Summary

The second generation BMW 3 Series, or chassis code ‘E30’ to fans, is an iconic BMW in its own right. It was the 3 series that first conquered the world, seeing strong sales in markets the Bavarian firm had previously struggled to get a toe in.

The car combined solid build quality and reliability with a traditional sporting layout. Powered by a front mounted inline four (in M3 guise), driving the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual, the E30 wasn’t the most innovative car. It was just, in typical German fashion, executed crushingly well.

The handling of the standard car was fantastic as it was. Indeed the car’s balanced, lightweight and oversteer-biased handling has made cheaper models of the E30 a drifter’s favourite. The M3 however, took things to another level in 1985.

Being a homologation model, the E30 was fitted with a detuned version of the S14 four-cylinder as found in the motorsport versions of the car. As a touring car, and to a lesser extent, rally car, the E30 proved one of the ‘winningest’ chassis of all time. Tweaks to the suspension, aerodynamics and of course the new engine saw the E30 pick up countless trophies.

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