• 1990 BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution - A Homologation Miracle

When special got even more special

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BMW unveiled the E30 M3 in 1985, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The E30 M3 was the first-ever M3 and it immediately evolved into one of the most loved BMWs ever made. This is the story of an incredibly special version of the E30 M3, namely the Sport Evolution.

1990 BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution - A Homologation Miracle
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See, back in the mid-1980s, BMW, a company whose destiny walks pretty much hand in hand with motorsport, was required to build 5,000 road-legal copies of its touring race car to get Group A homologation.

As if that was not a challenge in it of itself, BMW also had to push those units within a timeframe of 12 months. The car that pulled it off was the E30 M3.

Power came from a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine good for about 200 horses. The engine itself was carried over from the regular 3 Series of the time, which displaced two liters, and was heavily tweaked.

1990 BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution - A Homologation Miracle
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Thanks to a lightweight build – the E30 M3 tipped the scales at around 1,200 kilos (2,645 pounds), 0-100 kph (62 mph) took 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 235 kph (146 mph) was attainable.

BMW E30 M3 specifications
Engine 2.3-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower 200 HP
Weight 1,200 kg (2,645 lbs)
0-100 kph (62 mph) 6.7 seconds
Top Speed 235 km/h (146 mph)

Come 1988, BMW launched the E30 M3 Evolution with 220 horsepower on tap and a top speed of 243 kph (151 mph). The first M3’s swan song, however, arrived in 1990 as the Sport Evolution with direct input from Paul Rosche, the engineer who was also instrumental to BMW’s Formula 1 racing efforts at that time.

1990 BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution - A Homologation Miracle
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As a result, the M3 Sport Evolution’s S14 naturally-aspirated engine displaced 2.5 liters and cranked out 238 horsepower. To differentiate this version from the previous ones, only two paint jobs were offered: Brilliant Red and Glossy Black, together with adjustable front splitters and one-piece racing seats.

Just 600 Sport Evolution units were made, and one of them is featured in Petrolicious’ video below. A must-watch if you ask us, BMW fanboy or not.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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