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Five ultimate BMW M3s part 1: E30 Sport Evolution

By Chris Thompson, 08 Jun 2017 Features

E30 Evo Sport II 2

A look at the greatest production BMW E30 there ever was

The E30 M3 is where the badge started, and it got better as time went on.

The E30 got better, that is. We aren’t going to try and tell you which generation M3 is the best, but we are going to tell you which E30 M3 we think is the best.

It’s the Sport Evolution, the fastest, lightest E30 M3, and here’s why.

BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution rear
The cylinders were bored out from 84mm to 95mm, and the addition of a long-stroke crank meant the now 2.5-litre S14 motor now put out 175kW/239Nm.

It also copped a more aggressive cam and oil-spray nozzles under the pistons to keep things cool.

BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution engine bay
As well as the upgraded running gear, the Sport Evo had thinner glass, a lighter trunk and bumpers, and brake cooling ducts in place of foggies.

It also had unique front and rear spoilers with adjustable extensions to grant more downforce, which was added to the car for homologation reasons.

BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution above
Power windows? Nope.

Air conditioning? A sunroof? Trip Computer? All comfort items such as these were only options, and it’s unlikely many of them would have been selected.

The idea was to keep the weight down, just as in the other Evolution models. Most of them were almost 100kg lighter than the regular M3, 1200kg as opposed to 1296kg.

BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution interior
With only 600 of them ever built, you’ll probably never see one. People are asking wallet-exploding prices when they come up for sale, so it’s not like they’re being tracked or rolled out to busy car shows.

But if you do somehow find yourself the custodian of one, give us a drive too?