You don’t see many E30 M3 Convertibles these days. It’s been 30 years since BMW M GmbH made the first E30 M3 to homologate its new DTM racing sedan, and then bumped up production to meet the demand from drivers who wanted the race car performance and handling. There were some who also wanted to share the inside of their car with the outside weather, so BMW M accommodated them with the E30 M3 Convertible. BMW M followed up with convertible versions of the E36, E46, and E93 M3s, but when it divided the nameplate between the four-door M3 and the two-door M4, the convertible version naturally went with the M4, currently the F83 model.

When BMW M decided to commemorate thirty years of M3 convertibles, the special edition couldn’t be an M3; it had to be an M4. So that’s what BMW did in announcing the BMW M4 Convertible Edition 30 Jahre. It may not be an M3, but it’s pure M and it looks great.

Only 300 M4 Convertible Edition 30 Jahre will be made. They will be built with the M Competition Package, a 450-horspower M engine, the M Sport exhaust, adaptive M suspension with M-tuned Sport mode and stability control DSC, and an Active M differential. Naturally, it will also have special trim and interior features.

In its February 2018 press release, BMW did not indicate how many 30 Jahre M4 Convertibles will come to the U.S., or the pricing or anticipated arrival date. Other sources report that 30 of the 300 will come to the U.S.: 20 in Macau Blue metallic and ten in Mandarin II. The 30 Jahre M3 Special Edition cost about $20,000 more than a regular M3. We’ll have to wait to see if the M4 Convertible 30 Jahre follows the same price model.

Buyers of the M4 Convertible 30 Jahre Special Edition can have it in one of two colors: Macao Blue metallic, which was a color applied to the original M3 Convertible, and Mandarin II, a yellow intended to evoke memories of the E36 M3’s Dakar Yellow. The Mandarin II is definitely yellow, but photos make it appear to be a little darker and richer than the original Dakar Yellow.

Standard on the Special Edition is BMW Individual High Gloss Shadow Line trim on the BMW kidney grille surround, M side gills, and model lettering. The 20-inch M forged star-spoke light alloy wheels in Orbit Grey are exclusive to the Special Edition.

The inside is also distinctive, with Merino full-leather trim in colors that match the exterior paint scheme. M4 Convertible Special Editions painted in Macao Blue metallic will have the buyer’s choice of Black/Fjord Blue or Black/Silverstone two-tone combinations. Mandarin II cars will come with black interior surfaces stitched with yellow thread. Interior trim strips are carbon fiber on both versions.

The doorsills and the headrests are embossed with “30 Jahre Edition.” On the passenger side is a signet on the dash explaining that this is a “30 Jahre Edition” along with “1/300” to make sure everyone knows how rare the car is.

Only 786 examples of the original E30 M3 Convertible were built, compared to more than 15,000 of the hardtops. When production of the convertible ended in 1991, its four-cylinder engine was producing 215 horsepower.

Then came the E36 M3 Convertible in 1994. The European version had a 286-horsepower inline six that was later improved to 321 horsepower. It featured pop-up rollover protection for the first time in an M car.

The first 21st-century M3 Convertible was the E46 launched in 2001, and featured a 343-horsepower high-revving M engine, a variable M differential lock, compound brakes, and sports seats with integrated seatbelts.

The last M3 Convertible arrived in 2008. It remains a highly desired model since, like its fixed-roofed sibling, it came with a 420-horsepower V8 mill that was the last normally aspirated engine to appear in an M3 or M4. It also had an electro-hydraulically retractable hard top that, had it not been for the additional weight and limited cargo space, would have made the E93 the best of both worlds for many more drivers.

Now we have the F83 M4 Convertible and for a few enthusiasts or collectors who have the money and good timing, the M4 Convertible 30 Jahre Special Edition. For the price, whatever that turns out to be, they will get an attractive car with distinctive colors and impressive interiors. But even better, it’s an M4 Competition Package underneath.—Scott Blazey

 [Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]

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