The BMW M3 E30 and the BMW M3 E36 are the only two series of the M3 that were not built directly on the assembly line by BMW, but by BMW Motorsport GmbH (now BMW M GmbH) in Garching, founded in 1972.
Unlike its predecessor, the E30 M3, the M3 E36 was not built for homologation purposes, to meet the FIA regulations, but for the first time only designed as a pure high-performance sports vehicle, which should represent the highest level of motorization of the 3-series model. Due to this basic concept, which BMW entered this new segment of the market for the first time, potential customers did not have to do without driving comfort. The M3 E36 was the first Gran Tourismo vehicle that BMW built. A cross-over vehicle that should manage the balancing act between sporty engine performance and pleasant driving comfort for long distances and in everyday life. Last but not least, the smoother and quieter running of the in-line six-cylinder engine, with an initial 3.0 liter displacement and a nominal output of 286 hp according to BMW information, which was significantly higher, and the 3.2 liter and 321 hp later with the facelift Engine power, which was then supplied as standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and the sequential manual transmission, which was available as an option for the first time, made its contribution.