The year 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of a motoring icon, one that revolutionized the sports sedan segment when its production started in 1986. The very first BMW M3 set a new standard by which other carmakers would be measured—and five model generations later, are still judged today.
Did you know that the M3 was not an attempt to produce a sporting flagship for a volume-produced model range? Instead, it originated from the idea of developing a race car that would also be available in a road-going version.
BMW Motorsport Division, the precursor to BMW M Division, was incredibly rigorous in its deployment of undiluted motor racing technology in the development of the first-generation BMW M3. Its endeavours produced a thoroughbred high-performance sports car—based on the production BMW 3 Series—that was perfectly suited to daily use.
Over the three decades that have followed, BMW M has gently refined its trailblazing and highly successful creation from one generation to the next, while always taking great care to preserve the original character of the M3.
The 30th anniversary of the BMW M3 provides an ideal opportunity to look back at its evolution including some of the prototypes that never made it to production (an M3 pickup?). Enjoy the massive photo gallery and the video below.