The BMW E30 was a compact executive car produced by BMW. It was the successor of the BMW E21 in 1982 and was replaced by the BMW E36 in 1990. BMW continued to produce the cabriolet (convertible) E30 well into 1993. The Touring remained in production until 1994 when the E36 touring replaced it. The M3 cabriolet was never officially offered for sale in North America; it was offered only for the European market.
The BMW M3 was first introduced on the E30 platform. A widened version of the E30 front suspension and the drivetrain from the E30 325i were used in the BMW Z1 roadster.
The E30 3-Series was produced in four body styles, a four door saloon, a two door saloon, a five door estate (marketed as the “touring”), and a two door convertible. A Baur cabrio was also available. The 325ix was produced from 1988 to 1991, and featured all-wheel drive. It was available as a two-door (coupé) or a four-door (sedan) and as touring. The BMW M3 utilized a widened and heavily redesigned and restyled variation of the 2 door body style. The M3 shares few parts with other E30 models, however many M3 parts can be used on the other body styles and are interchangeable offering the consumer an OEM “upgrade”. These parts consist of control arms, control arm bushings, steering racks, etc.
The primary distinctive feature of the BMW E30 models produced for the North American market in 1984-1987 are the elongated front/rear aluminum bumpers. These bumpers are commonly known as “diving boards.” In 1988, the anodized aluminum bumpers were shortened by revising the cover/fillers and shortening the shocks. In 1989 the aluminum bumpers were replaced with shorter body-color plastic bumpers.
The cars were powered by a range of inline 4 cylinder (BMW M10 , BMW M40 , & BMW M42) and inline 6 cylinder (BMW M20 and BMW M21) engines, with both petrol and diesel power. Torque output for the engines ranges from 140 N·m (100 lb·ft) torque for the 1.8 L (1766 cc) 4 cylinder engine, to 230 N·m (170 lb·ft) torque from the 2.7 L (2693 cc) 6 cylinder petrol engine. The E30 BMW M3 was fitted with a high-revving 4-cylinder engine (BMW S14) which produced 175 kW (238 PS; 235 hp) in its final European-only iteration.