BMW Had No Idea The M3 Would Be The Success Story It Is Today

History

All it cared about was rubbing Mercedes' nose in the dirt.

The BMW M3 is a car for anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror and wanted to change something about themselves. That means everyone on Earth who has access to a mirror. And that’s not just because the Bavarian hot rod is so usable on a day to day basis that it could make for the ultimate performance freak’s daily driver. It’s because the M3 is just like those of us who’ve looked into the mirror and, with a critical fervor sparked by motivational videos, decided to pursue our goals.

Though its legend is sung on just about every patch of land mass from sea to shining sea and beyond, don’t forget that it all started as a lowly 3 Series sedan. That 3 Series didn’t exactly get a tune by looking into the mirror and telling itself it needed to get better. It all began with a friendly spat on the DTM track with its arch-rival Mercedes.

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At the time the M division only built cars for the race track, not the dealerships. However homologation rules dictated that BMW needed to produce 5,000 units of the car to sell to the public if it hoped to race, the aim here being for the automaker to race modified road cars rather than dedicated track-only supercars. BMW reluctantly agreed, thinking that those street legal cars would have a hard time finding a market, but the company was willing to take the loss if it meant sticking it to Mercedes on the race track. That ego-driven move is responsible for giving us the benchmark sports sedan that we all know and love today. So thanks for that.

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