BMW M3 (1986 – 1990) Review

BMW M3 (1986 – 1990) At A Glance


+Sweet to drive, beautifully balanced handling, fast, agile, and possibly the finest sports saloon to emerge from the 1980s

-Left-hand drive only

Touring cars and rallying have produced some of the finest road cars ever built - if you were to take a roll call of the 50 most desirable classics, a great number of them will have been designed to win races. The original BMW M3 is generally regarded to be the best fast saloon of its era, and - yes - it was designed to built races.

For the M3, it was Group A Touring Cars - taking the fight to the Ford Sierra Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth. The M3 was one of a rare breed of BMW M-Sport cars, as it was not designed solely for the road. The 2.3-litre S14 engine was loosely based on the venerable M10 four-cylinder and it produced 192bhp straight from the box.Not that the M3 was all about power - it was the most deliciously communicative saloons money can buy.

However, it was developed through its life, and for those needed more acceleration. Late Evo and Sport versions ended up pushing out 235bhp, a remarkable figure considering the lack of forced induction. In short, a brilliant sports saloon.

Ask Honest John

What cars would you recommend as possible future classics?

"What cars would you recommend as possible future classics? They must be automatic and reasonable to maintain."
You could have a look at a Mercedes-Benz SL (R107) although these are expensive now. Maybe a P38 Range Rover or a Bentley Arnage Red Label. If you'd like to go a bit more modern, then perhaps one of the first Audi TTs with the DSG box like the 2003 3.2 is an option (although the boxes are fragile) or something like a Smart Roadster. Also worth a look might be an American muscle car like a Mustang, or you could go for a high-performance model like a BMW M3 or Mercedes-Benz AMG. Feeling flush? Then how about a Nissan GT-R.
Answered by Keith Moody

Which BMW to replace my ageing M3?

"I have an E36 M3. It’s a wonderful car that I have always maintained, money no object, but she now has 170,000 miles on the clock and has recently had one or two sizeable bills. It’s difficult to know whether the car has gotten to the point where I am throwing good money after bad. Should I think about replacing her and if I do what could I buy apart from another M3, that would give so much driving pleasure, for less than £15,000?"
That's a huge life for an M3 with its complex 12-plug engine. Well done. You might get one of the stunningly good-looking Z4 M Coupes for £15,000. It has the same engine, but this was an early application of electric power steering and will require expert attention to give it some steering 'feel'. Otherwise, an E92 335i manual coupe. As quick as your M3, but easier to drive.
Answered by Honest John

How can I accurately value a 1991 BMW M3?

"Do you know of a site or organisation that can offer reasonably accurate price guides for 'classic' or rarer type (potential classic) cars? I have the opportunity to acquire a genuine, unmodified LHD 1991 BMW M3 cabrio which has been owned by one family from new (two drivers), well maintained and used daily. Mileage is at about 150,000km and it seems pretty nice, but needs a bit of cosmetic tidying up. I cannot get an idea how much the car should be valued at in a commercial market (and by definition how much I might offer), having received mixed messages of anything from £6000 - £15,000. I know the answer to this question is probably "However much are you prepared to spend to get it" but I am sure there must be some way of valuing it. Any pointers?"
I found these: ; ; ; ;
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a BMW M3 (1986 – 1990) cost?