It was September 1982 when the first 3 Series E30 rolled off the assembly line, so why not celebrate the milestone with a photo shoot? BMW Czech Republic did just that by putting the second-generation 3er next to the latest G20. Specifically, it’s an M340d with the facelift it received earlier this year. You’ll also notice the retro-flavored emblems, which mark a different anniversary – 50 years of M.
Produced until 1994, the E30 was an immense commercial success as BMW assembled nearly 2.34 million cars during the model’s long 12-year run. The most popular body style turned out to be the four-door sedan, introduced less than a year after the two-door model. Enthusiasts are aware it was actually the first 3er to get rear doors since the original E21 was a two-door affair. To this day, the four-door sedan remains the best-selling flavor of the 3 Series.
E30 development didn’t stop as the convertible arrived in 1985, followed two years later by the 3 Series Touring. This time around, it was a much more practical wagon rather than the Touring versions of the 2002 lineup that were hatchbacks. The E30 was not only BMW’s very first wagon, but also the company’s first car to get all-wheel drive for the 325iX launched in 1985.
Today’s 3 Series offers a diverse lineup of powertrains, with plenty of gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrids to choose from. In addition, BMW introduced an i3 electric sedan earlier this year, but it’s sold exclusively in China. A globally available 3er without a combustion engine is expected to land in 2025 when the Neue Klasse platform is scheduled to debut with a sedan and a crossover (iX3).
The 3 Series is also among the last models in its class to offer a manual gearbox. In addition, the M340d seen here is somewhat of an oddity since it’s a performance-oriented diesel model with a six-cylinder engine. The G20 is expected to live on until 2027 and get a couple of updates until then to remain fresh and competitive. After the LCI and M3 Touring launched this year, 2023 will see the launch of a hotter M3 CS with more power and less weight than the Competition model.