By now, everyone on the planet – slight exaggeration – knows about the M3 and thinks that it’s a normal, albeit high-performance car, but when it was originally introduced, the 1986 BMW M3 was a real automotive revolution. Based on the E30 chassis, it has almost no interchangeable parts with the original. It was almost immediately dubbed the ‘ultimate driver’s car’ and frankly, at the time it probably was. Basically, it looked like a small BMW on steroids, with flaring and bulging fenders, fatter low-profile tires a no-doubt functional rear spoiler and countless hidden improvements, such as a stiffened body, upgraded suspension and more which made it into one of the most successful road racing cars in automotive history.
The M3’s engine is really were the magic, happened, however. The 1986 M3 was powered by a straight four, 2.3-liter engine directly inspired from the company’s Formula One engine, and closely resembling the M88 straight six, producing 197 horsepower. I know it doesn’t sound like much compared to today’s insane horsepower figures, but it was more than enough. The M3 could reach a top speed of 143 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. It felt even faster, was easy to drive and handled… well, like everything a BMW should be.
The 1986 BMW M3 remained in production in its current form until 1992, but the model was for too iconic and popular to drop. The M3 badge was back soon afterwards on the next generation of small, entry-level BMWs, and just as its predecessor, was a power to be reckoned with.