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.