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BMW E30 M3


M Divider

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. 

E30 M3 racer
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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.

From 1987 to 1990, only the 195 hp model (with a catalytic converter) was officially imported into the USA.

USA Model Specifications


16 valve inline 4






170 ft/lbs.


2733 lbs.


14.02 lbs./hp 


171.1 in.


66.1 in.


53.9 in.


101.0 in.

Top Speed:


Speed (0-50 mph):

5.5 sec

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.



Repair Help

The E30 M3 repair manual explains the step-by-step procedures needed to repair this classic M car. Detailed photos, easy to read text, and the shear volume of topics make this an indispensable tool for every BMW Mechanic. 



Top Sites


  1. The Unofficial BMW M3 Homepage was created and is maintained by a German BMW-M fan.
  2. The M Haven has a forum, FAQ's and tips, news and events, pictures and links.
  3. E30 Special Interest Group Website covers all M3 models and has lots of special features, like a mailing list, M3's for sale, and more.
  4. Hans M3 Site has pictures of the owner's E30 racing M3, tuned M3's and other M3 racers with facts and figures and test results you can download.


Enthusiast Sites

Featured Sites

The third-generation E46 M3 is here! Click here to see the world's best production sports car up close.

Click here for great E30 M3 pictures!

///M Car Drivers Association has upgrade (repair) information. Includes info on upgrading the DME chip, bleeding the brakes, removing the seat, replacing the microfilter and more.

E30 M3 Performance has performance modifications and maintenance procedures for the E30 M3. Has some nice articles related to technical aspects of the E30 M3.

The E30 M3 Homepage has lots of E30 M3 facts and good info on the S14 engine, transmission, suspension and brakes.

Korman has some great tips on racing the E30 M3.

Redline Motorsports has pictures of 2 E30 M3 racers and a nice FAQ on the 2.5 liter S14 engine.

Online Catalog of parts for the E30 M3 from Bimmer World.

The Unofficial BMW M3 Home Page features the M Projects Gallery. Has info on E30, E36 and E46 M3's.

Saliya's BMW M3 page has info and pictures of DTM race cars.

Loren Luke's M3 is featured in the CD/ROM title, "TrackTime", which will have information and movies of numerous race tracks along the west coast. 

BMW Velocity from Japan. Other Japanese sites include:

Denis's E30 M3 Page has pictures and info about his M3. Also features the E34 M5.

Página do Miguel Cabrita BMW M3 from Portugal. 

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