bends, which initially takes getting used to, it doesn't seem tragic if it takes a few laps before I, as a newcomer, rush past the pits with some dignity. But then there is no stopping the BMW M3 - a racing track, no matter which, is simply the right place for a BMW M3, which dominates everyday life, but was clearly developed by BMW for the racetrack.

BMW M3 for everyday use and the racetrack

Bring the children to school in the morning, then do the family shopping and do race training at the weekend - sporty (and well-off) fathers suddenly had their way from 1986 about a new object of desire that was available from dealers from 58,000 marks. The fact that there was already a 325i for 18,000 marks less, which was not too far removed from the BMW M3 in terms of performance, didn't have to be told at home.

The hefty surcharge compared to the off-the-peg two-door E30 sedan is obvious at first glance: voluminous fender flares, a deeply drawn down front spoiler, aerodynamically optimized aprons on the sills and an imposing rear wing above the four centimeter higher trunk lid . Not a show, but sophisticated measures to improve downforce and aerodynamics.

BMW M3 thought out down to the last detail

That the perfectly proportioned, cubist three-piece design is includedhas not lost its dignity and class from any perspective, you have to get it right first. The BMW M3 looks well thought out down to the last detail. That's probably why it just looks fast even when standing. Other modifications to the BMW M3, on the other hand, only become apparent on closer inspection. In order to be even more streamlined, the angle of incidence of the rear window was flatter, and the trunk lid made of plastic for weight reasons was correspondingly shorter.

Because the petrol tank has been enlarged to 70 liters, the volume of the luggage compartment has also been reduced to a comparatively modest 404 liters - which shouldn't be a problem for sports drivers. Rather, they appreciate the very high-quality racing technology that is under the beefy body. The BMW M3 was intended as a motorsport object for Group A by the then BMW boss Eberhard von Kuenheim. Paul Rosche, the technical director of Motorsport-GmbH, met his wish.

BMW M3 engines have to be speed stable

There they had already proven their competence with the M1 and the sharp 5-series sedan and also developed the Formula 1 turbo engine with the Nelson Piquet had become world champion in 1983. And if the boss now asked for a sporty engine for the three-row, this wish should come true. The result was not, as many BMW fans expected, a powerful six-cylinder, but a high-revving 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with two overhead camshafts, the civilian catalytic converter version, 197 hp. Its mass-produced crankcase has been reinforced for the BMW M3 in such a way that it does not immediately burst even at speeds of 10,000 rpm.

Rosche took over the matching cylinder head from the six-cylinder that had already provided thrust in the M1 in 1978 and moved to the 635 CSi from 1984 onwards: 'We cut off two combustion chambers on the four-valve cylinder head of the M88 and a plate screwed over the hole on the rear face. ' For the mixture preparation, Rosche opted for digital engine electronics with four separate intake ducts and four throttle valves for the BMW M3.

BMW M3 presentation at the IAA 1985

After just two weeks, the technician was able to present his supervisor with a ready-to-drive prototype. 'Good, I like it' is said to have said briefly and succinctly von Kuenheim after a test drive with the BMW M3. Now 5,000 everyday vehicles had to be produced within twelve months in order to homologate the BMW M3 for use in touring car racing. It was clear that a good car had been designed. But that the BMW M3 should become one of the most successful sports cars of all should have exceeded the imagination of all those involved when it was presented at the IAA in autumn 1985.

Back on the racetrack. Getting longerShadows gradually announce the end of the day - three more laps, then it's over. The BMW M3 has long since reached top form, but it behaves like a good friend whom I would blindly trust at any time. Inside, the BMW M3 has remained a normal 3 Series anyway. Good, homely and timeless. The only concessions to competitive sports are an oil thermometer instead of the fuel consumption indicator and a sports gearbox, the first gear of which is on the rear left, as is typical of a racing car.

BMW M3 is in good shape

Last turn. The engine of the BMW M3 impresses with its gripping performance characteristics, even after many fast kilometers. It reacts almost digitally to the opening of the throttle valve, and it hardly matters which speed range the machine is currently in. The first sparks start already from 1,500 rpm, shortly afterwards the hut is burning brightly because this engine revs up in the lower gears with lightning speed and effortlessly until the limiter is activated at just over 7,000 rpm. It's good to know that the BMW M3 is still in good shape.


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