When you think about the essence of BMW, images of the E30 M3 are likely to be conjured up in one’s brain. The recipe was relatively simple: A high-revving engine mounted within a chassis that can accommodate every day use, a spirited drive down your favorite backroad, or as many weekend track days as one can handle before the inevitable urge to modify things beyond recognition takes over. Since its inception, the E30 M3 has effectively defined what makes a BMW a BMW, and in the decades since, subsequent generations have both refined and diluted that formula.
Things were already evolving during the days of the E30, however, and to keep pace with Mercedes around the circuits of Europe in DTM competition, BMW had to continue developing the E30 M3. Today, these Evolution variants of the E30 M3 are considered the cream of the crop, and the most desirable examples of the model. It’s not just their low production numbers, either, which totaled 505 for the initial Evolution I, 501 for the Evolution II, and 600 for the Sport Evolution. If anything, it’s the age-old mantra that has come to define some of BMW’s best cars that also holds true for the E30 M3 and its derivatives: That the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In the irrationally exuberant car market of today though, is the E30 M3 Sport Evolution truly worth its substantial premium over a conventional and already pricey E30 M3? In a recent video by Road & Track, Senior Editor Kyle Kinard drives both back to back, and compares the differences between the original and the greatest expression of the platform. We’ll let you watch and enjoy the video to determine the outcome, but it goes without saying that the M3 Sport Evolution took everything that made the original E30 M3 excellent, and made it better, resulting in the ultimate example of the model. And that’s not to mention the fact that the Sport Evolution stands as a testament to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, even though the specific parts used on the Sport Evolution are captivating in their own right.
Finally, if you’re interested in getting your hands on an E30 M3 Sport Evolution, our friends at Enthusiast Auto Group in Cincinnati, Ohio happen to have two in inventory. There’s the black example used in the video, and another one finished in Brilliantrot.—Alex Tock
[Photo courtesy BMW AG. Video courtesy Road & Rack on YouTube.]