30 Years BMW M3

Bob Harper… requests that special edition models should actually be, er… Special. Back in the good old days, the majority of special edition models, at least as far as BMW was concerned, actually had something about them. Think E30 M3 – all the various models such as the Evo, Evo II, Ravaglia etcetera – arose either from a desire to enhance performance, meet homologation requirements or to celebrate victories on the track.

Just about the only other time a special edition was deemed necessary was right at the end of a model’s lifespan; add some additional kit at an attractive price to keep sales going until the new model arrived. Think E30 Lux models, the E34 M5 LE or the E36 M3 Imola Individual edition.

30-Years BMW M3

30-Years BMW M3

But I have to say that BMW seems obsessed with special editions at the moment, particularly with M cars, and you can bet your bottom dollar the vast majority of these monstrosities are driven by the marketing department, not by M’s talented engineers. I think the rot really set in during the life of the E9x generation of M3. Times were tough economically, and this certainly held back sales. As a result, we were presented with a plethora of Edition models. But, somewhere along the line, the marketing folk decided that it could dress up these models with a load of fancy trim, and charge even more money for them. Dynamically they offered nothing over that standard car, or the Competition Pack cars they were based on.

Of course, everyone loves an anniversary model don’t they? I haven’t got anything against the M5 30 Jahre models – just 300 of them made worldwide does make them exclusive and, together with the frozen paint and bespoke trim, there was actually a power hike and a demonic sounding exhaust. But then when it was the turn of the M3 to turn 30…

Oh dear, what a dog’s dinner it turned out to be. You could almost hear the poor old E30 spinning in its rusty grave. Having separated the saloons and coupés into 3 Series and 4 Series, the anniversary model had to be based on the four-door M3 Saloon, which wasn’t ideal. But, given that the M4 GTS had recently been launched, there was the possibility of making this M3 a real rocket ship, perhaps utilising the GTS’s bespoke coilover suspension and water-injection system. Er, no.

What we got was a trim package and, in some markets, a Macao blue paintjob supposedly harking back to the original car. What a shame that the marketing folk conveniently forgot that Macao wasn’t actually one of the original colours, not being introduced until 1988. And it was fearfully expensive – over £20k above an M3 Competition model.

And now we have the 30 Jahre M4 Convertible to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the M3 Convertible – a machine that was, I’m pretty sure, dreamt-up by the marketing department in the first place. I can’t believe that M’s engineers would have been particularly happy at the prospect of taking their tacksharp road racer and turning it into a wobbly Convertible, then adding £10,000 to its price tag. Today’s M4 30 Jahre Convertible is yet another trim package and, guess what, it’s more expensive than the car it’s based on – to the tune of £7,000!

Oh, and while we’re at it, there’s another worrying trend being started by the F90 M5… the ‘launch edition’. Heaven help us, BMW’s marketing department really need to be taken in hand so that special editions can be reserved for cars that really are special, not just overpriced, tacky, trim upgrades.

“Oh dear, what a dog’s dinner it turned out to be. You could almost hear the poor old E30 spinning in its rusty grave”

 BMW’s marketing department seems to be working overtime on ‘special edition’ models nowadays. Unfortunately, most are little more than expensive trim upgrades.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.