BMW 3 Series, a Brief History – Ideal Engines


The German car company BMW first started producing the 3 series model in 1975, the first generation of this model line ran until 1983. The 3 series was first introduced as a two door and was marked as the E21 body style. In 1977 BMW released new variants of the E21, featuring a new 2 litre version of their M20 engine. On the high end of the scale was the 318i which came standard with four wheel disc brakes.

The second generation of the 3 series was introduced in 1982 and ran until 1994.the addition of a six cylinder engine and a four door body style filled a spot in the market place that many were willing to pay for. This body style was noted as the E30 and was priced at nearly double the cost of the E21 from seven years earlier. The E30 was the most powerful compact car BMW offered at the time and still met with the strict emissions standards of the day. The most powerful E30 was introduced in 1989 and was called the M3, this version came with a four cylinder engine with a bosch fuel injection set up on it and was earmarked to be one of BMW’s best selling performance vehicles.

The third generation of the 3 series was released in 1990 and ran until 2000. This version was known as the E36 and was marketed as a entry level luxury vehicle. The E36 was hugely successful in the market and laid strong groundwork for the future success for later models. The E36 range was released in three door hatch back, four door coupe and compact variants. The E36 compact was identical to other E36 models from the front bumper to the A pillar, everything else on it was unique. The rear suspension was reworked using the older E30 as a basis instead of newer models Z axle configuration.

The fourth generation of the 3 series came out in 1998 and ran until 2005, this variant was known as the E46, still targeted as an entry level luxury vehicle BMW had amassed a large following of dedicated buyers because of the success of the E36 model. The options for this model were widely varied from exterior colors, choice of tyre and rim combinations and choice of engine and gearbox combinations made this a vehicle you could basically have built to suit your needs or wants. The E46 was also available as an M3 in coupe and convertible versions which came with either a six speed or an SMG gearbox, wider fenders “m” styled bumpers, a protruding hood, spoiler, quad exhaust tips and M marked grills on the front.

The fifth generation of the 3 series was introduced in 2005 and is still in production presently. It was initially released as a saloon (E90) and as a touring (E91) then later the addition of a coupe (E92) and convertible (E93). This generation was totally redesigned from the E46 version. There are twelve different engine options for the fifth generation vehicles and as standard all models come equipped with HID Xenon headlamps, active steering and active cruise control.

The 3 series has long been a flagship of BMW with global sales making up approximately fourty percent of all of BMW’s income. It will be exciting to see what is offered in the next generation of the 3 series.

Wayne Adams is an expert in BMW 3 Series Engine. If you are interested in learning more about quality BMW 3 Series Engines, please contact us by visiting our main site: Japanese Engines or by calling us at 442085960396