The Details

BMW E30 318iS




  • Mileage: 76,166
  • Year: 1990
  • MOT Expiry: April 2023
  • 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: M42 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, 5-speed manual transmission, 15-inch BBS alloy wheels, Rear lip spoiler, ‘is’ front air dam, Original Pioneer DEH-700 CD player, Electric sunroof, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Front fog lights, M-sport steering wheel and gear knob, Original carpet mats, BMW tool kit, BMW torch, Spare wheel, Spare key.


Immaculately presented in gleaming Brilliantrot, this fantastic 318is strikes a handsome pose against our studio backdrop. The paintwork boasts a deep glossy shine all round with none of the common fading issues that so many red cars of this era can suffer from. Looking closer there are no signs of corrosion in any of the usual E30 weak spots, the panel gaps are spot-on, and both sides of the car remain arrow-straight. The ‘is’ front lip and colour-coded rear spoiler are also in superb condition with no damage to report. This surely unrepeatable example has seen only 2 keepers from new, both fastidious individuals who have undoubtedly cherished the car during their ownership.



At 32 years old, unlike most 318is’ that have covered circa 150k miles, this stunning E30 reads just 76k miles from new. The low mileage is particularly evident from the superb condition of the interior. The chequered Uberkaro cloth sports seats are absolutely first-rate with no damage whatsoever to either of the bolsters or bases. There are no cracks to be found on the dashboard and all the switchgear still feels reassuringly solid to operate. The original dealer-specified Pioneer CD player (a £575 option at the time) remains in place along with some handy storage cases for all your favourite cassettes. Other factory options include the electric sunroof, interior mats, and front fog lights.


At the heart of this desirable E30 coupe is the 1.8-litre M42 engine boasting DOHC, updated valve adjusters and a healthy 136hp from the factory. This particular example is in fine mechanical fettle and reading through the history file it’s clear that it’s always been maintained to a high standard. Despite the low mileage of 76,166 there are 15 service stamps in the original maintenance book (not including Annual Checks), the last service having been carried out in April 2021 at 76,051 miles. More recently the car has visited Harry Fairbain BMW where it was treated to an eye-watering £6k spend by the current owner.

Behind the wheel it’s a real 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.


Sitting on the larger 15-inch BBS cross-spoke alloys, this 318is has a purposeful stance. Each of the wheels present in perfect unmarked condition having been fitted brand new at BMW in May last year; they are shod in a matching set of Yokohama that were fitted at the same time. Out on the road the brakes perform well, bringing the car to a halt quickly and in straight line.

History File

First registered in August 1990 this attractive 318is has now driven just 76k miles from new; it was originally supplied by Carrs BMW in Bury St. Edmunds. Within the accompanying History File the new owner will be presented with an immaculate and complete BMW document pack, the original maintenance booklet, spare key, some nice period E30 literature, a thick stack of invoices, and every single MOT certificate since new; amazingly even the original bill of sale is still present. The service booklet is stamped with the following entries.

02/10/1990 at 1,314 miles – Carrs BMW
20/02/1991 at 6,627 miles – Carrs BMW
30/09/1991 at 11,942 miles – Carrs BMW
29/12/1992 at 18,750 miles – Carrs BMW
31/01/1994 at 25,947 miles – Hunters BMW
25/03/1996 at 39,921 miles – Hunters BMW
05/12/1996 at 47,232 miles – Hunters BMW
04/02/1998 at 54,131 miles – Cooper BMW
23/09/2000 at 61,216 miles – Cooper BMW
09/12/2004 at 68,932 miles – Independent
16/02/2007 at 70,212 miles – Lind BMW
14/03/2008 at 71,484 miles – Cooper BMW
20/06/2012 at 73,754 miles – Specialist
11/04/2016 at 74,371 miles – Specialist
23/04/2021 at 76,051 miles – KGF Classic Cars

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