The Classing Driving Icon – BMW E30

Table of Contents

Overview of BMW E30

Produced between the years 1982 and 1994, the BMW 3 Series is a line that is known for its elegant and sporty design, having top-notch and exceptional dynamics. The BMW E30 is indeed an iconic yet compact car that has left permanent marks on automotive history. It is the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” as BMW said. People who have more of an enthusiastic driving style have had the E30 as a classic choice for years, even after its production ceased. The E30s were immensely popular when we talk about amateur motorsport. The main reason for it is the rear-wheel drive and front-engine format.

E30 came as the second generation of the 3 Series and was offered in many different body styles. Some of these include sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon. This vehicle contains a perfect touch of luxury along with sportiness and practicality. The timeless design and enduring appeal of the 3 Series captivated a large number of automotive enthusiasts around the world.

Origin and Evolution

The 3 Series originated in the early 1980s. The BMW E30 was marked as the second generation of this series. This vehicle can be considered the product of BMW’s engineering excellence and dedication to making top-notch vehicles that always give driving pleasure. This model also resulted in the production of the M3 variant in 1986, which also gained immense popularity around the world of sports cars.

The BMW E30 went through a lot of improvements and upgrades with every passing year. Be it safety enhancements, design tweaks, or engine upgrades, this vehicle became an icon, particularly in touring car racing. Around 670,000 E30s were sold by August 1985 ever since its production.

Power, Performance, and Efficiency

All the E30 cars are equipped with highly reliable engines. However, they need proper maintenance to go along for a long time. The performance and power output of the vehicle depends upon the type of engine. For most models, the car contains 4-cylinder engines with power outputs ranging from around 90 to 140 horsepower.

BMW M3 was the most notable performance variant, having a 2.3 L S14 straight 4 -4-cylinder engine that was capable of producing power between 192 to 235 horsepower.

The sporty handling and excellent driving dynamics were the major features of the BMW E30. The vehicles of this series were equipped with well-tuned suspension and rear-wheel-drive layout. It was the precise steering that made it the favorite of most driving enthusiasts.

When we consider the 1983 E30 sedan, we can expect the average fuel consumption in the combined cycle to be 7.8 to 10 liters per 100km. The BMW 318i from the 1983 E30 was the most fuel-efficient vehicle, consuming 7.8 liters per 100km.

Exploring the Interior Features

When we talk about the interior of the BMW E30, you will see a constant touch of sportiness throughout the vehicles produced from 1982 to 1994. It was the luxury vehicle of its time. The high material and build quality of those vehicles reflected the craftsmanship of BMW. There are plush leather seats and a good grip leather steering wheel.

You could also find sunroof in certain models and optional leather upholstery, which is added for additional style and comfort. Though it may not be up to today’s standard, the E30’s interior was a classic example of timeless design.

Interior Color Options

A wide range of interior color options was available in the BMW E30. However, this may vary widely depending on the model and trim level. The upholstery material can include leather, cloth, or a combination of both. Below is the list of the most common interior options you will find in the BMW E30.

  • Black
  • Gray
  • Blue
  • Beige

Exploring the Infotainment Technology

Though the BMW E30 series was way ahead of its time when it comes to driving dynamics, it lacked infotainment technology. There’s not much to discuss about the infotainment, but there was a basic stereo system with cassette tape players. This was indeed the luxury of that time.

Since we are talking about the BMW E30 they were produced from cassette tape players; hence, you won’t find any touchscreen displays, smartphone integration, and navigation systems. Instead of equipping the vehicle with the latest technology, their emphasis was more on the driving experience.

Space and Storage in BMW E30

Though the BMW E30 was a classic and revered vehicle, it had a lot of limitations in its storage and space. There is only limited space for passengers, especially in the rear seats. However, the front seats were quite spacious and could comfortably fit two adults. The rear seats were obviously a hassle for taller and bulky passengers. Moreover, you could find quite a lot of compartments in the cabin for storage.

When it comes to cargo space, you will see sufficient trunk space. The space is just enough to carry groceries, luggage, and some other everyday cargo.

As stated earlier, the manufacturers focused a lot on the driving experience and gave little importance to other features of the car.

Safety Features

The safety technology in the BMW E30 was quite typical for its era. Here’s what you can find in an E30:

  • 3-point seatbelts for all front and rear passengers to enhance safety
  • Adjustable headrests to reduce the risk of neck injuries
  • Solid-body construction and crumple zones absorb impact energy during a collision, thus providing protection
  • Models produced in the early 1990s contain driver-side airbags that protect during frontal collisions
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) available to improve braking control

BMW E30’s Stand Among Competitors

The major competition of the BMW E30 at that time was Mercedes-Benz W201 (190E). This vehicle was known for comfort and build quality; hence, it outshone the BMW E30 in this aspect. Nonetheless, the rear-wheel-drive and precise handling of the E30 made it more engaging for the car enthusiasts of that time. Similarly, the Audi 80 was another rival of the E30, but since the E30 came in various engine options and had the high-performance M3, it was considered far superior in terms of agility and power.


Amazing aftermarket support

Top-notch driving dynamics

Powerful and reliable engine

A classic collectible


A lot of maintenance costs

Causes problems in snowy climates due to rear-wheel drive

The Driving Experience

The chassis and suspension setup of the BMW E30 is such that it gives a comfortable ride on city roads while giving an amazing balance between sporty dynamics and daily drivability. The varying engines ensure there’s a model fitting different driving preferences. All its various features ensure satisfying performance for a wide range of drivers. This vehicle was and is one of the best cars to run on the road.

You need to consider that the driving experience with the BMW E30 is not completely about performance and speed; rather, it’s also the connection that it builds between the driver and vehicle. You will observe precise gear changes from the manual transmissions and quite tactile feedback. All these collectively help in an immersive and engaging driving experience that you might also observe with modern-day cars.


Since the BMW E30 is no longer in production, there will be a significant price difference that can vary depending on the location, mileage, and condition. Here’s the estimated price of BMW E30 models:

Variant/ModelPrice Range (USD)
BMW E30 318i/320i$3,000 – $10,000+
BMW E30 323i$10,000 – $16,000+
BMW E30 316$11,000 – $17,000+
BMW E30 M3$40,000 – $100,000+
BMW E30 Convertible$5,000 – $20,000+
BMW E30 324td$15,000 – $19,000+
BMW E30 Touring$7,000 – $25,000+

Even after so many years of production of the BMW E30, it still stands the test of time and feels full of character. The decent build quality and styling look fresh to this day. This car is just the perfect example of one that suits every budget. The compelling combination of driving dynamics, timeless design, and rich legacy is what sets it apart and keeps it alive to this date. It is indeed a valuable investment that you will never regret. It is a versatile vehicle, having several engine options and various body styles. All this makes it a well-rounded choice for daily drivers as well as car enthusiasts.

E30 remains an enduring symbol of automotive artistry, giving a captivating driving experience every time, you are on the road.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are repairs and parts of the BMW E30 still readily available?

Definitely! All its parts are still available. However, you may need to source from specialty suppliers in most cases.

Does this car perform well in the winter seasons?

Since the BMW E30 is rear-wheel drive and has low ground clearance, it might become difficult to keep pace in such conditions. You need to take appropriate precautions and use the right tires to get adequate performance.

Which of the BMW E30 was the rarest car?

The M3 E30 Roberto Ravaglia is the rarest type of BMW E30 that is believed to produce a total of 25 in Milano Red.

Written by: Motorcardata

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