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BMW M3

It has been three decades since the very first BMW E30 M3 came out of the factory. Five generations later, the car still manages to remain the benchmark of its class.

We’re almost certain that as a car nut, you already know the M3’s family tree by heart. Are you aware, however, that it had other iterations aside from a coupe, convertible, and sedan? For the uninitiated, the BMW M3 spawned a pickup (two of them, actually), a compact, and a wagon.

 


The first pickup was essentially built to fill a need for a reliable transport vehicle for ferrying parts within the BMW Motorsport Division grounds. Since a regular 3-Series wasn’t exactly up to the task, the answer lay in a convertible redesigned to accommodate an extra 450kg payload over the rear axle. The engine was also upgraded from 2.0-liter to a 2.3-liter mill with 200hp.

The BMW M3 Pickup wasn’t just for show, though. It did active service for a lengthy 26 years, before being retired in favor of a newer M3 Pickup in 2011. Motoring media may recall this particular truck for giving quite an April Fools' Day joke. A press release even circulated about how the combination of 420 horses and a capable payload made it the perfect weapon for both enthusiasts and tradesmen. Until, of course, you read about it being a one-off creation.

 

BMW M3

In 1996, BMW unveiled a compact version of the M3. While it never went into production, insiders believe that it could have been the forefather of today’s M2. Still, those who were able to try it got a blast out of the awesome 321hp catapulting that smallish body to insane speeds.

BMW didn’t forget the purists who pined for an M3 wagon. In 2000, the German luxury carmaker explored the potential of the legendary M3 in family-friendly guise. Just as with the original car, this one studied how a station wagon with flared rear wheel arches could look and handle without necessarily spending too much just to tweak it to M specifications.

The everyday 3-Series was given more lightweight parts, a stronger 2.3-liter, 16-valve motor, and various other components that enabled it to compete on track yet still remain usable for the daily commute. And BMW needed to comply with homologation rules requiring sales of around 5,000 units within 12 months.

As history would show, the M3 went on to win races and the hearts and wallets of driving fans the world over. To toast its success, the four aforementioned iterations will make a special appearance during the various 30th anniversary bashes. They deserve a special place in the BMW archives.

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BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

BMW M3

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Gerard Jude Castillo
Writer
Gerard has been a car nut ever since he discovered what a car was. As a kid, he'd play with toy cars, with sound effects to boot. He has been writing about his passion for over a decade now.
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