The Details

BMW E30 318is




  • Mileage: 95,685
  • Year: 1990
  • MOT Expiry: June 2019
  • Exterior Colour: Diamond Black Metallic
  • Interior Colour: Anthracite Uberkaro Cloth
  • Top speed: 129
  • 0-60mph: 9.3
  • BHP: 134
  • Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
  • Engine Capacity: 1796cc
  • Engine Configuration: 4 In-line

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, hydraulic valve adjusters, and coil-on-plug ignition. 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.


Front air dam, Rear lip spoiler, M-Technic suspension, M-Technic leather steering wheel and gear knob, Sports seats, Electric tilt/slide sunroof, Electric windows, Electrically adjustable door mirrors, Power steering, ABS, BMW Bavaria cassette radio, Central locking, Thermally insulated glass, Analogue dash clock, Lockable glove compartment, BMW tool kit, Spare wheel and jack.


Sporting an understated rear spoiler and purposeful front valance the 318is looks magnificent in metallic Diamantschwarz. The bodywork presents to a good drivable standard with a number of small chips and minor blemishes visible on close inspection. Pleasingly there is no corrosion to the scuttle panel and the registration number can still be found etched onto the glass all round. This charming E30 is not quite a garage queen but certainly is one to be driven and enjoyed for many years to come.


The seats are upholstered in anthracite Uberkaro cloth that presents extremely well throughout. There are no rips or unsightly marks to speak of front or rear, and the driver’s bolster is showing no signs of heavy use. The dash is free from cracks and the original BMW cassette radio remains in place. The gear knob is a little worn but the steering is still looking fresh. Finer details such as the switchgear and console trim all appear in fine fettle, and the carpets are without any damage. In the boot you’ll find a complete BMW toolkit, spare wheel and jack.


Not to be confused with a standard 318i, the ‘is’ (Injection Sport) is equipped with BMW’s 16-valve M42 engine; the peppy four-pot produces 134hp – a significant increase over the 318i’s modest 111hp output.

The engine bay of this example appears nice and original, not immaculately presented but perfectly in keeping with a car of this vintage. Much of the original factory sealant is still present and there is no corrosion to be found in any of the usual E30 weak spots. The engine fires into life first turn of the key and idles up to temperature without fuss. The five speed Getrag ‘box is a perfect complement to the free-revving 1.8.


The 318 sits on 14-inch cross spoke alloys wrapped in Uniroyal tyres all round. The wheels are all in great shape with major no curb marking to report and the centre badges are without any major discolouration. The matching tyres have plenty of tread remaining and the brakes perform well on test.

History File

The E30 was first registered in October 1990. It was supplied new by Holland Park BMW and has seen just six keepers over the last 28 years. All the original handbooks are present in the BMW document pack and the service booklet is stamped up to the current mileage. The car will come freshly serviced for the new keeper’s piece of mind.

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