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Car and Driver: BMW 30 Jahre M3 Is German for “Hey, the M3 Turns 30 This Year, Let’s Make a Special Edition”

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After its own 100th birthday and the 50th birthday of its 2002, BMW has squeezed in one more important anniversary this year. While the first two anniversaries went off with internal back-pats and a pair of one-off concept cars, the M division will actually sell 500 cars worldwide this summer to commemorate the 30th birthday of the M3.


Basically a trim package, the “30 Years M3” is based the M3 Competition Package, which gets 444 horsepower from its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six, or 19 more than the standard M3. The anniversary model is available with a six-speed manual gearbox or a Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.




It also comes with the Competition Package’s adaptive suspension, which includes upgraded springs, dampers, and antiroll bars, along with tweaks to the Comfort, Sport and Sport+ driving modes, the active differential, and the stability-control system. It rides on the same star-spoke alloy wheels as the M4 GTS, gripping the tarmac with 265/30-R20 front tires and 285/30-R20 rears.


The interior features only minor changes over the standard car. They include specifically trimmed sports seats, “30 Years M3” on the door sills and the dash, plus the same wording is embroidered into the front headrests. A dash-mounted plaque is numbered to show where each car sits in the 500-unit limited-production run.




BMW originally suggested all 500 cars would be Macao Blue, with unique badging on the air-extraction vents in the front quarter panel, but it now turns out that at least the U.K. cars will be painted silver. There’s no word from BMW yet about what color the U.S. cars will be. The price premium (in Germany, at least) is 10,000 euros.


The original, E30 M3 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt auto show, and went on sale in 1986, arriving Stateside two years later. Our original road test found the M3 to be “a thinly disguised racecar” that “will serve to remind enthusiasts that BMW is back in the performance car business.” Which certainly seems like something worth celebrating.




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