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The E30 replaced the E21 as BMW's Three Series car in 1981, and was the basis for the original M3.


The E30 range was determined primarily by its engine range.

Base models

Name Volume Engine code Years No. Produced
316 1766cc M10B18 1982–1987
316i 1596cc M40B16 1987–1994
318i 1766cc
320i 1990cc M20B20 1982–1991
323i 2316cc M20B23 1982–19850 60,706
325i 2494cc M20B25 1982–1990 196,996
324d 2443cc M21D24 1985–1993 75,696
324td 2443cc M21D24 1985–1993 21,514


Name Volume Engine code Years No. Produced
318iS 1766cc M42B18 1989–1991 41,234
325i Sport 2494cc M20B25 1986–1991
325i Motorsport 2494cc M20B25 1986–1991 590
M3 2302cc S14 1986–1991 17,184
M3 Evolution 2302cc S14 1987–1987
M3 Evolution II 2302cc S14 1988–1988
M3 Sport Evolution 2467cc S14 1990–1990

Overseas Models


Name Volume Engine code Years No. Produced
320iS 1990cc S14B20 1987–1990 3,748
325iX 2494cc M20B25 1982–1990 29,589

South Africa

Name Volume Engine code Years No. Produced
325iS 2693cc M20B27 1990–1991
333i 3210cc M30 1985–1987 204

North America

Name Volume Engine code Years No. Produced
325e 2693cc M20B25 1982–1990 189,287
325iX 2494cc M20B25 1982–1990 29,589





A selection of brochures from all around the world, ranging from Genuine BMW, through the tuning companies to after market accessories. Brochures

Dimensions and Weights

Dimensions Saloon Touring Cabriolet
Length 4325mm 4450mm
Width 1645mm
Height (unloaded) 1380mm 1370mm
Wheelbase 2570mm
Front overhang 761mm 845mm
Rear overhang 994mm 1075mm
Front track 1407mm
Rear track 1415mm
Min. turning circle (wheels) 9.8m
Min. turning circle (overall) 10.5m
Boot capacity 404 litres 312 litres

Weights 316 316i



with catalyst

320i 325e 325i 325iX 324d 325i 325i


Unladen weight 1000kg 1010kg 1020kg 1080kg 1120kg 1125kg 1215kg 1155kg 1275kg 1355kg
Max. weight limit 1460kg 1470kg 1480kg 1540kg 1580kg 1585kg 1675kg 1615kg 1715kg 1735kg
Front axle load limit 750kg 7760kg 760kg 810kg 800kg 800kg 855kg 820kg 830kg 860kg
Rear axle load limit 825kg 825kg 825kg 825kg 890kg 890kg 900kg 890kg 960kg 945kg
Trailer load limits
Unbraked 500kg
Braked 1200kg
Max. roof load 75kg 50kg
  • for 4-door saloons, add 20kg
  • for automatic transmissions, add 20kg


Main article: Technical

Like any BMW, the E30 is a complex precision machine, precision-built and designed to last. But even the simplest of machines needs maintenance occasionally, so keep your E30 running the way it should, it helps to familiarise yourself with the design, and the components. The Technical section of the E30 Zone Wiki is your one-stop source for maintenance tips, common problems, upgrades and troubleshooting.


Main article: Engines

The E30 was available with a range of 4- and 6-cylinder engines to entice both the frugal and the frivolous. The most humble of these was the early 316, which featured a carbureted 4-cylinder M10 engine, while the most powerful standard car was the 325i, with its 6-cylinder M20.

As the E30 developed, more powerful variants evolved. The M10 was eventually replaced by the fuel-injected M40.



Main article: Gearbox


Main article: Differential

When upgrading your engine, upgrading your differential at the same time is almost mandatory.


Main article: Brakes

While moving in the E30 is an utterly delight, the need to stop moving is sometimes necessary. For that reason, the E30 was fitted with front discs on all models. The smaller-powered 316, 316i and 318i saloons were fitted with rear drum brakes, while all six-cylinder models and Tourings had rear discs as standard.


Main article: Suspension

All E30s are fitted with McPherson struts for front suspension, bolting up to a single control arm at the bottom. This is reinforced by an anti-roll bar connecting the control arm to the front subframe. The rear wheels have independent suspension of springs and shocks, and are connected to the rear subframe via trailing arms. Another anti-roll bar clamps the trailing arms to the body.


Main article: Steering

Body Styles and Fittings

Main article: Bodywork


Main article: Interior

The interior of the vehicle is where the E30 owner experiences the car. From its upholstery to its instruments and everything in between, learn more about the Interior here.


Main article: Electrical




Main article: M-Tech