From the classic E30 to the latest E92, the BMW M3 has undergone an evolution from light, small, and motorsports-intended to larger, more powerful, and built for the street as much as the track, but a thread of commonality remains. Where that thread lies, and how strong it remains, is a question best answered behind the wheel, though this video attempts to explain some of it.
It could be argued--and BMW even makes the comparison itself--that the 1-Series M Coupe is closer to the original M3's heritage than today's high-revving V-8 sports car. The video dwells mostly on the capability of the E30 M3, interspersed with some great vintage racing footage, laying the groundwork for the M3s to come.
[BMW via YouTube]