Overshadowed – 1985 BMW 325e

BMW’s E30 3-series, once yuppie standard, now cult icon, has a definite pecking order. The M3 is way up at the top, followed by the 325is, 325i, 318is or 325iX, and then much further down, the 325e and 318i. While the early 318i probably can’t get out of its own way, the 325e and 325es are worth a second glance as the favorites creep up in value. While you give up some power, it’s still worth considering this is a relatively light car at around 2500 lb., and you still get the joy of the BMW straight six and excellent shifter, along with the tall greenhouse that’s a classic BMW design trait. Check out this 1985 BMW 325e for sale for $3000 in Berkeley, CA.

1985 BMW 325e right front

With only 147,000 miles, there should be a lot of life left in it, though you’ll want to do your research and consider condition over mileage. The paint looks pretty decent – by 30 years of age, there are definitely cars that have suffered the weather poorly. It does have some oxidation on the roof, but seems to be dent-free and otherwise complete. The 325e was an efficiency model with a longer stroke for better torque to make up for reduced power – those characteristics seem remarkably similar to modern turbodiesel engines, and probably work fairly well on American roads. With a less-flashy power number, though, they’re relegated to the second tier.

1985 BMW 325e left front

Of course, we don’t get to see the rear, so that’s left to your imagination. The car does need a wash, and there’s plenty of brake dust on the standard bottlecap alloys, which suggests the car was just a driver. Oddly enough, it looks to be in a lot full of Chinese-built electric cars (not an unusual sight in Berkeley). Blue license plates support the seller’s claim of it being sold new in Berkeley, CA.

1985 BMW 325e interior

No shot of the engine, so the only idea you get of its condition is that it’s said to be good overall, includes a Dinan chip, and has passed its most recent smog check. It also benefits from Bilstein sport struts, and as you can see, the interior has sport seats (perhaps from a 325es?) and a sport steering wheel. So if it checks out, this could be a solid little driver with more torque than the favored 325is – could you take advantage of its reputation to have a little fun on the cheap?


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