The second generation BMW 3 Series was presented in 1982 presenting new design, optimised aerodynamics, more space and comfort, extra power and additional body and engine variants. The new car’s lines were significantly tauter and smoother than those of its predecessor, and its drag coefficient had been reduced by almost 15 per cent.
A civilian version of this original M3 with the biggest capacity drove onto the roads with the additional name of BMW M3 Sport Evolution. Its characteristic feature was the two-tier rear wing. This 238 hp sports car was limited to 600 units. A version of the two-litre engine used in Italy was also marketed for everyday use. It was designated 320is, packed 192 hp and was sold in Italy and Portugal to come below the statutory capacity limits valid here for highly taxed luxury cars.
After the production of the BMW M1 had stopped, the BMW CEO Eberhard Kuenheim commissioned a design for a successor. On one of his regular visits to Motorsport GmbH in Munich’s Preußenstraße he said, “Mr. Rosche, we need a sporty engine for the 3 Series.” Motorsport GmbH with its managing director of technical development Paul Rosche had demonstrated its expertise with the legendary 5 Series saloons driven by M engines as well as developing the Formula 1 turbo engine that powered Brazilian Nelson Piquet to win the World Championship in the Brabham BMW in 1983.
First BMW all-wheel drive was unveiled in 1985 as a second-generation BMW 3 Series. All-wheel drive was offered exclusively in conjunction with a 2.5-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine producing 171 horsepower. The permanent all-wheel drive of the BMW 325iX channelled power to the front and rear wheels at a constant 37 : 63 percent split.