The Details

BMW E30 318iS




  • Mileage: 64,998
  • Year: 1990
  • MOT Expiry: 12 Months
  • Exterior Colour: Brilliant Red
  • Interior Colour: Anthracite 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.


Brilliant Red paintwork, Anthracite Uberkaro cloth, 15-inch BBS alloy wheels, Front and rear spoilers, Electric sunroof, M Sport steering wheel, M Sport gear knob, Electric aerial, Rear sun blind, Electric windows, Electrically adjustable door mirrors, Blaupunkt Boston cassette radio, On-board computer (OBC), Front fog lamps, Lockable glovebox, Cassette holders, BMW torch, BMW tool kit, Jack, Warning triangle, BMW first aid kit, Alloy spare wheel, Spare key.


This 318iS is presented in vibrant Brilliant Red, all of which boasts a deep, glossy shine with none of the common fading issues that so many red examples have. The panel gaps are spot-on and both sides of the car are arrow-straight. There are no signs of corrosion in any of the usual E30 weak spots such as the wheel arches or scuttle panel, the only real imperfections being a handful of light stone chips towards the front end. Looking closer, all the lights and black trims remain in fine fettle. All in all, a superb low mileage example that looks to have been garaged all its life.



At 32 years old, unlike most 318iS’ that have covered circa 150k miles, this stunning example reads just under 65k miles from new. The low mileage is particularly evident from the superb condition of its interior. The chequered cloth sports seats are absolutely first-rate throughout with no damage whatsoever 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 period-correct Blaupunkt head unit is in place along with some handy factory-fitment storage cases for all your favourite cassettes. In the boot you’ll find a pristine load area that’s still equipped with the BMW tool kit, first aid kit, warning triangle, jack, and alloy spare wheel beneath the carpet.


Lifting the bonnet reveals a well presented engine bay, not overly dressed but in excellent original condition with much of the factory yellow wax still clearly visible. The 1.8-litre M42 engine boasts DOHC, updated valve adjusters, and an admirable 136ps from the factory. This particular example remains in fine mechanical fettle having always been maintained to a high standard. Behind the wheel it’s a joy to drive, with everything still feeling tight and precise. The M42 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 carried out in July 2022 at 64,503 miles.


Sitting on the larger 15-inch BBS cross-spoke alloys, this 318iS has a purposeful stance. With the exception of a few light marks the wheels are in great condition, having previously been refurbished by Lepsons. They are wrapped in a matching set of Nankang tyres, all of which have plenty of tread left. The brakes have also been checked and remain in fine operational condition, bringing the car to a stop quickly and in a straight line.

History File

This 318iS was first registered in August 1990. The History File contains many invoices for parts and service work dating back to 1996 as well as an original Taylors BMW sales invoice dated February 1995, addressed to the second owner and totalling £8,045. The Blaupunkt Boston operations manual is also present along with a rare 318iS sales brochure containing all the factory options that were available with this model. The paperwork is complete with the BMW document pack and all owner’s manuals, the stamped service booklet, old MOT certificates, and the V5C showing 7 former keepers. 

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