BMW 3 Series (E21)

BMW 316 (1975-1979)

With the factory code BMW E21 vehicles of the first 3 series of BMW are known, which came out in August 1975 as a successor to the 02 models on the market. The only two doors available E21 was available with four-cylinder (M10 ) and from 1977 also with six-cylinder in-line engine ( M20) and was built by December 1983.

In December 1982, the successor of E30, which was offered with four doors, as a combination (touring ), full convertible and diesel appeared.

A total of 1,364,039 copies of all engine types emerged, which were converted to 4595 Baur Topcabriolets, which were offered 1977-1982 with all engine variants of the BMW dealer organization.

Model history

The first models of the E21 have been delivered without the black plastic panel between the taillights. In response to customer protests over the barren stern look ( its predecessor was still the indicator mounted between the lights ) then flowed but shortly after production start-up in August 1975 the ribbed rear panel in the series and gave the rear so a contemporary look.

The vehicles with the "small" four-cylinder engines (315, 316, 318 and 318i ) also differ visually from the variants 320, 320i and 323i. Thus, the smaller types have large single round headlights are equipped depending on the model version and model year partly with R2 - dual filament lamps or H4 halogen lamps. The six-cylinder models are equipped with two slightly smaller round headlights and a name plate on the radiator grille. The BMW 323i with the K - Jetronic fuel injection system is fitted as the only version with two tailpipes, one on the left and one is located on the right rear of the vehicle of those. The "i " after the number combination stand for "injection ", ie injection - Models without "i" were equipped with carburetors.

Up to and including model year 1980 there was the BMW E21 only one interior trim variant. From model year 1981, the various engine types differ in several details of the Interior: From model year 1981, the six-cylinder models higher quality upholstery fabrics and elaborate door panels, the equipment features of the 315 was received, however, reduced (for example, elimination of the 1977 standard in all other models, map pockets in front). All models from BMW 320 have a standard tachometer.

In September 1978, the black base fell away under the chrome nameplate. The still taken from the BMW 02 front seats were ( among other things buckles attached to the seat frame ) replaced by new designs. The exhaust of the models 316-320 was moved further away from Mark to the location of the left - 323i exhaust.

BMW 323i Baur Convertible ( 1978-1979 )

The six-cylinder differed visually from the smaller four-cylinder models with the twin headlights.


As part of a facelift in August 1979 ( model year 1980) all BMW 3 Series received new split taillights with - depending on the scope of equipment - integrated fog lamps. Instead of the chromed exterior mirrors were fitted with an electrically adjustable door mirrors black plastic ( the 315 manually adjustable), which was now no longer mounted on the door panel, but in the so-called mirror triangle.

The front fascia has been modified and equipped with a large spoiler, the radiator has been moved to the front mask forward so that a V-belt driven fan ( pre- electric) took place at the 6-cylinder models. In addition, the exhaust system was revised.

Inside, the models had a redesigned center console with a centrally disposed, circular hazard switch and a modified heater controls. The shift lever knob got a circuit diagram of Plexiglas.

The newly introduced in April 1980 base variant 315, which was offered until mid-1984 parallel to the successor E30 (from November 1982), various cost-cutting measures were implemented. Thus, the 315 series, among other things only a mechanically adjustable exterior mirrors, a covered in imitation leather rear shelf (all other models had here carpet ), no side map pockets in the door panels, bumpers with exposed bolts and bolt instead H1/H4-Halogenscheinwerfern those with R2 - dual filament bulbs.

The most striking external identifying feature of the 315 were the frame of the side windows that were painted matt black, the aperture of polished aluminum accounted for (exception: special equipment Rear opening, in this case, the lateral plate frames had like 316 to 323i ). The only side chrome trim were the window capping strips, the gutters and the chrome inserts in the bumper guards. The 315 cost 1981 Factory DM 15,850 ( according to today's purchasing power and inflation-adjusted 16,114 euros ).

For some export markets the 315 was temporarily equipped with the 318i engine and delivered under the name " 318i Bavaria".

Rear view

BMW 320 (1979-1983)

BMW E21 Baur TC1 ( 1979-1982 )

Rear view


  • 315: 1.6 liter, 55 kW ( 75 PS), M10 four-cylinder
  • 316: 1.6 liter, 66 kW ( 90 PS), M10 four-cylinder, carburetor Solex 32/32 DIDTA until model year ( mj ) 1980
  • 318: 1.8 liter, 72 kW ( 98 hp ), M10 four-cylinder, carburetor Solex 32/32 DIDTA until Mj. 1980
  • 320: 2.0 liter, 80 kW ( 109 hp ), M10 four-cylinder, carburetor Solex 32/32 DIDTA until Mj. 1977
  • 320: 2.0 liter, 90 kW ( 122 hp ), M20 six-cylinder, twin - carburetor Solex 4A1, from Mj. 1978

( The two 320s were unofficially called later 320/4 and 320/6 after the release of the six-cylinder )

  • 320i: 2.0 liter, 92 kW ( 125 hp ), M10 four-cylinder, fuel injection Bosch K -Jetronic, to Mj. 1977
  • 323i: 2.3 liter, 105 kW ( 143 hp ), M20 six-cylinder, fuel injection Bosch K -Jetronic, from Mj. 1978
  • 315: 1.6 liter, 55 kW ( 75 PS), M10 four-cylinder engine, carburettor Pierburg 1B2, from Mj. 1981
  • 316: 1.8 liter, 66 kW ( 90 PS), M10 four-cylinder, carburetor Pierburg 2B4, from Mj. 1981
  • 318i: 1.8 liter, 77 kW ( 105 hp ), M10 four-cylinder, fuel injection Bosch K -Jetronic, from Mj. 1981
  • 320i: 2.0 liter, 81 kW ( 110 hp ), M10 four-cylinder engine with K- Jetronic, U.S. version only to Mj. 1979
  • 320i and 320is: 1.8 liter, 74 kW ( 101 PS), M10 four-cylinder engine with K- Jetronic system and catalytic converter, U.S. version from My. 1980

In addition was the E21 base for various tuning companies such as Alpina or AC Schnitzer. Alpina used yet known from the BMW 02 tuning kits for the M10 engine (A0 - A4 ) before Alpina B6 with the the first car brought to the market as a manufacturer (E21 with BMW M30 engine, 2.8 liters, 218 hp (first series 200 PS)). In addition, there was the Alpina C1, based on the small six-cylinder (M20 engine, 2.3 liters, 170 hp).

Towards the end of the construction period of the E21 also there were two special models - the variant Edition E and the variant edition S. The models of the E Edition was for the 318i, 320 - and 323i engine options available and the S Edition for the 323i. And cut for comfort Edition E received more noble velor fabrics from the 7 series and head restraints in the rear, further alloy wheels, body-color door mirrors and a sports steering wheel. Available paint was opal green metallic. In the sportier Edition S front and rear spoilers of BBS were installed and alloy wheels from BBS with cross-spoke styling, Recaro sports seats, a five-speed gearbox and a sport steering wheel. Available finishes were graphite - gray and gray Ascot, on some foreign markets also two-tone paint Graphite Grey / Grey Ascot.


Consumption figures are for the Germany version and were in the DIN of thirds (320 /4 and 320i: DIN 70030 ) collected with standard transmission.