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The BMW M3 is a sports version of the popular compact BMW 3 -Series automobile, made by BMW M . M3 models have been derived from the E30 , E36 and E46 models.
Based on the 1986 E30 3 -Series, the first M3 was introduced with a 2.3 L S14 engine, derived from the M10 inline-4 block and the valve train and head architecture from BMWs M1 and later M6 inline-6 cylinder. One of the main reasons for production of the road car was to homologate the M3 for Group A Touring Car racing, as an answer to the “2.3-16V”-model of the Mercedes-Benz W201 which was introduced in 1983. A notable characteristic of the E30 M3 is its racing pedigree, campaigned by BMW as well as other racing teams including Prodrive and Schnitzer Motorsport.
The first version produced 195 hp (143 kW) (catalyzed model). Evolution models (not sold in North America) continued with 2.3 liters but adopted revised cam timing, increased compression along with the lack of a catalyst producing approximately 215 hp. Later the Sport Evolution model increased engine displacement to 2.5 L and produced 238 hp (175 kW). 786 cabriolets were also produced, all by hand in BMWs Garching plant, at the time the 215 hp example was the world’s fastest four seater convertible.
Having won more road races than any other model in history, the E30 M3 is considered by many to be the world’s most successful road race car. Its wins include the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, European Touring Car Championship and even the one-off World Touring Car Championship title in 1987. The M3 E30 is also a multiple winner of Guia Race, 24 Hours Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hours.