1986 BMW M3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been 25 years since the BMW M3 first hit the scene. During that time, the car has evolved from a bantamweight fighter capable of taking on heavy hitters of the sports car world to the yardstick that the rest of the segment is measured. In the process, it has shed its bulging, steroid-riddled fenders for smoother sheetmetal and abandoned its four-cylinder engine for an out of this world aluminum mill with twice the pots, but its essence as a well-balanced sports coupe remains.

The transformation wasn't easy. BMW sent the car through innumerable trials on the tracks and trails of the motorsports world, and the mean little 3 Series quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with on the grid.

BMW has commemorated its wicked child's birthday by recounting the tale of the car's conception. Don't worry: it's a lot less repulsive than listening to your parents yak on about how you came around. The tale is filled with the origins of the car's 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, including where the engineers managed to source parts and the like. It's well worth your time if you've got a second. Check past the jump for the full tale and the high-res gallery below for for the M3's stunning quarter-century as chronicled in photos.


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[Source: BMW]