After BMW’s Motorsports division proved its mettle with the limited-edition M1, engineers set to work on a competition version of their 3-Series model range. The E30 generation M3 bowed in late-1985 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. While it may have looked at first glance like a standard 3-Series coupe with a body kit and boxed fender flares, it was more race car than road car underneath. The S14 inline four-cylinder cranked out an impressive 192 hp while various suspension modifications and brake upgrades helped the M3 make the most of its power.
The 1990 M3 offered here was originally sold to the U.S., meaning it was fitted with an overdrive manual transmission with a conventional shift pattern rather than the dogleg setup in the European model. Additionally, later M3s such as this one benefit from a larger intake as well as a driver’s side airbag compared to the earlier U.S.-bound examples.
Originally delivered to California, the car was exported to Japan a few years later. The M3 subsequently returned to North America in 2008 and remained with its enthusiast owner until late last year. The only modifications from stock are the exhaust temperature sensor and side marker lights that are mandatory in Japan. At some point, the BMW received a high-quality two-stage repaint in its correct Diamond Black metallic finish.
The M3 shows just 27,800 miles and is in excellent, well-preserved condition. Its original black leather interior exhibits few signs of use and its exterior was recently treated to $3,000 worth of paint correction and ceramic coating. The consignor, a BMW specialist in Cincinnati, Ohio, completed about $12,000 worth of mechanical work, including a valve adjustment, full tune-up, intake resealing, new front control arms, various suspension bushings, and a new heater core. Its numbers-matching engine performed well in a compression test with essentially even readings for all four cylinders.
This well-preserved, ready-to-enjoy M3 includes two BMW keys and a full set of original books, manuals, and tools.