Just because many are slavering for the global debut of the 2016 BMW M2 at the Detroit Motor Show doesn't mean BMW will let us forget the coupe that gave the letter "M" its global moxie: the M3. The Roundel has posted the first in a five-part series devoted to that seminal M, the 1987-1991 E30. Built as a homologation requirement for the race car BMW needed to beat Mercedes 190E 2.3/16V in the German Touring Car Championship, it was 1.5 times more expensive than the 325i of the time and company sales heads had doubts about being able to sell all 5,000 of them. As we know, that story had a happy ending.

The first models came with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 195 horsepower, a chopped and tuned combination of the four-cylinder M10 block first used in 1962 and in Formula 1, with a cylinder head from the six-cylinder M88 that did duty in the M1. By the time the M3 Sport Evolution models marked the end of the first-gen production run, displacement had risen to 2.5 literz and output to 238 hp, but more important than those numbers were the phenomenal handling and relentless race victories.

You should definitely check out the video above for BMW's peek into the backstory of the fourth M car after the M1, M535i, M635 CSi, and M5, and arguably most important. But if your M-centric tastebuds prefer a more modern take on the German brand's most driver-friendly vehicles, take a look at the videos below.

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