Want to get in on BMW M's birthday celebrations but find the new CSL too shouty? Step this way…
By Cam Tait / Thursday, 10 November 2022 / Loading comments
What better way to celebrate a birthday than to release a limited-edition car with a fancy paint job and an inflated price tag? Car manufacturers love to do it, because it generates hype when there might not be much else going on, and car collectors love them as it’s a relatively inexpensive way to own something built in small numbers. Whatever you think of them, anniversary cars look a win-win. Probably why there’s so many of them.
This year, it’s all about BMW M. The legendary motorsport arm has been churning out some of the best driver’s cars on the planet for 50 years and, naturally, it’s making a big song and dance about it. The big one is the return of the CSL name for the new M4. And M gave it everything on this one, clocking a 7:15.677 around the Nurburgring and, in the processes, setting a lap record for a BMW production car. The only problem is that if you want to be a part of its 50th birthday celebrations, you’ll need to cough up £128,000 – which, for some, won’t be made any easier thanks to those red accents being in all the wrong places. Yikes.
So, why not consider something like this: the BMW M3 30 Jahre Edition? This one’s marked a different anniversary, with BMW launching 500 examples to commemorate three decades of the marvellous M3 back in 2016. Granted, this wasn’t the all-out track weapon the new M4 CSL has turned out to be, nor was it all that different to the regular M3 Competition at the time. But a limited-edition M car is still nothing to turn your nose up at and, let’s face it, it’s unlikely to be quite as challenging to look at parked on your driveway.
At its heart, the M3 30 Jahre Edition was an F80 M3 Competition with all the bells and whistles. That meant a 19hp increase from a standard M3, up to 450hp, from its 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged S55 straight-six, slashing a tenth off the car’s 0-62mph to four seconds dead. New dampers, anti-roll bars and springs were thrown in, as well as tweaks to the Adaptive M Suspension and stability control. Okay, these were all available on the regular Competition cars, but the 30 Jahre Edition also bundled in carbon ceramic brakes as ‘standard’. Which it should have, really, as the limited-run car commanded a £23,070 (!) premium over the regular M3 Competition package.
Luckily, there were a handful of visual and interior upgrades to help justify the jump in price. First up, most cars were offered in Macao Blue, originally a special colour offered on the E30 M3, but this car has been specced in BMW Individual Frozen Silver metallic. There are also a smattering of 30 Jahre badges dotted around the car, M Sports seats with the anniversary logo embroidered on the headrests, plus a Harman/Kardon sound system and a head-up display. Pretty much anything that isn’t wrapped in Alcantara or leather is carbon fibre, too.
In a world of extreme BMW M cars that have split the fanbase right down the middle, the subtle tweaks made to the F80 30 Jahre Edition will surely be the remedy for those less keen on recent efforts. This example is probably the best one you’ll find, having only covered 20 miles over the past six years. And although 500 Jahres were made in total, just 30 examples were built for the UK market. It’s therefore not cheap at £74,995, but it’s a darn sight cheaper than BMW M’s newest anniversary gear – and quite a bit better looking, too.
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