What does M technic mean?
The M E30 was the car that set up the M madness, it was the first M model from BMW that remained in the heart of all passionate drivers, and gained in short time cult status. Although it is a rare model, and at the time of its launch a pretty expensive car, also, I don’t think there is any true petrolhead that won’t recognize it immediately he sees it. So, because of its price and rarity not many people could afford one, not even nowadays, when it is just a piece of motoring history. That’s why BMW tried to plant the M3’s spirit in other models of the range. One of those models is the E30 318is that although it has no M badge on its body, still gathers the main ingredients that make the M3 the brilliant car that it is: speed, power, the feel of absolute control. But, because the world was so obsessed with the M E30, BMW decided to offer a bit more of the M feel on its normal E30s. That’s how the M technic models appeared. And they had quite a noticeable success, as you can see many of these cars still on the road. You may claim that you’ve seen many original Ms, but actually the M technic models are much more frequent than the real deal.
The M inheritance – drive train, exterior and interior
For some of you it may seem that the M technic models are just a show off, and that those cars don’t deserve a M badge. You may be right, if you are thinking that BMW just made a few extra M panels, and fitted them on normal E30s. But that’s not the case here.
BMW wanted to give all their customers some of the looks and feel of the big daddy from the E30 family, so apart from replacing the stock body panels with M ones, they imported other parts from the M badged E30s. The driving experience was much improved by adding M suspensions, and stiffer sway bars, that kept the car’s nose low, as well as the center of gravity, and offered the driver that neat and sharp control even in the most dangerous corner, similar to an original M3 E30.
Besides the benefic effect it had on the car’s appearance, changing the panels with M3 ones made the car as aerodynamic as one. The front and rear bumpers were lowered, so less air passed underneath the car and made it stick to the ground better, the rear arches were also replaced, improving even morethe aerodynamic coefficient . The side skirts didn’t remain stock either, instead they were replaced with lighter M ones.
The interior of the car was heavily modified. New, racing seats replaced the classic stock ones, and each one had an M badge engraved on it. The trim was also the work of the M division, the dashboard was build from lighter materials, an a new gear nob was installed. All these changes, and you felt just as close to the road and focused on driving as you would in a real M3. Nowadays, as the E30 has become a classic, many after market component manufacturers produce spares and tuning bits for it. If you are interested in a such thing, it is very likely that you will find M3 tuning kits, both for the interior and the exterior, at reasonable prices.
With its M technic E30 models, BMW managed to create a motorized tribute to the mighty M3. For some purists, this kind of cars may seem fake or just an attempt from the manufacturer earn more money. But it is not the case with BMW, a car company that cares a lot about its flagship products, the M cars, and also about its customers. What BMW did here with the E30 M technic models was, as I said earlier, just a showcase, a sample of what can they do if they put their best minds at work. It was a preview for the BMW enthusiast that couldn’t afford yet an M3, a motivation to work harder and get the real deal. After all, in the E30 M technics you felt almost like in an M3, but you didn’t had to deal with the complications that kind of cars bring within. In my opinion, the closest feel you could get to an M3 was in a 318is with M technic prepared interior, body work and drive train.
In the end, I will let you enjoy the photo gallery and some very nice videos with E30 M technics:
Take a look at this M technic convertible, it looks just great, and with the 2.5 liter engine, it can give you some proper thrills:
Here is another E30 with an M package, drifting in an underground parking lot and on the streets at night:
Slideshow with an 325i E30, with M technic options.