1985 BMW 3 Series e 2.7L 6 cylinder Gasoline from North America


Fun in summer, not so much in winter


Struts had to be replaced at 123000.

Brake Disks and Pads all around at 123000.

Leather and dash cracked / sun damaged.

Passenger side power window motor bad.

Oil Leak, solved with new pan gasket.

Brake lights not working in severe cold weather, still can't find the problem. After the car warms up they start to work again.

General Comments:

Generally a fun car to drive in good weather. Winter driving on the other hand is not so fun. Handles very poor in snow and slush. Even rain seems to loosen handling noticeably.

Aside from the minor issues noted above, the car has been very reliable.

Not bad on gas either, highway driving nets near 30mpg.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2005

1985 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0 litre, petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Very well built, just don't plan on being in a hurry!


The central locking doesn’t work on one door.

Radio aerial is missing.

Wipers are jerky in the intermediate setting but come right after a while at full speed.

Idles a bit rough.

The odd blown bulb, but nothing serious for a 20 year old car.

General Comments:

I bought this car when I needed a cheap set of wheels, but I couldn’t stand the thought of a boring, front wheel drive, 4 cylinder, Japper, devoid of any character. The BMW only cost me NZ$1,200 and it still feels like a quality car which has never let me down. It’s quite different to my last car to drive (a 1993 Honda Accord VTEC) and is a bit heavier in the brakes and steering. However it has fantastic feel back through the wheel and is a delight to punt over a twisty road with its great handling. The brakes are OK and with it’s high gearing and lock-up auto it will easily return 36 mpg on the open road with 100 kph at only 2,200 rpm. With constant 50 – 60 kph round town running it returns 28 – 30 mpg, which I reckon is good for a 6 cylinder automatic of this age.

My only criticism is the high gearing and chronic lack of torque from the engine. The gearing kills the acceleration unless you’re over 4,000 rpm. To get reasonable performance you must learn to flatten the accelerator all the time, which takes the edge off its usual relaxed feel. 0-100 kph in 12 seconds sounds OK (just!) but on light throttle openings the car is a slug! Some hills require dropping back to 2nd gear and lots of revs to keep the speed up and overtaking takes some planning. Whilst this isn’t a problem in normal driving (and the engine does sound nice and the auto gearbox is very smooth) it can get frustrating when accelerating onto motorways or across intersections. I think the 5 speed manual would be a lot quicker.

It’s fine for two people, but four is a bit of a squeeze. The 4 speaker tape deck was probably top of the line when new and is still OK today. The seats are very adjustable and at 6’ 1” (1.84 m) tall I can happily drive it all day. It has a sun roof, but no air con or electric glass. Very reliable and people often comment when they see that I drive a BMW and are amazed when they learn how cheap it was.

For the price it’s a great car and cheap to run, just don’t plan on being in a hurry!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2005

13th Sep 2007, 08:48

You know these cars are CRAP in auto! They are really a manual car and they only came and such - and only in two door form - until 1984! Auto was only an option and a 3spd afterthought at that. E30s really were the last generation of the old-school stripped down sports car: no gimmicky accessories to disguise a lack of substance, two door, manual, minimalist/functional interior and a large engine in a small car with rear wheel drive. They simply don't make cars like this any more. They are a definite classic.

In manual they are MUCH better. The lack of torque is an utter myth. They had 205nm. This is GREAT when you compare it to such 'rice rockets' as a 1989 Prelude with 170nm, a 2003 Honda Integra Type R with 190nm, and a current MX5 with the same. There must have been a problem with your car - compression issues aren't uncommon in their old age. Car mags at the time stated that the 323i in manual did 0-100 in 8.5s which is really pretty quick for today even.

My darling cracked it and was rebuilt poorly and now totally lacks power. I can't bear to sell it though, and it sits in our outer garage waiting for better days. I simply love these cars.