1987 BMW 3 Series ix 3.25 from North America


Great foul weather car


The fuel pump had to be replaced 2 times early on in it's life. The BBS wheels seemed to be a little "soft" and easy to bend. (I had a "close encounter" with a curb after a spin out)

After about 100,000 miles the transmission leaked like a sieve. This was the all wheel drive model. Some "mystery" recalls that had to do with the injectors.

General Comments:

Car was reasonably quick and comfortable. The traction was almost 4 wheel drive like, limited only by the ground clearance, very impressive in the snow.

Although handling is better than your average car, it s still not an F1 racer, as I learned the hard way. On really hard turns the rear wheel lifted and the front end pushed, but most people do not drive like that.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2004

1987 BMW 3 Series 325iC 2.5L Inline-6 from North America


"Sport-Utility-Cabrio" The all-purpose convertible that can go and do anything...


Vinyl window is clouded (was like that when I bought the car). I have gotten it to a semi-transparent state where I can see objects, but not clearly thanks to Meguiar's products).

Water pump and thermostat went ($300).

New front brakes and calipers ($500 for calipers and $40 for brakes - Textar).

Minor electrical glitches as most cars of its age has (engine temperature gauge is on the fritz, and has still not been repaired).

Rubber hangers on the exhaust needed replacing ($50).

General Comments:

Though this car has cost me a lot for a person of my age (20), I'm not really complaining, because all the parts are the original parts of the car. In the 15 years of the car, this is the first time most of the parts are going bad. That seriously shows good engineering and refinement.

This is my first BMW, and I've always loved the E30 3er. Every since I was a little kid, I've wanted one of these, more particularly the cabrio. And what-do-ya-know, I got one.

Coming from a Mazda Protege DX, the BMW is a substantial upgrade. Power everything, and more toys than I need to have in a car. Maybe I'm a little behind with the technology of cars, but that's OK with me. This car suits me fine. The performance is absolutely perfect. No car I've driven (aside from a '93 Nissan 300ZX) passes an 18-wheeler faster than this car. 100+ mph speeds are a breeze in this tank, and it's no light-weight.

I especially like the Recaro-style seats. They hold you well on those bumpy roads. The top-down is especially useful for those trips to Home Depot and what not, when you have long pieces of wood and tools.

For 15 years old, it's in good condition. I LOVE this car. I'd definitely get another BMW if and when I have the money.

It is definitely worth the price of admission and maintenance. Rewarding... as long as you have the sweet-sounding 6-cylinder. Not the 4-cylinder.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th January, 2004

1987 BMW 3 Series 325 Base 2.7L I6 Gas from North America


An Image/Performance discount auto


Dealer failed to install the clutch master cylinder correctly and it spilled break fluid all over the drivers side floor. A friend and I fixed it in a couple hours.

The rubber boot just after the air filter was damaged by age causing the car to sputter and stall. Fixed for about $50 US dollars.

The shifter boot is torn.

Car needs new shocks after nearly 130K. Can't complain.

General Comments:

The car really was a good deal. I got it in August 2002 for $2700 from the 2nd owner who really took good care of it. It looks very good in and out for a 16 year old car. I nearly got an 86 528e before this however it was more than book value and it turned out to be an 85 not an 86. That was a very nice car and if this one died I would have few reservations about buying one however with Automatic it is not nearly as quick as my 325 Manual.

The car is stock save the stereo I put in.

The car runs very well and very fast. Had it up to 110 MPH on a back road before running out of road. This is with the AC off and on! 121 bhp is not great, but 170 ft-lbs of torque moves the car faster then many other cars that are much newer. This is is the 'eta' six.

My neighbor has one of those 'Fast & Furious' wannabe Dodge Neons with all the cheap Wal-Mart stickers, lights, sub-woofers and muffler that make the car sound like it needs one. One day I was behind him turning onto the highway. He was revving the snot out of his car, my car wasn't even breaking a sweat and still gaining on him. Its nice to have a car that is fast, but still very refined.

The handling is tight, but at 129K it really could use new Shocks. The Wheels at 14in could be bigger. I had an 86 Volvo 244 GL with wheels from an 81 GLT and even those are 15in wheels. However it can still take those 10 MPH curves at 40. Some people may find the ride a bit stiff, but if that is the case then they should be driving some American boat not an E30 Bimmer.

Wet weather driving can be tricky, but with a good set of snow tires and the standard ABS snow driving isn't that bad.

Fuel economy is not great at 20 mpg in mostly city driving, but its not bad ether. I use 93 octane and find it gets about 4-5 mpg better then 87. Runs better too. However at $1.90 I may try going back to 89 or 87 and see what happens.

I have not done the head-bolts yet, but I really should. The head-bolds on the M20 motor from 84-89 can snap and wreck the engine. They need to be replaced with the newer Torx bolts. They may already be replaced, but it still is something worth looking into.

Over all it is a very good car and I am happy with it. Sometimes I wish I had something newer, but no other car can really match an E30 for performance, reliability, cost and image for less than $3000 except maybe a 190E Mercedes-Benz. So until I get $15k or more to spend on a car this is it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2003

15th May 2004, 03:18

You are so right!! I recently bought an '87 325i M-tech european spec (i live in The Netherlands) and it still turns heads!! So it really offers a lot of value for the money! I've even made many other Bimmer owners with E-36 ers look small!

31st Jul 2006, 00:14

As I have put a deposit down on a new car (1995 Subaru Legacy LSi Wagon), I feel I should write a closing review.

OK, I got the car exactly four years ago with 123,xxx miles on it and now have 159,500. Over the course of those 36,000 miles I have put just over $5,000 into it in replacement parts. Parts have included ball-joints, tie-rods, shocks & struts, timing-belt, brake-master, two new mufflers and a cat, O2 sensor, and much more that I can't remember off hand. I do not know if this is typical or not, and I fully understand that when I got this car I was 17 and knew nothing about taking care of cars.

I do still really love this car. It was a good buy when I got it and I am still very attached to this car (always a mistake). I will never forget the day I drag raced a new Audi A4 and won! I know I won't be doing that with my new ride!

It was a fun car and it never once left me stranded. I had to drive it almost 800 miles in two days once and it performed great!

I think at the age and mileage the repairs are normal, but these are high end cars and have high end prices.

Here are a few tips for finding a good E30. If you are gonna buy one of these, I strongly suggest you get it checked out by someone who really knows BMW's or at least German cars.

Second, don't be wooed by the low mileage examples that are floating around. Your best bet is actually a higher mileage car (e.g. 150-170K). Most of these cars have already had most of the expensive things replaced and most of the motors still have a lot of life left in them. Also I've noticed that lower mileage E30 are very expensive. A decent price for one of these is between $2,000 and $3,000.

DO NOT buy one without the service history! It may look great, drive great, smell great, etc, but you will never know what has been done to it.

The drive train on these is pretty much bullet proof, but you should check the engine seals and gaskets. At this age they will go on almost any car.

Where these cars will really get you is on the suspension, specifically the front end. The parts are not all that expensive compared with most cars, but they are hard to work on an as such labor is a small fortune. Again this is where a BMW specialist is handy. When something in the front end goes, treat it like the doing a clutch and replace as many parts as you can while the car is there. Trust me, this will save you a lot of money in the long run.

In closing I have to say I really do feel that these are some of the best cars ever made and I will miss mine greatly, I just don't have the time and money to keep on driving mine.