22 January 2018

More than an old car #51: BMW E30 316i

Many of you will be familiar with the BMW brand, especially the most common 3-series sedans that your parents/friends may own. This 1989 BMW E30 316i is a throwback to the times when these subtle status symbols ruled our roads.

The BMW E30 is the name given to the second generation of the 3-Series models, which appeared in the market in 1982. The styling was developed by designer Claus Luthe, and it was externally similar to the twin-headlight version of the previous E21 series. The main differences was the interior and a revised suspension system.

Many variants of the E30 were made, and the 316i was one of them. The 316i replaced the earlier 316 model in terms of a more powerful engine. It was powered by a 1596cc (1.6 litre) M40 i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 182km/h with an acceleration of 12.1 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4325mm long and weighed 1065kg.

Production of the E30 series ended in 1994 with around 2.43 million made, but I cannot find any data as to how many 316i models were manufactured. This specimen has undergone a drastic change when I saw it back in 2015: it now sports a dark pink-purple paint with mismatched white fenders compared to the light blue paint back then. The tyres have also been sprayed black. The colour scheme may look weird, but I love this subtle incongruity.

I am aware of at least 20 that are still running strong--they are rare, but not very hard to find if you look hard enough. The cars that have lasted until now tend to be less likely to be scrapped, since owning a BMW is a labour of love in itself. Other models may not stand out as much as this one, but they are easily recognizable by its boxy look, reminiscent of 1980s cars. All the best in spotting one of these classic oldies!

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