Automotive BMW M3 E30 model engine

Published on May 10th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


BMW should continue to supply E30 M3 engine to collectors

The production of this iconic engine should be resurrected.

If there is an ‘engine hall of fame’ then the BMW E30 M3 engine should be smack in the first floor with some of the worlds best 6 and 8-cylinder power-plants. 

This much sought after 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine was the product of the BMW ‘M’ division motorsports engineers. Ask any current run of the mill BMW E30 owner enthusiast and they all want this precision built engine under the hood of their treasured machine.

1986 BMW M3 E30 model engine


Car scrap-yard dealers will charge a small fortune for half-baked M3 engines and fully rebuilt engines can cost as much as a stock running E30 coupe.

This alone should motivate BMW management in Munich to consider the setting up an engine division (or at least sell the molds and know-how to an ASEAN engine builder to produce) to deliver brand new versions of this 2.3-liter M3 engines for the second hand buyers market. Ignore the need to meet emission standards, just sell the engine as it was specified brand new E30 M3 in 1986. 

BMW M3 E30 model engine


This 2.3-litre four-cylinder unit with four-valve technology produced an impressive 200hp (remember, this was in 1986) and accelerated the E30 coupe which weighed at just 1,200 kilograms, from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds. Top speed was an impressive 235 km/h.

Today, some 34 years later, the average BMW E30 owner in this part of the world is saddled with aftermarket trinkets and toys to be added to their existing engine to boost its power output and to try and get the ‘M3’ sound. However, it is never like the original M3 and the costs just keep piling up with every visit to the aftermarket tuner. 



In the past 4-5 years, the asking price of a mint condition 1986-1988 BMW M3 has moved from a high RM90,000 to an insane RM150,000 to a ridicules RM480,000. This is why the stock E30 coupe, from the mild-mannered 4-cylinder 318i to the very desirable hard to find 325i is becoming a modern collectors item. Most owners would want the 2.3-liter ‘M’ tuned engine and gearbox and then they can do the necessary physical upgrades to suit their needs and with the available bank balance. 

BMW M3 E30 model


The E30 BMW M3 weighed in at just 1200 kilograms without payload on the scales and hence remained a sporty lightweight. The weight-to-power ratio is an impressive 6.15 kilograms for every 1 hp which at the time was an extremely impressive figure and even by today’s standards it challenges many modern cars. This was primarily due to the use of plastic components. Although the bodywork including the wide wheel housings were made of metal in keeping with tradition, the front and rear bumpers, and side sills, boot lid and spoilers were made of plastic.

BMW M3 E30 model engine

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