Regular Car Reviews: 1991 BMW E30 318i



The BMW E30 is the prerequisite to “being a car guy” even more than the Mazda Miata MX5.

The M42 engine was not put into E30 sedans until 1991, although it did exist in E30 318is coupes. It was in every E36, so in a lot of ways my E30 is sort of unique.

This car is one of the few E30s to not have a sunroof. The point is most people weren’t as cheap as the original owner who bought this car in 1991. In fact, This E30 only has one optional extra: a digital clock/temp gauge. That might have been standard in 1991. I’m not sure but it wasn’t at the start of the E30. It is the cheapest E30 you could buy in 1991. The fact that it doesn’t have a sunroof is sort of a subculture thing; I’ve heard them referred to as “slick tops”.

This E30 is untouched in terms of performance; as slow as BMW wanted it to be. Lots of E30s are slammed or track-day focused, but mine is stock as a rock. Still great to drive.

Ask any E30 owner, maintenance is expensive and sucks. In a lot of ways, owning an E30 is like dating a super-expensive high-maintenance MILF who cheats on you and sometimes abuses you, but whom you live anyway.

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