325iS South African Model

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The 325iS was a sports model built exclusively for the South African market. It combined M3 running gear with a 2.7-litre engine from Alpina.

History

When it became clear that South Africa would not be getting the M3, the 325iS was created. Initially this was the same concept as the 325i Sport available in other markets; merely a 325i 2-door fitted with a body kit and a close-ratio gearbox (improving acceleration at the expense of top speed and economy). This model was available in 1989.

However, consumers quickly demanded more performance, and in 1990 the EVO I was released. This model was a radical redesign of the car, featuring aluminium body panels, brakes and suspension from the M3, and a larger 2.7l engine sourced from Alpina, capable of 197hp. A limited number were produced to allow for homologation into saloon car racing.

In 1991, a further update saw the release of the EVO II. While some of the body panels reverted back to steel, the engine saw even more performance with the addition of parts from the E28 535i, pushing power up to 210hp.

Unlike the 333i where the options were fog lights or Air Conditioning , all 325is's were fitted with both. All cars were fitted with BBS X Spoke wheels.

EVO I

First released in March 1990, the EVO I came fitted with front suspension and rear brakes from the E30 M3. The engine was the same M20B27 unit used in the Alpina C2 2.7, mated to a dog-leg close-ratio gearbox and LSD. Its bonnet, wings, boot lid and doors were all made from aluminium to reduce weight. The glass was a special tinted type made by Sundym.

For the interior, the standard sport package was used featuring black carpet, sports seats in Anthracite upholstery, and a sports steering wheel. All models came with OBC, Aircon, cruise control. Paint was available in the typical M3 colours.

EVO II

In March 1991 the first batch of EVO IIs was released. Fitted with all the same goodies as the EVO I, this model was beefed up to 155 kW (210 hp) by using the AFM and throttle body from a 535i. This allowed for a 0-62 mph time of just 7.5sec. Engines were still Alpina-derived units, but were built by BMW S.A who used selected heads from Alpina direct as well as using Alpina pistons. The EVO II also has a slightly longer duration cam shaft, which means at idle it was possible to hear the difference between and EVO I and EVO II. The model also benefitted from Alpina anti-roll bars, while the doors reverted back to steel construction.

Externally, the EVO II is distinguished from the EVO I by 3 features:

All EVO II's had a underbody splitter. This looks like a small black lip along the front spolier, but it was not cosmetic and ran from the front spoiler too the wheels, to help smooth the airflow under the body.

The second enhancement was a slighlty lower set of springs, even though all 325iS EVO I and II used Bilstein dampers. The EVO II was a full 10mm lower then an EVO I.

The third feature was the addition of rear headrests, while the very last models were also fitted with sunroofs.

There is believed to be only one EVO II model in the UK.