3 Series – E30
E30 may be a small step for mankind, but certainly it was a giant leap for BMW back in the 1980’s. It was introduced in 1982 (actually, ETK shows first 323i’s as being produced in 12/1981) as a two door coupé, to replace aging E21 model. One year later, the four door saloon arrived, continued by convertible in 1985 and touring in 1987. The vast possibility of chassis choice is interesting (even the Top Cabriolet was available from 1983 to 1991) and so is the fact, that E30 stayed in production for more than thirteen years (from first coupé to last touring).
E30 was also important model viewing the engine development. It started with M10 four cylinders and M20 six cylinders, but during its lifetime, the offer of engines was changing dramatically. The top of the range was represented by 325i (125 and later 126 kW) and on the other side of the power spectre was since the year 1985 the 2,4 l diesel engine (M21). The 324d became first diesel powered BMW. The older four cylinder M10 engines were eventually replaced by M40 engines during 1987 and the wild M42 1,8 l four cylinder delivering 100 kW was added in 1989, creating much-favored 318iS model.
Completely separate engine was S14 – the heart of M3 and 320iS. S14 engine was based on the original M10 four cylinder, which was completely re-engineered by BMW Motorsport GmbH (BMW M GmbH) and was now delivering from 141 to 175 kW. Another specialty was E30 333i, made by BMW South Africa. Africans were inventive and put a “big six“ M30 engine into E30 chassis.