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When the E21 3-series was introduced, the 320i -being the only fuel injected version- was the only engine that could meet the strict U.S. emission standards. A 3-way catalyst was fitted with Lambda control and a oxygen sensor.
But there were more modifications required before the E21 was allowed in the U.S. The most important things:
Lights: sealed beam headlights, larger front indicators, side indicators, side reflectors
The federalized big bumpers
Dash: mph speedometer, fuel gauge not showing litres but: full, ½, reserve.
When the European E21’s were facelifted in 1979, the U.S. 320i was renewed as well. BMW stopped production of the 2 litre M10 engine en they decided to sell the Euro 318i as the new 320i. The smaller displacement and U.S. restrictions made the new version considerably less powerful but the lightened facelift chassis made up for at least part of the loss.
Due to a different climate, many air conditioned E21’s were sold in the U.S. Over here in Europe E21’s with A/C are rare! The comfortable and reliable optional ZF 3-speed auto box was popular as well. Strangely, power steering wasn’t!
I believe the 320i models sold in Australia and the U.K. were practically the same. Only thing is that they were converted to RHD which required relocation of the brake master cylinder.
In 1981 the sporty 320iS was introduced. The same 1.8 litre engine, but with the following extra’s for the ‘demanding driver’:
Front air dam
5,5×13” special cross spoke light alloy rims
Sports suspension with increased diameter front stabilizer bar and the addition of a rear stabilizer bar
Limited slip differential (25%)
Dual operation manual sunroof
Recaro sports seats
Leather sport steering wheel and leather gear shift knob
Deluxe tool kit
AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Contains photos, specifications, maintenance, history, and performance top
BMW E21 is the body designation for the first BMW 3 Series compact executive car, produced by the German automaker BMW from 1975 to 1983. This series was the immediate successor to the BMW 2002 and was superseded by the BMW E30.
The BMW E30
The BMW E30 is a compact executive car with rear-wheel-drive layout (except the all-wheel-drive 325iX) produced by BMW.
The BMW E30 is a compact executive car with rear-wheel-drive layout (except the all-wheel-drive 325iX) produced by BMW. The BMW M3 was first introduced on the E30 platform.
The E30 was released in 1982 and replaced by the BMW E36 in 1990. BMW continued to produce the cabriolet (convertible) E30 well into 1993 and the touring until 1994. The cars were powered by a range of inline 4-cylinder and inline 6-cylinder petrol-powered engines (except for the diesel 324d and 324td models).
The E30 BMW M3 was fitted with a high-revving 4-cylinder petrol engine (BMW S14) which produced 175 kW (238 PS; 235 hp) in its final European-only iteration.
BMW E36 3 Series
The E36 3 series was introduced at the end of 1990. It was available as 4 door sedan. There were four models available: 316i, 318i, 320i, and 325i. The six cylinder models all had a new 24 valve engine from the E34 5 series. The four cylinder models had the M40 engine from the E30 3 series. In 1991 the 325td came available. It had a six cylinder diesel engine with 115 HP. In 1992 the new coupe was introduced. It was available as 318is, 320i and 325i. The 318is had the same 16 valve engine as the E30 318is but now had 140 HP. In 1993 the 325tds and the 325i convertible came available.
The 325tds was almost the same as the 325td but now had an intercooler. The old M40 four cylinder engines were replaced with the new M43 four cylinders. In 1994 the 318i and 320i convertible came available. In that same year the new compact was introduced. First it was only available as 316i but a 318ti soon followed. The 328i replaced the 325i and a four cylinder diesel was introduced: the 318tds. In 1995 the 318tds compact came available and the grille received a small facelift.
The 3 series touring was also introduced. It was available as 318i, 320i, 328i, 318tds and 325tds. In 1996 the 323i came available. It was available as sedan, coupe and touring. Also new was the 318is sedan. It had a new 16 valve four cylinder with 140 HP. In 1997 the 323ti compact was available. This little devil had a six cylinder with 170 HP. In 1998 the new 3 series was introduced so the 3 series sedan went out of production. The coupe and touring were available until 1999. The convertible went out of production in 2000, the compact went out of production one year later, in 2001.
BMW E46 3 Series
The fourth generation of 3 series was introduced in 1998 as E46 3 series. A complete new design with a nice looking interior and some updated engines. The higher price of the new 3 series did not matter, it sold well from the start. There were five models available: 318i, 320i, 323i, 328i and the 320d diesel. All were six cylinders except the 318i and the 320d diesel which were 4 cylinders. Only one year after introduction of the sedan, BMW introduced the new coupe and the new touring. All were available with the same engines as the sedan although the coupe did not have 4 cylinders.
This means it was only available as 320Ci, 323Ci and 328Ci. BMW also introduced a new 4 cylinder engine for the sedan. This was the 316i with 105 HP but maybe more important was the arrival of the new six cylinder diesel, the 330d. It had 184 HP and a top speed of 230 km/h! Before summer 2000 started, BMW had their new convertible ready. First available as 323Ci only since BMW was about to replace the 2.8 engine with a new 231 HP strong 3.0 engine!
This engine replaced all 2.8 engines so all models received it. With this new engine, BMW decided it was time to introduce four wheel drive again. The last four wheel drive 3 series was available in 1991 as 325ix in the E30 3 series. Named 330xi, it was only available as sedan or touring. BMW must have thought it would sell more four wheel drive cars as a 325xi and a 330xd diesel followed soon. But before this happened, BMW replaced the 323i with the 325i, which had 193 HP. The same engine would also be used in the compact, which was introduced in 2001.
This new baby BMW was not like any other 3 series but had a whole new look! It had double, round head lights and clear rear lights which looked a bit strange. The interior, however, was just like any other 3 series and it also received the same engines as the sedan had. The news did not last long as BMW decided the sedan and touring needed a face lift. Both front and rear received new lights and bumpers while the interior received a new navigation unit. More important were the engine updates: the 318i received the new valvetronic engine and the 320d diesel now had common rail. BMW also introduced a 318d diesel.