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The BMW 3 Series is one of the highest-selling models from the German brand, all across the world. It is also one of the first models which BMW introduced in India, after they started operations in the country in 2006. The entry-level sedan from the Bavarian company arguably is, and always has been, the most driver-focussed car in its segment.
Out of all the BMW 3 Series generations over the years, one still stands out in the minds of 'Bimmer' fans. Produced from 1982 – 1994, the second generation 3 Series aka the E30, is the most favourite model line among car enthusiasts.
Here's one rare example of the E30 3 Series from the country – a 318i; currently worked on by the Coimbatore-based garage, Über Werkstatt AG, after being restored by Tiger Sports.
In today's age, only a few people can appreciate an '80s design language like the BMW E30. The car has got quad round headlamps (a thing of most old BMW models), squared fog lamps and the initial form of the brand's iconic kidney grille.
While a stock E30 318i is just a basic sedan to look at, this car looks quite cool. The car is finished in a gorgeous metallic grey shade which highlights every detail of the car while being subtle, otherwise.
The side profile also shows the typical boxy styling of the '80s – large windows, low beltline, narrow pillars and the lack of curves.
The car rides on a nice-looking set of 15-inch five-spoke alloy wheels from AC Schnitzer – a widely-known German tuning brand.
The original BMW E30 318i was powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 111bhp and 162Nm of torque. While this doesn't seem much in today's age, the car showcased decent performance during its time. The engine came mated to a five-speed manual.
The E30 has been worked on from the ground up to achieve what it is now. The interiors have also been redone using premium quality materials with utmost attention to detail.
The gear knob is the same as in the E30 M3 with the awesome-looking ‘M' stripes. A car enthusiast will find it really good to keep it in his/her palm and to row through the gears; something which most modern cars cannot deliver.
The analogue dials and the plain steering wheel also reveal the character of the car – just the basic electronics and mechanicals to do one thing – driving. There are also no cheap-looking chrome or wooden panels inside but only the essentials.
The 318i sports an E30 M3-style front bumper. This, in combination with the ‘M' badge on the grille, could make an untrained eye mistake the car for an actual E30 M3 (of course, only when viewed from the front).
In total, the car looks the part with the iconic ‘80s styling and the heritage it carries. Rules and regulations of the current age will never allow manufacturers to make a car like the E30. But thanks to some genuine car enthusiasts and builders, such machines will forever live to witness the changing automotive industry.
The E30 you see here is one of the basic products from the BMW generation. It isn't an M3, let alone a 325i. However, it gives an insight into what cars are supposed to be, besides being comfortable, spacious, fuel efficient and cheap – a car meant to be driven. Very few manufacturers concentrate on making their cars fun-to-drive and BMW is definitely one of them.
Thoughts On The E30 3 Series Build In India
Über Werkstatt has got lots planned for this E30 build. The car still requires some work on the exterior and various parts are yet to arrive. The fact that Indians too can restore and bring out the best from such classic automobiles, makes us car enthusiasts glad.
The E30 is one of many classics the garage is currently working on. The other classics include a few old Mercedes models such as the W123 and the W140. Über Werkstatt also specialises in performance upgrades for both cars and motorcycles.
About The Legendary E30 Generation
The E30 was initially introduced as a coupe format, in 1982. A year later, the sedan version came while convertible and wagon formats were debuted in 1985 and 1987, respectively. The E30 is also the first 3 Series to come with a diesel engine.
What's more! The very first BMW M3 and also one of the most iconic ‘M-car' in history was based on this chassis. The E30 BMW M3 has won several titles back in its time, in Touring, Rally and 24-Hour Championships. Enthusiasts and purists still see the E30 M3 as one of the purest forms of a driver's car.
The E30 chassis was a lightweight package which promised good driving feedback. The steering was so communicative and you could feel every detail of the road at your fingers. The car was also a rear-wheel-drive and offered lots of fun while driving. It was considered as an ideal platform for budding racers to hone their driving skills. As the then BMW slogan quoted, the BMW E30 was indeed an ‘Ultimate Driving Machine' in all body formats.
Globally, prices for E30 models (especially the M3) is on the rise in the used-car market. The primary reason for this is that people have started to realise what they're missing in today's cars.
The majority who praise for an all-electric automotive future will never understand why a certain minority worship such old machines. Of course, an internal combustion engine car will never be as eco-friendly as an EV. But how much does it matter? Still, a large proportion of electric power all over the world is generated from power plants that run on burnt coal.
Is it a wise choice to buy a 35-year old car instead of a reliable modern car? Probably not. But there will be a few people who would spend lots of time, money and energy, just to bring a rusty, forgotten piece of metal in running condition. Those people are termed as 'petrolheads'.
BMW 3 Series Generations Till Date
- First Gen (E21): 1975 - 1983
- Second Gen (E30): 1982 - 1994
- Third Gen (E36): 1990 - 2000
- Fourth Gen (E46): 1998 - 2006
- Fifth Gen (E90): 2004 - 2013
- Sixth Gen (F30): 2011 - present
- Seventh Gen (G20): Yet to be unveiled
(Writing by Abhinand Venugopal; Editing by Jobo Kuruvilla; Photography by Abijith Vilangil)