1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution - on sale with RM Sotheby’s, Villa Erba, Italy, May 20

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution - on sale with RM Sotheby’s, Villa Erba, Italy, May 20

Right up your Straße. One of just 600 BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolutions is up for auction in Italy. Simon de Burton expects a high-performance sale price.


THE SHOWROOM Auctions

Are you feeling M-powered? If not, a trip to RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction taking place during this spring’s Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza could put things right, because the sale is set to include a single-owner collection of no fewer than five BMWs spanning more than 30 years of the marque’s M in-house performance division.


1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution - on sale with RM Sotheby’s, Villa Erba, Italy, May 20

The cars on offer are a 2022 M4 CSL, a 2016 M4 GTS, a 2010 M3 GTS and a 2003 M3 CSL. But it’s the fifth and final car that’s most likely to have the world’s M power fans drooling the most – because it’s a superb example of arguably the most desirable variant of the legendary E30 M3, the Sport Evolution model.

The E30 M3 was the first BMW 3 Series to be given the M power treatment, and its unveiling at the 1985 International Motor Show in Frankfurt caused a sensation. Introduced to homologate the model for DTM and Group A Touring races, it was required to be built in 5000 examples and featured upgrades over the standard car that ranged from the 192bhp S14 engine to a dogleg Getrag gearbox, special brakes, a glued-in windscreen and a GRP boot lid.

In full race specification the E30 M3 proved hugely successful during its five-year production run, with career highlights including five class wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, four at the Spa 24 Hours and seven Japanese Touring Car Championship Division 2 victories – with two of those titles for Roland Ratzenburger.

In order to keep the car competitive it was upgraded through its lifetime, with the Sport Evolution model being built from December 1989 to March 1990 in just 600 units, all with 2.5-litre, 235bhp engines and a top speed of 154mph.

The Brillantrot example (‘Brilliant Red’, one of eight German-market examples in this colour) on offer with RM Sotheby’s spent several years in the care of the Schmidt family of Germany’s Schmidt Motorsport Technik, the formidable DTM team that once counted Hans Stuck, Hubert Haupt and Walter Röhrl among its drivers.

Clearly well cared for, its service book contains 14 stamps despite the odometer showing fewer than 60,000 miles and with the most recent service having been carried out in May 2022, around 18 months after it joined the M-Power Collection.

Offered in superb condition throughout and being sold complete with its original toolkit, driver’s pack and a host of M3-related literature and extras, it will be offered at no reserve to the highest bidder.

Don’t expect a steal – a black example in similar condition fetched £176,000 at Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction in March.

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution On sale with RM Sotheby’s, Villa Erba, Italy, May 20. No reserve. rmsothebys.com

Lovingly looked-after Anthracite Motorsport Design interior styling.

The E30 M3 Sport Evolution was the ultimate expression of the M-badged 3 Series in 1989-1990. Left: 2.5-litre engine

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