BMW E30 M3 and Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Rekindle Classic Battle

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These are the coolest European sports sedans from the Eighties. Fact. Which would you want parked in your driveway?

Little known fact: the first race ever held on the Nurburgring's Grand Prix circuit was in 1984, when 20 Formula 1 drivers duked it out in identical Mercedes-Benz 2.3-16 models. And you know who won? An unknown young Brazilian driver named Ayrton Senna. The compact 190E was conceived in the late Seventies to meet Jimmy Carter's proposed fuel economy standards. But Mercedes also wanted to use it to win the World Rally Championship. And so the 190E 2.3-16 was born.

The Cosworth-powered baby Benz broke a host of world speed records and was later campaigned in touring championships by AMG. The men from Munich reacted with the BMW E30 M3, which immediately became the car to beat around the racetrack.

The engine block for the first M3 came from a 1,000hp F1 car and the head from the M1 supercar. Along with the 200hp Merc, the classic homologated special sports sedan was criticized for its boy racer features that were in fact essential to its performance. Both are special cars, and Automobile magazine's Jason Cammisa headed to Germany to pick out his favorite (and take it back to California with him). Check out the video to see which he considers to be the coolest.

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