A look back at the BMW M3 (1986 – 1990)
We have the worlds of touring and rally car racing to thank for being the inspiration behind some of the best vehicles to grace our roads. If you were to conduct a roll call asking people to name the 50 most desirable cars they could think of, it’s a good bet that most of them would have been originally designed to win races.
The original BMW M3 is regarded by many to have been the best saloon car of its era; it was certainly adapted from a vehicle designed with the intention of winning races.
The races the M3 was designed to win were those of the Group A Touring Car Series – putting up stiff competition to the Ford Sierra Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz 190E. It was part of a select group of BMW M-Sport cars that were not designed solely for the road. The 2.3-litre S14 engine was very loosely based on the venerable M10 four-cylinder and it produced 192bhp right out of the box. That’s not to say the M3 was totally all about the power – it was also one of the most deliciously communicative saloons on the market.
Throughout its lifespan, it was redeveloped; for those craving more acceleration, the later Evo and Sport editions could pump out 235bhp, a remarkable figure considering the lack of forced induction. In short, a truly fantastic sports saloon.