One of the best driver’s cars of all time has come up on sale at Bring-a-Trailer

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BMW M3 needs no introduction. The new model with the kidney grille has faced a lot of flak, but that’s because the yesteryear models had set the bar so high. One such M3 from the 1980s has arrived at the Bring-a-Trailer auctions and it looks absolutely droolworthy. This ’88 belongs to the first-gen of the M3s ever produced by BMW. This particular example comes with a four-cylinder engine, a manual gearbox, and has over 80,000 miles on the odo.

What’s Makes This Car So Special?

Car for Sale: 1988 BMW E30 M3 Exterior
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The E30 M3 is regarded as one of the best performance cars to have rolled out of the Bavarian automaker’s factory.

This 1988 M3 is finished in Alpina White exterior shade with red accents on the front and rear bumpers. It features the M3-specific side skirts, fender flares, and front and rear spoilers. The BMW badges on the hood and boot are custom-made and feature red inserts on the top left quarter.

The car rides on 15-inch gray-finish BBS wheels wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact tires. The braking duties are taken over by four-wheel ventilated discs, which came as standard equipment on the car. The owner of this car has installed a Racing Dynamics front strut tower brace and Bilstein dampers to make this one hell of a driver’s car.

Car for Sale: 1988 BMW E30 M3 Interior
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Step inside and you’ll be welcomed to a red interior. This E30 M3 comes with sport bucket seats wrapped in Cardinal Red leather upholstery with matching carpets and door panels. It is installed with Racing Dynamics pedal pads, black embroidered floor mats, and power windows, too.

A three-spoke Racing Dynamics steering wheel sits in front of an analog 160-mph speedometer and an 8,000 rpm-redline tachometer. There are gauges for fuel level, oil temperature, and coolant temperature as well. For you audiophiles, there’s a McIntosh stereo system connected to two trunk-mounted amplifiers and four JL Audio subwoofers in a custom enclosure fitted in the spare tire well.

What Powers The E30 M3?

Car for Sale: 1988 BMW E30 M3 Drivetrain
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The 1988 M3 is powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that dishes out 192 ponies and 170 pound-feet of torque.

The U.S.-spec models were supposed to have a catalytic converter in place. In the countries where it wasn’t required, the car made five extra horses. In the later models, the power output was bumped up to 212 horses. The engine was mated a five-speed manual gearbox sourced from Getrag that sent power to the rear wheels. A clutch-type limited-slip differential was offered as standard.

Engine 2.3-liter, four-cylinder
Horsepower 192 HP/212 HP
Torque 170 LB-FT
Transmission five-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 6.5 seconds
Top Speed 149 mph

Final Thoughts

Car for Sale: 1988 BMW E30 M3 Exterior
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This example has clocked 81,000 miles to date, 50 of which were added by the selling dealer. It car has been in Pennsylvania and New Jersey all its life. The selling dealer is offering this car with service records, a tool kit, an owner’s handbook, and a clean New Jersey title. It also comes with a CarFax report that doesn’t indicate any accidents or damage.

At the time of writing this article, this 1988 BMW E30 M3 has the highest bid of $46,999 with five days for the auction to close. The E30 M3 was even included in Automobile Magazine’s “Five Greatest Drivers Cars of all Time” in 2007. For a car with such strong credentials, the price seems quite fair.

Source: Bring A Trailer

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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