|23rd May 2004, 00:12||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2004
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First produced in 1986, the 3 Series E30 M3 was the product of a factory effort to participate in German Touring Car racing. The primary opponent was the Mercedes 190 class. Both companies recognized the great interest in racing and the positive effects of racing on auto sales.
In order to compete in the European Touring Car Championships, BMW had to produce a minimum of 500 units a year. The race car had to have the same basic engine, intake, and aerodynamics as the production model. The suspension had to fit to stock pick up points, and while larger wheels were allowed, they had to fit within the stock fenders.
Unlike other E30 models, the E30 M3 is easily distinguished by its oversized wheel wheels. These larger wheel wells were designed to handle 10" wide racing rims. Another feature was a slightly larger rear window to improve aerodynamics.
The power plant is high-performance 4-cylinder, a direct descendent of the M10 F-1 powerplant. The engine has a forged crank, a four valve head and strengthened internals, with 2.3 liters and 195 hp with a catalytic converter and 200 hp without.
The original E30 M3 was followed by a variety of Evolution models and some special editions. The highlight of the Evolution models was the 1990 Evo III, featuring a 2.5 liter engine and 238 hp.
The E30 M3 Cabriolet version was produced from 1988 to 1991. The E30 M3 Cabriolets were all hand built on BMW Motorsport GmbH's production line at Garching in Munich. Only 786 models were made.
To improve the M3's performance on the track, BMW introduced new versions on an annual basis.
BMW actually produced 13 different versions of the E30 M3. Some of the models were in very limited production, and most were European models that never made it to the United States.
The E30 M3 was replaced by the E36 M3.
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