Here's How Much Horsepower A $1,600 Craigslist BMW E30 Makes After 278,000 Miles

Illustration for article titled Here's How Much Horsepower A $1,600 Craigslist BMW E30 Makes After 278,000 Miles

The E30 BMW 3 Series is probably the go-to Craigslist car for people looking for something fun that’s also easy to work on and easy to modify. This also makes it difficult to find a car that’s still stock, but if you did, here’s how much power you can expect it to make.


In a recent video from Blake’s Garage, a 1988 BMW E30 325i with a stock M20 engine and original transmission, bought for $1,600, went for a ride on the dyno.

The claimed power when the car was new was 168 horsepower, but what happens after 30 years and 278, 486 miles?

The results of the test indicate the engine’s average power from three runs was almost exactly 100 HP, with an average max power of 126.64 HP. That’s quite a bit of power to lose, but then again, this is a pretty old car.

At the end of the video, Blake claims he’s going to swap in a S52 engine from a 1998 BMW M3, along with a ZF transmission, which sounds much more promising than the current 100 hp output (which I would still gladly drive).

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik


better red than dead

I feel like I missed out on the golden age for E30s - they were my favorite car in high school in the late ‘90s (and still one of my top body styles) but way beyond my “25 year old F-100 with no heat or air” budget. Now when I idly browse them they’re all ragged to shit and modified by the teenagers of the late ‘00s and overpriced for what they have become.

Note: I’d also like to have the F-100 back even if it was a longbed.