BMW started making 3 Series Touring models (wagons) in the ’80s with the E30 generation. Unfortunately, the U.S. market didn’t get the 3 Series Touring until the E46 generation, in the early ’00s. But since E30 3 Series Touring models have reached import eligibility age, many U.S. customers have been importing them and this video from Doug DeMuro shows you why.
The specific E30 3 Series Touring in this video is actually a 1994 model, which was the last year it was made. It was imported to the U.S. from Germany and it’s a completely alien spec for North American shores. Not only is it a wagon, it’s also a BMW 316i, which wasn’t sold in the U.S. (the 318i was the entry-level model). That little 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, with its 100-ish horsepower, is paired with a five-speed manual and powers only the rear wheels.
It’s also in remarkably good condition, with just over 124,000 miles on the clock. That’s nothing for a car that’s nearly 30 years old. But what makes it special is that it’s a very rare Design Edition model. E30 Design Edition models were special editions made in the final model year of the E30 and had unique exterior and interior color combos. This specific one has a Schwartz Mica exterior paint, which is mostly black metallic but has hints of purple. On the inside, this car has a black and red interior, with a funky red pattern on the seats and door panels, as well as red piping on the seats. It also has a perforated steering wheel, which wasn’t normally offered on E30 models.
In terms of DeMuro’s famous quirks and features, there are a few and I won’t spoil them. However, I will say that the tailgate aperture of the E30 3 Series Touring has always made me laugh. It’s so odd and head-scratching as to how BMW engineers and designers felt that was fine back then. Despite the strange aperture, though, the trunk has a ton of space for such a small car. Packaging was easier when engineers didn’t have to account for the airbags and safety zones that they do now.
The E30 3 Series Touring is one of the more desirable enthusiast cars on the second-hand market and it’s been available for import for some time now. So if you want one, you can get one in North America. It’s just going to cost you.