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  • 1985 BMW 325i E30

    Newest and fastest model in BMW's successful 3-Series E30, the 1985 BMW 325i E30 produces sparkling performance from a gem of an engine. If you're looking for the prime mover in BMW's spiralling success, look no further than its 3-Series E30 range. Since the range was facelifted and updated in October 1982 it has gone on to become the most successful in the history of the Bavarian car maker, total production to June 1983 cresting the 670,000 mark, making the 3-Series E30 the third most-produced German car on the basis of daily production after the VW Golf and the Opel Kadett. Earlier this year it also became BMW's widest range, the introduction of four-wheel drive, cabrio, diesel and high-performance M3 versions swelling the ranks of BMW's smallest car by around 100 per cent. The newcomer of immediate interest to the UK, however, is the 325i, the car that replaces the most exciting of the existing models, the E30 323i, and arrives in BMW's showrooms next week. The 325i we test here is a four-door with a manual five-speed gearbox, at £11,920, but the car is available with the two-door body style (£11,495) and the much-acclaimed four-speed ZF 4HP automatic gearbox (£986 extra). According to BMW, the 325i is 8 mph faster and 0.7 sec more accelerative from rest to 60 mph than the E30 323i it supersedes, which means 135 mph and 0-60 mph in 8.0 sec. The credit for this goes to its new 2.5-litre inline "six" which develops 14 per cent more power and nine per cent more torque than the 323i's 2.3-litre unit. To cope with the extra power, the 325i gets lowered suspension (by 5 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear), gas-filled dampers and revised geometry for the rear semi-trailing arms, changes which, according to BMW's engineers, improve ride comfort without sacrificing cornering power. Spring rates and anti-roll bar diameters remain the same. Complementing the changes, the 325i's 195/60 VR 14 Pirellis have been replaced by 190/65 VR 14 Michelin MXVs, the non-assisted steering now features a variable ratio rack (power assistance remains a £457 option) and the battery has been relocated to the boot to improve weight distribution. The big interest, however, is under the bonnet. The new 2494 cc engine is based on the block of the economy-concept 2.7-litre eta unit and capped by a new cylinder head with large intake and outlet tracts and valves, a new combustion chamber, double valve springs and a modified radiator system. Of equal significance is the switch from mechanical fuel injection to Bosch ME-Motronic, which constantly monitors parameters such as engine temperature, engine speed and throttle opening to determine both the quantity of fuel to be injected and the ignition timing. An oil cooler is fitted to avoid overheating when the engine is running at maximum output. That now stands at 171 bhp at 5800 rpm and 167 Ib ft of torque at 4000 rpm. For the basic price of £11,920, the 325i is a basic car. Our test car had central locking (£216), an electrically-powered sunroof (£558), a limited slip differential (£312), power steering (£457) and alloy wheels (£492), all of which pushed its price up to a few pounds short of £14,000. The luxury of electrically-powered windows would have increased that by an additional £579. A lot of pressure is put on the prestige of the BMW badge when you consider that cars like the Alfa-Romeo 90 (£11,095), MG Montego Turbo (£10,598), Ford Sierra XR4x4 (£11,914), Mercedes 190E (£12,135) and Mitsubishi Galant Turbo (£11,449) all offer more equipment and space than the 325i. Image, performance and build quality, however, still count for an awful lot. You would expect the 325i to be fast, and it is. The temporary closure of Millbrook's high-speed bowl denied us the opportunity to verify BMW's 135 mph top speed claim but we know from experience that its engineering department isn't given to wild exag ...

  • 1987 BMW 318i E30

    Road test BMW 318i E30. There are all sorts of detail changes to the new 3-Series E30 but the heart of the 318i is a new four-cylinder engine. Capable handling, extremely comfortable interior and superb build quality now add up to a package that’s hard to beat. A BMW doesn’t feel quite right without a full set of options. Or perhaps Autocar has been spoiled by the extras normally fitted to UK BMWs. Whatever the reason, a basic 318i on the German launch felt unremarkable, even though the engine was very good indeed. After a week with a fully-equipped UK example, we were much more impressed. There are all sorts of detail changes to the new 3-Series BMWs, but the heart of the 318i is a new four-cylinder engine. With 115bhp instead of 105 and more torque throughout the range.it gives the BMW an extra 8mph at the top end and knocks a second and a half off the 0-60mph time.   In truth, the M10 four-cylinder engine was overdue for replacement, its origins dating back to the ’60s although it still forms the basis for the M3 E30 and BMW’s F1 engines. At 84 mm x 81 mm bore and  stroke the M40 is less oversquare (the 318i engine was 89 mm x 71 mm) allowing the bore centres to be closer together. PRICE £77,095 TOP SPEED 115mph 0-60mph 9.3secs MPG 27.4 FOR Performance, ergonomics, build quality AGAINST Steering The 84mm bore is the same as the M70 V12 engine in the 750i E32 so the 318i shares its cylinder head design. Combustion chamber shape, the 14 degree valve included angle and spark plug position in the aluminium alloy head are identical, although the exhaust valves are 1mm larger in the 318. Both engines share belt-driven overhead camshafts with rocker arm valve actuation via hydraulic tappets. Long conrods allowed BMW to use short skirt, lightweight pistons, with the combustion chamber partially in-crown.' Bosch’s Motronic engine management system has replaced the L-Jetronic fuel injection on the old E30 318i, again similar to the 7-Series E32 system and operating the fuel injectors in pairs rather than together. To cut fuel consumption during warm-up, the new engine uses less coolant: BMW claims a 15 per cent reduction in fuel used while the engine is reaching running temperature. The new engines also need much less maintenance — which will be welcomed by anyone familiar with BMW service bills — since the valve clearances, ignition and fuel injection systems are now maintenance-free. All this careful design has produced a 1795cc engine developing 115bhp at 5500rpm, compared with 105bhp at 5800rpm for the old unit. Its compression ratio of 8.8 to 1 allows it to run on unleaded or regular fuel, and torque is up from 107lb ft at 4500rpm to 122lb ft at 4250rpm. This might sound like the recipe for a peaky engine, but in fact 90 per cent of peak torque is available all the way from 2200rpm to 5500rpm. Brake cooling ducts are incorporated in new frontspoiler Apart from the M40 engine, the 318i gets the same detail improvements as the rest of the 3-Series: impact absorbing bumpers, a new front spoiler with brake cooling ducts and a new rear spoiler tidy up the exterior, together with larger rear light clusters and a good deal less chrome trim. A variable ratio rack is fitted to lessen steering effort on full lock, and the 318i gets larger section 195/65 HR 14 tyres. Dipped beam lamps now use the ellipsoid technology pioneered on the 7-Series E32. Inside a cassette rack and new cloth trim are the only changes. The UK 318i has green tinted glass, central locking and electric mirrors as standard. BMW’s five-speed gearbox has the same internal ratios as before, but the final drive ratio has been raised from 3.64:1 to 4.1:1. Together with the improved power and torque of the M40 engine, this has transformed the performance of the 318i. The 115mph top speed is achieved in fifth with the engine spinning over ...

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