1982 BMW 3 Series 320i 1.8l from North America


A reliable, solid sporty car - not made out of cheap steel!!


Replaced the alternator (after 18 years of use!)

Replaced the exhaust.

Rebuilt the transmission (before I bought it).

Replaced the radiator.

AC dead.. pitched the dead weight and use the sunroof instead!

General Comments:

Reliable but underpowered. Auto trans will self destruct if revved too high in neutral or park. The trans has been rebuilt before I bought it - so far so good.

Excellent handling. No power steering - great feel at highway speeds - crap for parallel parking.

Parts are inexpensive - if you don't buy from BMW.

Built like a small tank - a real car. Check for rust underneath front fenders - bad spot but can be fixed.

All in all a great car. Gas mileage is OK, drive over 3500 rpm and it really sucks the fuel (the engine goes up to 5000 rpm easily!)- and you should run premium!

If you want an inexpensive European car with decent reliability and handling I recommend it. Look for a 5 speed model - is better geared - better performance.

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

Review Date: 16th September, 2000

23rd Jan 2001, 23:59

I also have a BMW 320i though it's a 1980 model. It works better than a lot of cars on the road. This car will start under any conditions. You can run this car off of Koolaid and it will run.

This car tops out at 106mph, not having the fastest 0-60 time.

This car is very strong and has a good long lasting body thanks to BMW.

Having over 150 thousand miles, this car is ready to run whenever I turn the key.

26th Jan 2001, 18:28

I had a 1977 BMW 320i, and I agree with your fuel mileage comments. My car had a 4 speed manual transmission, no fifth gear, or overdrive. I recall that in order to drive at speed, above 150 K /hour, the rpm's were up around 5000, or possibly higher. Fuel consumption was atrocious, but it was worth it, now and then. Around town, at normal speeds, the mileage was about right for a 24 year old car.


17th Aug 2004, 14:22

I own a 1982 320I with a 355 cui. 450 h. p small block Chevy. I started the project in Nov. 2003 and turned the key in April 2004. The car goes to all kind of car shows and cruise nights and gets lots of looks. Believe it or not it was not a hard trans plant. It will walk on almost any mustang or honda. It is still a great little car to drive and great to look at.

23rd Sep 2009, 17:53

Follow up to my original post. The car was remarkably easy to work on. The 1.8 with the auto trans is a true slug, made my W123 240D seem fast off the line. 1 year after I made the original post I lent the 320i to a friend who in 1 day, spun it out on black ice, and trashed the car... Needless to say, I don't lend my cars out anymore...

1982 BMW 3 Series E21 315 1.6 carb from Finland


Cheap teen cruiser


Doesn't start in winter. Lots of fixing. Bottom of the trunk was completely rusty. Wiper motor broke. Glovebox lock broke (also water in the glovebox after a rainy day).

General Comments:

Hard to find an E21 in a good condition. Generally the oldest BMW model on the road. Underrated. Cheap.

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

Review Date: 25th May, 2000