What Happens When You Race Lots Of M3s Against Each Other?

Spoiler: the E30 doesn't win.
By Wallace Castillo
Cover photo: via carwow.

Since production started in 1985, the BMW M3 has been, for many, the pinnacle of motoring excellence. Standing well above its competitors for pretty much all of its existence, it's been the go-to car for anybody looking for a car that's both great fun to drive and realistic as an everyday transportation solution.

The E30 is seared into a lot of people's minds as the best of the lot, which may or may not be because a lot of people in the market for an M3 today were excited kids 30 years ago. With it now showing its age, though, it's obviously not going to be able to keep up with BMW's later offerings in a straight line. So how big a difference has a few decades of Bavarian progress made?

The folks over at carwow were kind enough to answer that question for us, pitting an E30 Roberto Ravaglia against an E46 CSL, an E92 GTS and an F80 CS. No prizes for guessing which comes out on top.

With 4.8 seconds eventually separating the E30 from the F80 over a quarter mile, it's clear that BMW's work over the last 30 years has had a huge impact on straight-line speed. But the look on Mat's face driving the F80 CS is enough to tell you there's more to a great car than impressive quarter-mile times. Looks like there's still life in the older M3s yet.

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