The Details

BMW E30 318iS Baur Cabriolet




  • Mileage: 85,258
  • Year: 1990
  • MOT Expiry: 12 Months
  • Exterior Colour: Brilliant Red
  • Interior Colour: Silver Uberkaro Cloth
  • Top speed: 129
  • 0-60mph: 9.3
  • BHP: 134
  • Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
  • Engine Capacity: 1796cc
  • Engine Configuration: Inline 4

Model History

Brought to the market as an entry-level luxury car, the E30 3-Series spanned twelve years of production. It replaced the E21 chassis in 1982 and was succeeded by the E36 in 1990, although production did overlap by four years.

Early models featured the four-pot M10 and straight-six M20 engines of the E21. The major update for the E30 took place in 1987 where the M20 engine was fitted with Bosch Motronic injection and the M10 was replaced with the M40 engine, again utilising Motronic. The chrome bumpers were also replaced with black or coloured ones in late ’89, with the rear light clusters made slightly bigger during this minor facelift. E30s are now often referred to as either pre-facelift (with chrome bumpers) or facelift (with plastic bumpers).

Despite its solid construction the E30 boasted a spacious cabin and a light curb weight. This was due to the suspension design that utilised Macpherson front struts and rear semi-trailing arms. It was also the first three series to receive a service light indicator and warning light.

Available only in manual coupé form, the 318is was released in 1989 with BMW’s brand new M42 engine. This was the most modern engine available in the E30 range, which incorporated DOHC, the updated Bosch Motronic 1.3, and hydraulic valve adjusters. The ‘is’ (Injection Sport) also boasted firmer M-Technic suspension that meant stiffer springs, firmer Boge shocks, and anti-roll bars measuring 20mm at the front and 12mm at the rear. A sportier aesthetic was achieved with the addition of a front air dam and rear boot lip. To keep costs down the list of available options was minimised but cars could be spec’d with a sunroof, limited-slip diff, front fog lamps, anti-theft equipment, 15-inch alloys, and metallic paint.

When the E30 was originally launched in 1982 BMW had no immediate plans to offer a convertible, although they knew there was a demand for a soft top. So, in co-operation with Karosserie Baur, they offered a roof conversion as an optional extra, which saw the main roof skin and rear window removed and replaced with a folding canvas roof. This was a design that had seen success on the earlier E21 where it was known as a “Top Cabriolet” or TC; the Baur E30 is known as the TC2.

Despite the introduction of the official E30 convertible in 1987, BMW's long history with Baur meant that the TC2 conversion was still available as an option for coupe models for the entirety of production, finishing in 1991. They were very expensive specific orders when made. The example featured here is one of the last RHD Baur versions available, and when you combine this with an E30 318iS, you get one of only 28 right-hand drive units of the 318iS ever commissioned in the UK.


Brilliant Red paintwork, Silver Uberkaro cloth, 15-inch BBS alloy wheels, Baur Top Cabriolet removable roof panel and folding rear hood, Vinyl tonneau cover, Front and rear spoilers, M Sport steering wheel, M Sport gear knob, Electric windows, Electrically adjustable door mirrors, Blaupunkt Bremen SQR 46 radio with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, Analogue clock, Lockable glovebox, BMW tool kit, Jack, Warning triangle, BMW first aid kit, Alloy spare wheel, Remote central locking.


This Brilliant Red 318iS Baur ‘Top Cabriolet’ presents to an excellent standard all around. Having just been treated to a full detail and machine polish on arrival with us the paintwork retains a great depth of shine with a deep and uniform colour throughout. Looking closer the panel gaps are spot-on, the black plastic trims are unfaded, and there are no signs of corrosion in any of the usual E30 weak spots such as the wheel arches or scuttle panel. In line with the mileage there are a few small chips and carefully touched-in marks but nothing to detract from the car’s overall highly impressive appearance. The special Baur cabriolet roof is also in excellent condition with no wear to either the removable centre panel, roll bar, or folding rear section.



At 32 years old, unlike most 318iS’ that have covered circa 150k miles, this stunning example has just 85k miles under its belt. The low mileage is particularly evident from the superb condition of its interior. The chequered cloth sports seats are first-rate throughout with no damage to the bolsters or bases. There are no cracks to be found on the dashboard and the switchgear still feels reassuringly solid to operate. A desirable Blaupunkt Bremen head unit has recently been fitted giving both USB and Bluetooth connectivity but with all the period styling of an original 80s tape deck. In the boot you’ll find a pristine load area that’s still equipped with the BMW tool kit, first aid kit, warning triangle, spare wheel, and handy storage shelf for the roof panel.


Lifting the bonnet reveals a well presented engine bay, not overly dressed but in excellent unrestored condition with no signs of any damage or previous poor repair. The 1.8-litre M42 engine boasts DOHC, updated valve adjusters, and an admirable 136ps from the factory. The engine is as zingy and free-revving as its reputation suggests, and the 5-speed manual gearbox makes for an engaging and thrilling drive. The last service was an Inspection II carried out by marque specialist Munich Legends in March 2021 at 80,319 miles.


Sitting on the larger 15-inch BBS cross-spoke alloys, this 318iS has a purposeful stance. All the wheels are in perfect unmarked condition having previously been refurbished to a very high standard. They are wrapped in a matching set of recently fitted Goodyear tyres. The brakes have also been checked and remain in fine operational condition, bringing the car to a stop swiftly and in a straight line.

History File

First registered in August 1990 this rare Baur convertible was supplied new by Richard Cound BMW Centre in Gloucester. It has now driven just 85k miles in the hands of 6 registered keepers. According to BMW, only 28 318iS’ were ordered from Baur, making this particular E30 a very rare car indeed. The 318iS was only ever available from BMW in coupe form, and so if you wanted one as a convertible then an official conversion by Karrosserie Baur in Stuttgart was your only choice – for a princely sum of course.

This E30 is accompanied by a great maintenance record with 17 stamps in the original service booklet, the last being an Inspection II by Munich Legends at 80,319 miles. Prior to this in 2020 a significant amount of work was carried out on the car – totalling in excess of £15,000! – to bring it up to the excellent cosmetic and mechanical standard in which it now presents. The History File comprises a raft of invoices, MOT certificates, the original BMW document wallet, and all owner's manuals.The maintenance book documents a speedo head change at 7,926 miles and so the service record below has been adjusted accordingly.

15/07/1991 at 6,722 miles
08/07/1992 at 11,866 miles
21/10/1992 at 14,030 miles
01/12/1993 at 20,653 miles
25/04/1995 at 26,198 miles
24/07/1996 at 31,897 miles
21/09/2001 at 40,813 miles
21/01/2003 at 41,213 miles
19/09/2005 at 52,396 miles
04/12/2006 at 54,430 miles
10/02/2011 at 59,967 miles
05/05/2013 at 73,276 miles
01/07/2014 at 76,026 miles
16/03/2016 at 78,022 miles
10/05/2018 at 78,574 miles
23/04/2019 at 79,190 miles
09/03/2021 at 80,319 miles

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