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General BMW Model Discussion
All non E46 BMW model questions in here. Look below for E36, E90 and F30 specific forum. For additional model specific forums check out bimmerfest.com!

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Old 08-29-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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Late 80's BMW? Reliable? (e30)

I'm hearing e30 BMW's are damn reliable. I'm looking for a daily better I can bring to college. I won't mind if it gets a little dinged but I still want to ride in style. Right now it's a toss up between an e30 (sedan or coupe), 5 spd, or a late 80's camaro, 5 spd. I think the camero would be more 'metal' and maybe a little more fun. I'm a metal head so please excuse me.

When it comes down to it, I just want a reliable car that isn't too bad on gas, doesn't leak when it rains, has cold AC and something I can still have fun in.

So what do you think?
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:01 PM   #2
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Then don't get an 80's Camaro..
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:00 PM   #3
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Then don't get an 80's Camaro..
Reasons why?
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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Bimmer....without a doubt. I've had 2 E30's and they were great. You will probably have to put a little money into either car, just because of their age, but the BMW is the better choice IMO. Oh, and a well sorted E30 325 is a quick little car and can hold it's own against the "pony" cars of that era, so don't dismiss the fun factor of the BMW either. And, compared to the Camaro, a 325 will get better gas mileage by a long shot .
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:51 PM   #5
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Bimmer....without a doubt. I've had 2 E30's and they were great. You will probably have to put a little money into either car, just because of their age, but the BMW is the better choice IMO. Oh, and a well sorted E30 325 is a quick little car and can hold it's own against the "pony" cars of that era, so don't dismiss the fun factor of the BMW either. And, compared to the Camaro, a 325 will get better gas mileage by a long shot .
Yeah, I keep forgetting that aspect. Though a small block v8 sounds amazing

A BMW blairing metal just seems so..

Oh well, I think the sedans look better then the coupes. Anything I should look for?
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Old 08-30-2006, 06:51 PM   #6
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Yeah, I keep forgetting that aspect. Though a small block v8 sounds amazing

A BMW blairing metal just seems so..

Oh well, I think the sedans look better then the coupes. Anything I should look for?
If you like to drive even half as much as I do, then you wont have anywhere near as much fun in an 80's Camaro over an E30. Their some of the best handling cars of their time.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:28 AM   #7
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Ah those darn mullet-machines, lol

Seriously, I've owned 2 E30's ('85 318i, '88 325is). I still feel these are some of the best built cars BMW ever made. All of my E30's had well over 240K miles, and still pulling strong. I loved them!! Easier to work on, and in my opinion, more fun to drive than my E46. I'll certainly be getting another one someday soon.
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:27 PM   #8
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If you like to drive even half as much as I do, then you wont have anywhere near as much fun in an 80's Camaro over an E30. Their some of the best handling cars of their time.
But how reliable will they be? If you drive a BMW hard they tend to break easily (wear and tear parts) but from experience you can beat a toyota or honda much longer before anything fails (generally speaking)

I'll be a poor college kid again here soon so I'm going to have to make a choice soon.
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:28 PM   #9
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Ah those darn mullet-machines, lol

Seriously, I've owned 2 E30's ('85 318i, '88 325is). I still feel these are some of the best built cars BMW ever made. All of my E30's had well over 240K miles, and still pulling strong. I loved them!! Easier to work on, and in my opinion, more fun to drive than my E46. I'll certainly be getting another one someday soon.
More fun? Really? If I can have a car that's more fun to drive and more reliable then my e46, I will be super happy.

How many horses is an e30 325i making?
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:30 PM   #10
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:37 PM   #11
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E30 M3
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:22 PM   #12
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More fun? Really? If I can have a car that's more fun to drive and more reliable then my e46, I will be super happy.

How many horses is an e30 325i making?
The 325is made 167hp at around 5300rpm, and 164hp lb/ft near 4300rpm. The M20B25 engine is a strong runner, but not a lot of tuning capabilities. About 240hp can be had before risk of breaking the cam belts. BMW states the transmission can only handle 240hp, but I know some that have bolted S50's to their E30 5-speed with no issues. Where the 325is shines (more than my 328i in my opinion) is on the twisties. It's rawness is incredible in the turns, and gotta love the 3.71:1 ratio! Swaps to the E30 M3's 4.10 make it a real handful to deal with.
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Old 09-04-2006, 12:31 AM   #13
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But how reliable will they be? If you drive a BMW hard they tend to break easily (wear and tear parts) but from experience you can beat a toyota or honda much longer before anything fails (generally speaking)

I'll be a poor college kid again here soon so I'm going to have to make a choice soon.
Actually (when compared to newer models), E30's have a stellar reputation as being very loyal and reliable cars. (E30 M3's are a different story however). With the relative simplicity of the E30 3er's inline-4, maintence is gonna be a big break from the consistent problems you are used to having to deal with on your E46. Parts for E30's are also more simple, cost less, and arent TOO hard to find. Just make sure you find one thats been kept reasonably well for its age and dont cheap out on MAINTENANCE. If you put a little bit of money into it from the beginning to fix the little kinks and rattles here and there then you will find yourself with a very solid and dignified car.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:09 PM   #14
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With the relative simplicity of the E30 3er's inline-4, maintence is gonna be a big break from the consistent problems you are used to having to deal with on your e46.
Uhmmm....only if you buy a 318. Do avoid the early 318s, but the last 318is is a fun little car. The other's are 6 cylinder. Do avoid the eta engine (325e).

They are relatively reliable. Power steering pumps/racks tend to need attention. There are ocassional electrical niggles (window switches seem prone to failuer, things like that).

I have an e46 now and, though it has a more sophiticated suspension design, I had a lot of fun in the e30. I think some of it was the size - a lot of punch in a pretty small car - and the tossable direct nature of the controls.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:06 PM   #15
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I've owned an E30 for years before getting my STi, and man, that car was great. great tq from the baby-6 motor, and handling was great. a few mods like the IE stage 3 springs, koni adjustables, sways, intake, and chip... and you're good to go.

if you get an E30, a 87+ 325is is definetly the way to go, or an 89+ 318 with the DOHC M42 motor (sibling to the E30M3's S14...

an e30m3 will cost you 15k+ no matter what price you find it for since anyhting under that will need a lot of care to bring it up to par.

E30's are relatively easy to work on, and if maintnance is kept up, pretty reliable. my ol '87 325e was chipped and auto-x'd on a regular basis, and it was running on the original motor, no rebuild, with about 300k miles on it. original powertrain too, granted it was running full synthetics (amsoil and redline) talk about reliability...
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