The 1987-1990 BMW M3 is a special high-performance edition of BMW's smallest sedan. Designed for Group A of the European Touring Car Championship, it won its first year out.

1987 BMW M3 coupe, part of the 1987-1990 BMW M3 line of collectible cars
1987 BMW M3 coupe.
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The 1987-1990 BMW M3 was essentially the second-generation 3-Series two-door, which was powered by a unique twin-cam, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine devised by Munich's competition division, BMW Motorsport, hence the "M" designation. It was available in the uprated five-speed manual transmission only and included standard all-disc antilock brakes, limited-slip differential, and fortified suspension.

It was easily distinguished from ordinary 3s by a big decklid spoiler, flared fenders, "skirted" rocker panels, a front airdam, bonded windshield, and faired-in backlight -- all the better for racetrack aerodynamics. Ultimate collectibility is questionable now, but the 1987-1990 BMW M3 should achieve at least minor distinction -- perhaps major distinction, given low original production and higher-than-normal attrition.


Pluses of 1987-1990 BMW M3:

  • Scarce in America
  • Relatively fast (7 seconds 0-60 mph)
  • Sports-car handling
  • Family-sedan practicality
  • Race-winning image

Minuses of 1987-1990 BMW M3:

  • Noisy, throbby big four lacks low-speed torque
  • High-effort clutch and shifter
  • "Boy racer" looks
  • May be eclipsed by successor based on third-generation "aerodynamic" 3-Series of 1992

Production of the 1987-1990 BMW M3:

  • 1987: 1,121
  • 1988: 1,675
  • 1989: 979
  • 1990: 764

Specifications of the 1987-1990 BMW M3:
Wheelbase, inches: 100.9
Length, inches:
171.1
Weight, pounds: 2,865
Price, new:
$35,000 (U.S.)

Engine for the 1987-1990 BMW M3:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
dohc I-42,305 cc
192 1987-1990

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