90’s Legends: BMW E30 M3 Or Audi RS2?

The ’80s and ’90s produced arguably some of the most iconic ‘everyman’ performance cars.

The Lotus Carlton, the Sierra Cosworth and the Skyline GT-R are just some of the cars that we all continue to lust after, decades after their inception. Here were cars that weren’t reserved for the wealthy upper class – at least when they were first sold, today is a different matter – but rather aimed at the ordinary man and woman. They very much epitomised the ‘one car to do all things’ mantra. Drive to work on Monday, trackday on Saturday.

Come to think of it, are these the last of the ‘race Sunday, sell Monday’ cars? I’ve digressed, so let me get back on point…

2016 Rotiform 90s Legends by Anthony Anderson-32

As it transpires, our good friends at Rotiform are thinking about the exact same thing. They even made a film, so let’s go deeper…

Personally, I don’t think I could ever pick an absolute favourite from this era, but I guess these two wouldn’t be the worst to wake up and find in your garage. In a curious sort of way, both the E30 M3 and RS2 are very different and very similar cars at the same time.

Whilst their differences are obvious, a front-engined, naturally aspirated coupe versus a turbocharged four-wheel drive estate, their origins both heralded new dawns for their respective manufacturers. Both are the first of their kind – the first M3 and the first Audi RS model.

Both manufacturers turned to motorsport to create the cars too. BMW Motorsport were involved with the M3 whilst Porsche was heavily involved in creating the RS2.

2016 Rotiform 90s Legends by Anthony Anderson-9

The M3’s story is a familiar one, but the rarer RS2’s story isn’t quite as well known. Based on the Audi 80 Avant, the RS2 was the result of when Audi and Porsche worked together to build something a little bit special. As such, the RS2 proudly wears Porsche badging along with Porsche-branded Brembo brakes, often to the derision of those that don’t appreciate the car’s history.

Whilst Audi took responsibility for the body and quattro four-wheel drive system, Porsche worked its magic on the boosted five-cylinder engine, suspension and brakes. This is a mid-’90s estate car that could out-accelerate the supercars of the time, and even an F1 car of the same era. Well, to 30mph at least.

2016 Rotiform 90s Legends by Anthony Anderson-30

The M3 itself was without question the beginning of something wonderful too. It also remains the only car more successful than the Porsche 911 in motorsport, with the E30 establishing this particular dynasty.

Both cars have earned their reputations as standouts from an important era in automotive history. Not only for what they achieved on their own merits, but also the lineages they started which have gone on to become pillars of the performance car world.

Could I pick one over the other? Not a chance.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



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Each to there own but to be quite frank I find them both offensive. Unless they're rebuilt write offs they've taken 2 iconic performance cars and made them as useless down a good road as a slammed VW Lupo. VAG Scene - F*g scene.

turbo BEAMS ae86

RS2 is villanous


@turbo BEAMS ae86 0-30mph sprint in 1.5-seconds. RS2 for me as well.


I'd have to say I'd prefer a Mercedes Cosworth Evolution over these two but that's just my opinion.


Mercedes 190e Evo 1


There's just something about sleeper wagons. I love reading about the rs2.


More junk in the trunk, baby. Those wheels would have to go though.


I do prefer E30 but sadly said that's not relevant with the title, E30 only end up in very early 90's, you should use E30 as 80's title


That 747 tho.


I love both. However, I gotta say it somehow feels more unique to own an RS2 than an E30 (not that I own any of them), but that's just me.


Carbon Recaro A8's, my dream seats 

Cars are nice too!


Bruh Speedhunters, yall should feature Frank Ocean's BMW M3


190E 2.5-16, everybody else can get out.


@butt So true! E30 M3 and W201 Evos were true racing icons during their time.


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I love these cars both, i wish though the w201 Evo was inlcuded. 
I still can't help myself everytime i see that particular audi RS2 these rims are so repulsive :)
still that is just my opinion, i respect the choice of the owner, and i think he does wonderfully keeping such an icon street ready and drives it!


I prefer the RS2 because I am a sucker for a fast estate.


How could I get these pictures in higher resolution? They would make for a great wallpaper.


Great film, but god those wheels are horrid


Positive lip ftw! I'm probably the only one that loves the RS2 aboves wheels but I don't care. It's brilliant. It has a certain period correctness while still being individual.
I like e30s, I like estates, I like m3's (the original, rawest and best anyway)
Errrrrr.. I'll opt for the fastest thing in the photos.
So that will be the 747.


You're telephone dials are inside out.


RS2 on the smallest fittable diameter factory steel wheels! sleeper look FTW also lower unsprung weight ;p




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audi all day nicer in everyway


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Those intro paragraphs hit home. *salute*
And then they wonder why passionate interest in motoring industry in on the decline...


Great cars, but god those wheels (mainly) the S2 look stupid. See it on a lot of British and Euro cars.. It makes it lose its toughness...


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That E30 is a beauty.
Snapped some shots of it at the Meguiars BBQ meet, not so long back.


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Weird to compare the E30 M3 & RS2.. Surely the E36 would make more sense since they were actually contempories?

If only BMW had produced an E36 M3 touring model, the comparison would be perfect..

The porker wheels on this RS2 also don't suit is as well as the originals


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The wheels on the RS2 are the most DISGUSTING thing I have ever seen... Do everybody a favor and change the wheels, even some hubcaps from repco would look better.


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superpern Except it's an L1011 Tristar.