A Pop Culture Icon: The BMW M3 E30

The M3 E30 is one of the most iconic cars of the last half-century and in recent years has cemented itself a cult-like following in both pop culture and the car community. The car was popularised in pop culture through its numerous appearances in music (the bright orange E30 featured on the cover of Frank Ocean’s Nostaligia, Ultra Mixtape, the rally-inspired M3 featured on the JACKBOYS cover, the lowered E30 featured in Tyler, the Creator’s music video for ‘Bimmer’, etc.) and in film (featured in Straight Outta Compton, Paid in Full, Yes Man, Pretty Woman, The Walking Dead, etc.).

The E30 was the second generation of the BMW 3 series and was produced from 1982 to 1994. The majority of E30s were produced in a coupe style but it was also available in sedan, convertible and wagon/estate body styles. It was available in a choice of 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder and even AWD (E30 325iX). 

The idea behind the M3 E30 was to make a racing sedan available as a street version. The heart of the M3 was undoubtedly its sophisticated 4-cylinder engine. What set the original engine apart was its low weight, high torque and durability, all of which helped the engine to climb to the 200 horsepower mark at 6,750 revs per minute. The front and rear bumpers, side skirts, boot lid and spoiler were all made of plastic, bringing the weight to around 1,200kg. The engine’s power accompanied by the vehicle’s low weight allows the M3 to boast 100km/h in just 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 235km/h.

The 1987 racing version of the M3 E30 was created for the inaugural World Touring Car Championship. Unlike the production car which produced 200 horsepower, this version produced 300 horsepower at 8200 revs per minute. The M3 was a widened and heavily redesigned variation of fellow E30 models which sported flared wheel arches, a tall spoiler, stiffer suspension and a Formula 1-derived BMW s14 195hp 4-cylinder petrol engine. The E30 M3 went on to become the most successful touring car ever.

The E30 M3 has a unique connection with the music world, most notably highlighted in recent years through Frank Ocean's Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape cover and Travis Scott's JACKBOYS cover.

For many of us the mixing of hip hop and car culture by JACKBOYS displayed through their album cover and music videos was nothing short of a wet dream. The most notable car (other than the RX-7) was the glossy, baby-blue, rally-inspired 1988 E30 BMW M3. (To learn more about the JACKBOYS RX-7 click HERE). The M3 is sprayed in a sky-blue colour, complemented by some white and brown colour tones. The rally-inspired look is created by the four Hella headlights, the various logos and gold BBS wheels. Not long after the release of the album it was announced that the M3 was to be auctioned off and the proceeds would be donated to charity. 


1 comment

  • Oscar Solares

    Me gusta el E30, clasico, en todos los colores se ve hermoso, los rines y ver las llantas rodas es algo que me transmite felicidad. Quiero que mi primer carro sea uno de esta serie. Me gustan todos los modelos BMW pero este sobresale a mi gusto y a mi parecer, un carro que la historia merece ser escuchada y la serie del carro merece vivir por siempre.

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