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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 10-08-2003, 08:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Everyone, I am sure that this topic is completely played out, but I have made car purchase mistakes in the past.

I am looking to get rid of my '97 Civic which I got from my wife (who is driving a nice Volvo V70). I am tired of not having a fun ride, so I am strongly considering a 325is as my daily driver (and potential weekend track car). While HP and options are nice, I am really looking for your collective thoughts on which year would be the best for me to approach.

I am NOT at all adverse to working on cars myself (in fact I am in the process of restoring a W111 Mercedes ('67 230S)) so little problems aren't going to be a large concern for me.

Any isight will be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks,
Rob Brown
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Old 10-08-2003, 08:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong but i think they are are all pretty much the same it just depends on the car itself... all the late 80's probaly don't have any huge design problems that will vary from year to year
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Old 10-09-2003, 10:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by alanh@Oct 8 2003, 09:19 PM
i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong but i think they are are all pretty much the same it just depends on the car itself... all the late 80's probaly don't have any huge design problems that will vary from year to year
'87 is cars are supposed to be good but i think they all have thier slight advantages -- nothing really significant. the later ones had nicer looking tail lights, updated ecu, and an intank main fuel pump.

if you're looking on making it a bit more sporty, i think they all scream with an m50 (s50) engine installed.. )
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Old 10-09-2003, 03:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ugh. If you mean mechanics and performance wise they are all basically the same. If your just going to scrutinize over little differences i would say the best year is the 89. Its got all the stuff as the newer ones up to 92 but is still the lighter wieght and older (i like old). The 88 is the next best choice (and is the best choice for a 325e) because though it doesnt have plastic pretty bumpers it still has most of the changed from the older 87 designs like ICS (sensor and not valve) and like he says the fuel pump. Beware though they made 2 models of the 88 pre and post change. One has older 87 components and the other has newer 88-89 components. The easiest way to tell is to look for the large ICValve on the intake boot or the smaller ICSensor.
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Old 10-12-2003, 12:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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true, they are pretty much all the same but you might as well go for a 90 or a 91 since that was the last year they made them in that style, and most likely have most of the bugs worked out of them. If you like the metal bumpers though, thats a different story. Just my .02
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Old 10-12-2003, 01:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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most people would say 89. it is the first year for the redesigned bumpers, some still have ellipsoids lights from 88, and its the last year without a air bag so you get the Mtech-1 steering wheel. 87 would be my second choice, its the lightest of the iS's and has a nice front spoiler which goes well with the older bumpers, but looks more classic than modern.

88 is a mix of the new valance and old alluminum bumper, and also has the lower cut rear fender arches (as do the 89's and newer).
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