This is the finest BMW M3 E30 you can buy in the U.S.

When it comes to M-badged cars, none is more iconic than the first-generation M3. Produced from March 1986 until June 1991, the E30-generation M3 took BMW cars into a new era and established the German manufacturer as a key player in the performance compact market. The generations that followed saw the M3 become increasingly faster and more powerful, but the E30 M3 remains the most desirable version of the coupe. Buying one now isn’t particularly complicated, but finding a low-mileage model is the stuff of dreams. If you’ve been looking for one, it’s your lucky day: Bring a Trailer has a mint-condition 1988 model with just 8,000 miles on the odometer for sale.

Possibly the cleanest BMW E30 M3 you can buy in the U.S.

Car For Sale: Extremely Clean, 8k-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Exterior
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Located in Saint Peters, Missouri, this red M3 was sold new in California in the late 1980s and remained with the original owner until the mid-1990s and then with his family until 2010. That’s when the current owner bought the car and moved it to Missouri.

The coupe was only driven occasionally by its owners and spent most of its life in the garage, a fact that's proven by the 8,099 miles recorded on its odometer.

This means the M3 was driven for an average of 253 miles per year since its production. Crazy, right? The car also comes with a Carfax report that shows registration history in California and Missouri and indicates no accidents or other damage.

Car For Sale: Extremely Clean, 8k-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Interior
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Not only does the car looks pristine, as if it just left the factory, but it also comes in an amazing color combo. The exterior is finished in the iconic Zinoberrot red, while the interior is tan except for the black dashboard and the grey center console. The seats are wrapped in Natural Tan leather, while the carpets feature a matching color and "BMW" lettering. Cabin amenities include air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, and a cassette player.

Car For Sale: Extremely Clean, 8k-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Drivetrain
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Power comes from the original 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The mill was factory rated at 192 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque and mates to a five-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. The drivetrain was serviced twice in 2020, with various components and fluids replaced.

How much does it cost? Well, it’s an ongoing bid that will end on July 22.

The current bid is at $120,000, so it could surpass the $200K mark by the end of the bidding period.

E30 M3 models used to less for less than $100,000 a few years ago, so this particular model could set a new record for the first-gen coupe.

BMW M3 E30 history

Car For Sale: Extremely Clean, 8k-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Exterior
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The first-generation M3 broke cover in 1986, four years after the 3 Series debuted. The M3 was decidedly more aggressive than the regular 3 Series on the outside, featuring race-inspired bumpers and a rear wing. U.S. models were rated at 192 horsepower, but in countries where catalytic converters weren’t mandatory, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder came with 197 horsepower. In 1989, Euro-spec M3 models were upgraded to 212 horsepower.

Unlike its successors, the first-gen M3 was sold as a two-door only. Most cars were coupes, but BMW also built a few convertibles.

BMW built a total of 17,970 E30 M3s, of which only 876 were drop-tops. BMW also built three special edition models. There were the Evolution models with 217 horsepower (505 units), the Sport Evolution with a larger 2.5-liter engine rated at 235 horses (600 units), and the Cecotto and Ravaglia editions, named after BMW’s DTM racing drivers. The Cecotto was built in 560 units, while the Ravaglia was limited to only 25.

Car For Sale: Extremely Clean, 8k-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Exterior
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The first-generation M3 was also a successful race car. The coupe was raced in more than ten series’ that includes both track and rallying events. Notable wins include the World Touring Car Championship (1987), European Touring Car Championship (1987, 1988), British Touring Car Championship (1988, 1991), and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (1987, 1989). In all, the M3 won 18 championships in various series from 1987 to 1991. The M3 also won the 24 Hours of Nurburgring and the 24 Hours of Spa five and four times, respectively.

Source: Bring-A-Trailer

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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