Throttle-Back Thursday: This BMW 318i review was our first brush with the storied E30

Throttle-Back Thursday: This BMW 318i review was our first brush with the storied E30


The BMW E30 familiy kicked off with this 318i.

Introduced in late 1982, the E30 BMW 3-Series has become something of a cult favorite; these days, clean examples of its M3 variant are known to bring silly money. But that particular car was still a few years off when we ran a review of the comparatively humble BMW 318i as the cover story of the June 27, 1983, issue of Autoweek.

What’s really interesting about our 318i coverage is not so much the on-road impressions (though we deemed the car worthy of BMW’s famous “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline). We also spent plenty of ink examining the shift in strategy that the E30 represented. It’s a conversation that, as BMW has shifted away from manual transmission-equipped small sedans and toward crossovers and — gasp — front-wheel-drive platforms, feels strangely familiar today.

The E21 3-Series this car replaced had its share of American-market fans — and those fans were disproportionately well-educated and wealthy, we noted. But some of the quirks that made it a well-respected driver’s car, such as its decidedly simple interior, prevented BMW from cracking into the luxury mainstream.

And so the E30 went upmarket, got more comfortable, more luxurious, less pure. Or so it must have seemed at the time.

Yet even back in 1983, we recognized the value of appealing to an audience broader than hardcore enthusiasts — and decided that BMW had gone about doing that in a way that still made for an excellent rear-wheel-drive machine. Time, and the rising value of E30s, has apparently affirmed that assessment.

Will we be saying the same thing about the X7 three-plus decades hence? Eh, it’s hard to imagine. But stranger things have happened.

Source: Read Full Article