1982 BMW 3 Series Reviews

1982 BMW 3 Series E21 M20B23 from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1982
Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission M20B23 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired260000 kilometres
Most recent distance265000 kilometres
Previous carHolden Gemini

Summary:

The car is fun to drive and own

Faults:

The interior needs a re-trim.

The exterior needs a respray.

The viscous fan coupling had to be replaced.

General Comments:

Wherever you point the car it goes, there is no under steer and very little over steer.

The acceleration is excellent, and after 25 years the car still runs beautifully.

The car has a button for it's ignition, which is a unique feature.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st July, 2007

1982 BMW 3 Series 315 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired40000 kilometres
Most recent distance62000 kilometres
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

Cheap good quality runabout capable of handling much more than the engine produces.

Faults:

Rear brake cylinders began leaking after leaving the car to stand for a long time.

Some rust in the front wheel arches has needed to be repaired.

General Comments:

Compared to the power available, fuel consumption could be better. Perhaps with the 5-speed gearbox option this would be different.

The car is very easy to maintain at home. The parts are readily available and reasonably priced when obtained from specialists.

The car is becoming quite old, but still feels very usable everyday, especially compared with other older cars. All the equipment still works well, and it's comfortable to drive.

It is practical with a usefully sized boot.

The steering wheel is heavy when parking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2006

1982 BMW 3 Series 320i 1.8 from North America

Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.8 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired118000 miles
Most recent distance148000 miles
Previous carOldsmobile Delta 88

Summary:

A rare and fun head-turner as an introduction to project cars.

Faults:

Hazard light switch replaced twice since I've had the car. These things are notorious for failing.

Cruise Control doesn't work (and apparently never worked well, as per my Uncle).

Bad front-end shimmy that is very difficult to repair.

Interior upholstery is worn out. Covered rear bench seat with towels and pulled two black-vinyl Recaro seats from a junked 320i and replaced front seats. What an improvement. The musty smell took about 6 months to dissipate.

Center console assembly replaced- found used set on eBay.

Glove box straps break easily.

Blue smoke at start-up, some oil consumption. I've heard they did this when they were brand new.

General Comments:

I got this beautiful black car as a senior in high school (18 year old kid driving a car about the same age). I got many compliments on it then and I still do today.

What a fun car to drive, despite its "quirks." Aside from people asking me how to open the doors from the inside (you just have to own one to know what I mean) and why it creates blue oil smoke when started, it's a relatively cheap and basic European car.

Handling is excellent and the ride is very German, although there is a little body roll when tossed around during more spirited driving. The front-end shimmy is part of owning the e21 and only a few people know how to fix it. Don't trust anyone, but a well-respected BMW mechanic to do your alignments.

Acceleration is so-so. The 4-cylinder engine feels stressed to move the somewhat heavy car from a standstill, but given the gas crisis at the time of its manufacture, I understand. I've thought about replacing the 1.8 with a 2.3 straight-6 when I get money.

Owning this car and keeping it in top shape requires quite a lot of time, dedication, and some extra money. And don't forget hours of elbow grease and lots of Zymol wax to make it shine!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th August, 2004

3rd Jun 2007, 20:41

I had a 1977 that I bought for 1300 with 200k on the clock, and put 70k on it when I was in my late teens. I drove the P*SS out of it, and all I did in those 70 thousand km was new tires, muffler, battery, and in-line fuel filter. Oh, and the ballast resistor went so I bypassed it. It survived many long trips, a couple of trips to the ditch, a few logging road trips with four guys and camping gear and was great overall... I would say this is one of the best reliable daily driver classics out there. The only downside is the marked difference between the excellent dry handling and nasty tail-happiness in the rain.

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 11 reviews