1986 BMW E30 M3 review
--> Article summary:
The suspension of the M3 was suitably enhanced over a regular E30 using up-rated springs,all-new gas-pressurised dual Boge dampers and thicker anti-roll bars for front and rear.
One interesting option that was made available for the Evo 3 was Boge’s variable Electronic Damper Control (EDC) that provided three settings for the shocks (Sport, Normal and Comfort), all adjustable via a toggle switch located alongside the handbrake recess.
- Front suspension Mac Pherson Struts, Coils Springs, Anti-Roll Bar
- Rear suspension Semi-Traling Arm, Coils Springs, Anti-Roll Bar
The E30 M3’s brakes were using a specially developed Bosch ABS system that worked in conjunction with the brake discs (ventilated at the front, solid at the rear), these along with the reinforced single piston calipers being sourced directly from BMW’s E28 5-series.
- Front brakes Vented 11.0 in Discs, Vacuum Assist & ABS
- Rear brakes Solid 10.1 in Discs, Vacuum Assist & ABS
Rack & Pinion, Power Assist
Tires & wheels
- Front wheels / tires 15.0 x 7.0 in / 205/55VR-16
- Rear wheels / tires 15.0 x 7.0 in / 205/55VR-16
Starting with an off-the-floor 3 Series coupe, BMW gave its M-division free rein to build a winner. After experimenting with several different engine combinations, BMW Motorsport department settled on the M10 block as the starting point for its S14 power-plant. The original M3’s engine head design was essentially a sawed-off 140 cui version of the 3.5-liter inline six unit from the M5/M6 line. A forged crank, an improved oil flow and stout internals filled the short block. Other features included siamesed pistons, a cast alloy sump, a supplementary oil cooler behind the spoiler and a long stroke camshaft. Bosch Motronic injection system fed the four-valve head and the engine ultimately cranked out a respectable 192 bhp at 6750 rpm. It was connected to a close-ratio, five-speed dogleg gearbox hooked furtherly to a limited-slip diff. The following evolution models continued with 2.3 liters but adopted revised cam timing, increased compression ratios, along with the lack of a catalyst producing approximately 215 hp. Later the Sport Evolution model increased the engine displacement to 152 cui and produced 238 hp (175 kW).
A US version was available starting with December 1986 and the North American M3’s came with 192 bhp engines, stock 325i gearboxes and the standard E30 fuel tank. Then, to celebrate winning the 1988 ETCC, BMW brought in the US the Europa Meister special.
The transmission was based on the European close-ratio "dogleg" box, held in place with BMW E28 transmission mounts. It used a Getrag close-ratio five-speed box with a racing style dogleg first and hydraulically operated clutch with bonded lining. M3’s performance was a match for many more elaborately engineered super-cars, although it should nevertheless be remembered that the M3 was not an inexpensive vehicle in its own right. Top speed and sprint to 60 mph were not astonishing, but the M3’s true ability laid with its perfect balance, sublime handling and a real-world driving experience that was second to none.
BMW E30 M3 models list
Model / Engine / Power / Topspeed / Year:
M3 coupe / S14 4 cylinder / 195 HP / 225 km/h / 1986 - 1989
M3 coupe kat / S14 4 cylinder / 200 HP / 225 km/h / 1986 – 1989
M3 cabrio / S14 4 cylinder / 200 HP / 235 km/h / 1988 - 1991
M3 coupe / S14 4 cylinder / 215 HP / 230 km/h / 1989 - 1992
M3 coupe Evo 2 / S14 4 cylinder / 220 HP / 244 km/h / 1988
M3 Evo coupe 3 / S14 4 cylinder / 238 HP / 250 km/h / 1990
- engine Water Cooled, Inline-4
- valvetrain DOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl
- displacement 140.5 cu in
- bore 3.68 in
- stroke 3.31 in
- compression 10.5:1
- power 192.0 bhp @ 6750 rpm
- hp per litre 83.41 bhp per litre
- bhp/weight 147.69 bhp per tonne
- torque 170.0 ft lbs @ 4750 rpm
- drive wheels Front Engine / RWD
- body / frame Unit Steel
- transmission 5-Speed Manual
- gear ratios 3.83:1, 2.20:1, 1.40:1, 1.00:1, 0.81:1
- final drive 4.10:1
- top speed 142.0 mph
- 0 - 60 mph 7.0 seconds
- 0 - 100 mph 19.8 seconds
- 0 - 1/4 mile 15.4 seconds
- epa city/hwy 17 / 29 mpg