1980 BMW 3 Series Reviews

1980 BMW 3 Series 320i M10B18 from North America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission M10B18 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired175000 miles
Most recent distance177000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz E-Class

Summary:

Light weight and possible collector classic

Faults:

Replaced control arms because the bushings looked old.

General Comments:

I was lucky and found a very clean E21, most you find are too rusted. New paint, interior, headliner, upgraded rims, stereo, and suspension. Pretty low mileage for a 30 year old car (175k miles).

Stock 1.8 liter 4 cylinder is pretty quick despite its 109hp rated engine, the 5 speed and 3.64 LSD helps. Planning on a future upgrade from a 91-92 BMW 318i M42B18 engine (135/138hp). This is the lowest cost route since S14 engines are expensive to purchase and maintain. There are shops that offer tuned stock replacement engines (150hp), but want over $4000. Some E21 enthusiast change to flat pistons with longer stroke and add a turbo.

Whatever the case, there are many engine conversion options. The car is only 2400lbs, so it will handle corners like a go-cart.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th February, 2010

8th Nov 2011, 00:17

Our family is like the epicenter of BMWs, as we have 2 320i's, an e30 convertible, 2x 7 series and a 5 series wagon (e34). One 320i is my daily driver with 249,732 miles on it and running like day one. The other one just got the m42 swap that you are talking about, and I would HIGHLY suggest you do this. That car is a rocket. It is on the verge of traction, you shift into 2nd, and BURN through second, and chirp into third. Plus, it has major low end torque to add to the fun! Hope all is well fellow bimmer lover!

1980 BMW 3 Series 318 1.8L from North America

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
Engine and transmission 1.8L Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired104000 miles
Most recent distance104000 miles

Summary:

Should be called "the disappointing driving machine"

Faults:

The start and finish mileage is the same because the odometer was not working when I got the car and I never fixed it.

The only reason I tried this one out was because I got it for $300 as it needed a master cylinder and a bit of TLC.

I replaced the very worn front seats, the brake master cylinder, the brake booster, and the rear wheel cylinders. That was pretty much it. The clutch was replaced before I bought the car. The AC compressor was dead. I only kept it for a year, but it was fairly reliable.

General Comments:

I thought that these things were supposed to be "the ultimate driving machine"?

I only kept the car for a year because it was not what I expected. The interior was pretty worn, mostly aged, the performance was not fantastic (0-60 in about 10.5 seconds and top speed only about 95mph), and parts were expensive (the master cylinder was $150).

Also, this thing did not handle as well as I thought it should, it was never confidence inspiring in the turns. It felt like it was going tip over if you cornered too hard.

In the end, the cost to keep it going was too high when compared performance received. Add to that, it was painful to take this car on long trips. It got good gas mileage, but the seats wore me out. We had to get out of the car every two hours or suffer major discomfort.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th February, 2007

25th Feb 2007, 05:43

When did you buy the car? If recently, what do you expect for a over 20 year old car, and it is their cheap model anyway?

Handling could be bad because of worn out suspension parts.

Where did you go to get your parts? Any car parts are expensive at retail prices. They are not the most expensive parts. Volvo is worse. The BMW club is a source to find parts companies that are more reasonable.

1980 BMW 3 Series 320iS 2.0 Liter from North America

Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 2.0 Liter Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired169000 miles
Most recent distance180000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Rabbit

Summary:

A rickety old high performance machine

Faults:

The head gasket blew, but this was not surprising since the car had well over 175000 miles at the time. Repair bill for the head gasket was $600.

Previous owner lowered the car 2 inches, causing the rear tires to wear out quickly.

General Comments:

Showed signs of it's age often.

Limited slip differential is fun on rain slicked roads.

Was extremely reliable, once the head gasket was fixed.

This car only had a 4 speed transmission, but could still hit triple digit speeds easily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2003

1980 BMW 3 Series 320 2.0 petrol from Netherlands

Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.0 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired103000 kilometres
Most recent distance107500 kilometres
Previous carMitsubishi Lancer

Summary:

The best buy a had in years and when sorted out it is the car you will keep for a life time.

Faults:

One time the a switch of the automatic shorted out.

The front stabilizer unit rubber was missing.

The automatic had too little oil at one time, but we corrected it all.

General Comments:

This car might be old, but in the condition it is in is like that of a 7 year old car.

It responds seriously on the gas pedal. It is nice to have 122 Bhp of BMW at your service at all time.

The seats are much better than that of the BMW 2002 I also own.

It is not economical to run every day. Because it is a old fashion straight six it consumes plenty of fuel (but it is worth it, because this car really flies!)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2002

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 4 reviews