The BMW E30 Guide

Introducing the BMW E30

Guide Version: 1.0. This guide was created on 09-18-2015 and updated monthly with new information.

As the flagship brand of the famous M3 series, the BMW E30 still stands out as BMW’s most notable classic car.

Up until the mid-quarter of the 80’s, BMW only had three models that primarily catered to their loyal customers, namely: the E12 M535i, the M1 supercar, and the M635 CSi. But then came along the BMW E30 M3 which, as BMW’s main objective, to target a much wider audience. But soon after production started, BMW’s E30 was slowly brewing a war with Mercedez Benz, which made the anticipation for the BMW E30 even more so.

With that in mind, BMW managed to keep the quality of the M3 E30 to a stellar level which allowed it to win many races and marked the beginning of a long-standing fame of the Bavarian automaker.

What You Need To Know About the BMW E30

Brief History of the BMW E30

In 1981, the M3 began its developmental phase but it wasn’t until 1986 that production began. Despite the hefty price, it proved itself as an instant commercial success that the BMW purists were drooling over. Together with BMW’s impressive racing fame paired with their unprecedented success in various racing championships, the BMW M3 served as their one-up against their competitors.

In 1988, their Evolution 2 model became available. It has 220 hp and a top speed of 152 mph. Notable differences in the Evolution 2 and the primer model was the compression ratio, deeper front spoiler, bigger wheels, and lighter body-parts.

Then in 1990, their Evolution 3 model came into the market. It was a Sport evolution that came in either black or red only. For the seats, the options were either black or grey cloth-leather Recaro bucket seats. At this time, the engine was already capable of producing 238 hp.

It was a successful racer, no doubt. The M3 is also a multiple winner of the Macau Grand Prix and had been number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s by the Sports Car International.


Though unconventional, BMW gave the M-division free rein to start off with their 3 series coupe. As they’ve experimented with several engine blocks and combinations, they settled for the M10 block which ultimately became their starting point for the S14 power plant. Its head design was the sawed-off version of the 140 cui of which that has 3.5-liter inline six unit from the M5/M6 line. Filling the short block was the stout internals, improved airflow, and forged crank. Other notable features include pistons, supplementary oil coolers, cast alloy pumps, and long stroke camshafts. The Bosch Motronic injection system powered the four-valve head and cranked out the engine ultimately with a respectable 192 bhp with 6750 rpm.


From the E30, the suspension was significantly improved throughout their production of the M3. They managed to do this with the help of up-rated springs, pressurized dual Boge dampers, and thicker anti-roll bars for rear and front.

The brakes were developed specially for the M3. It was the Bosch ABS system that worked in conjunction with the brake discs along with reinforced single piston calipers that were sourced in direct to the BMW E28 5-series


Between the cheaper E30’s and the M3, there are some notable differences that can be widely recognizable in terms of how they are built. There are some adjustable Recaro seats, hound-stooth cloth centres, PVC backs, and plain grey bolsters. In the E30, there is a standard three-spoke leather-rimmed Motorsport steering wheel. Contoured rear seats, electric door mirrors, tinted glass, air conditioning, electric windows, full leather trim, and an electrically operated sunroof came as options. There is also another possible upgrade that includes heated front seats and on-board computer.


ENGINE TYPE: Water Cooled, Inline-4, DOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl

HORSEPOWER: 192.0 bhp @ 6750 rpm

TORQUE: 170.0 ft lbs @ 4750 rpm

FUEL ECONOMY- 17 / 29 mpg

TRANSMISSION-  5-Speed Manual



DRIVE TYPE: Front Engine / RWD

TOP SPEED- 142.0 mph

0-60MPH- 7.0 seconds

Price: $N/A


As the first Motorsport Department model that reached world-wide fame and success, it is worth considering that this classic car was something that was off-the-floor and into the sky type of deal.  The super sharp steering and weight balance of this makes it one of the most pleasing drives that BMW has ever produced. And there’s no wonder that this car had been an extensive racing success.

Built to satisfy the requirements seen in the European touring-car scene, the M3 was created with such veer and homologation needed. First and foremost, the M3 E30 was built as such like a weapon that sees the sales of the market as a second priority. As it lives up to the hype of being a sports car that delivers an unforgiving suspension, rock-solid reliability, and astounding balance, it is also worth to note that the M3 E30 is a livable sedan with just enough seat and a trunk. All of that plus the icing on the cake which is the Asskicken Baron Von styling.

But after 20 years after the model emerged, the popularity seems to keep intact as proven by the numerous fans. Even so, the genes of the M3 E30 has managed to pass on unto its successors.