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BMW M3 Evo Sport vs Merc 190 Evo II: which would you have?

Two touring car legends up for quite a lot of money. Which gets your vote?

To quote noted boxing MC Michael Buffer, let’s get ready to rumble. Fighting out of the red corner, weighing in at around 1,200kg and sporting a dominant record of multiple touring car victories across Europe, it is the fighting pride of Munich, the BMW E30 M3 Sport Evolution.

Fighting out of the, erm, black corner, weighing in at 1,340kg and scoring a perfect 1-2-3 in the 1992 DTM championship, the fighting pride of Stuttgart, the Mercedes-Benz 190 Evolution II.

Now, both of these touring car legends are coming up for auction at Silverstone Auctions’ Classic Motor Show sale at the Birmingham NEC on 12 November, and they both carry rather heavyweight price tags. So the simple question is, which one gets your money?

First up, the M3. For an estimated auction price of between £95k and £115k, and boasting just 65k on the clock from new, you get one of the lairiest, most iconic BMWs ever built. One of the reasons, if you will, why BMW is important today. This later Sport Evolution model featured a larger version of the E30’s four-cylinder engine, bored out from 2.3 to 2.5 litres, to producing 238bhp. Essentially, BMW turned the M3 into a road-going touring car.

Then there’s the not-so-small matter of the adjustable front splitter and rear wing, along with a smaller fuel tank (for weight saving), and an overall suspension drop of 10mm.

It found its way to BMW specialist Windynook Motorsport, Preston, as a company demonstrator, and after 19 months, was upgraded by BMW-specialist Rossiters Ltd to include lowered springs, adjustable anti-roll bars, heated racing door mirrors and a rear panel.

We’re told it has only been in the custody of BMW Car Club members and maintained to the core, with a full service history and all the manuals and toolkits you can boast about on the Internet. Just 600 were made in total. And this is one of them.

Next up, the mighty Benz. It was first unveiled in 1990 at the Geneva motor show, and is an, um, evolution of the 2.5-litre Evo, which in turn was an evolution of the 2.3-litre 190. Power? 235bhp, together with a 0-62mph time of 7.1secs and top speed of 155mph. Just 502 were officially made, and only a handful ever made it to the UK. 

This one is number 28 from that run, finished in black with a black leather interior, some wood trim, that famous dog-leg gearbox, air-con, a fire extinguisher and heated front seats.

It’s had five former keepers, the most recent one deeming it prudent to apply some “light corrective works”, carried out by race engineers Stancombe Vehicle Engineering. The bodywork has been cosmetically enhanced by Harris Coachworks.

It’s even got the original Merc factory stickers in the windscreen too and has done just 25,500 miles. Estimated auction price? Between £100k and £115k.

Yes, £100k is a lot of money for 26-year-old German saloons, but these aren’t just any 26-year-old German saloons. Two questions, then: are prices of these things getting out of hand, and if you only had one to get, which one?

Answers below.

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