1988 BMW 320i Touring with 57k Miles

For August 8, 2020, our used car find is this 57k mile 1988 BMW 320i Touring, which is listed on craigslist by a private seller in the Charlotte area for $11,900.

Here’s what makes this car special.

Bring a Trailer writes that the E30 generation 3 Series offers a “special mix of compact, rationally styled external dimensions, high-quality engineering, and light-footed handling.” Those qualities, along with handsome lines, practical utility, and robust build quality — evident by the fact many 200k mile examples are still on the road today — have turned the car into a modern classic.

While the top-of-the-line E30 M3 has surged in value, with nice examples bringing $50k or more, more pedestrian versions, like this 320i with cloth seats and hand-crank windows, are still relatively affordable. Yet they still provide many of the same engaging characteristics with their pricey siblings.

The Touring (aka wagon) version was never officially imported to the US, making examples here quite rare. This one appears to have been brought over from Germany in 2016 and remained with the current owner since then.

While Americans are used to “320i” equating to a 4 cylinder engine, this wagon actually sports a 2.0 liter version of BMW’s legendary M20 inline six. With Bosch Motronic fuel injection, the little six pot manages 127 hp, which isn’t much by today’s standards. However, paired with the 5-speed manual gearbox and pulling just 2650 lbs, it should still be pretty entertaining to drive.

The original Cinnabar Red paint adds a bit of flash to the E30’s simple lines and still appears to be in great shape for its age. Even better is the grey cloth interior, which presents nearly as new.

The only change we might make here would be upgrading the original bottle cap wheels to something slightly sportier, such as period BBS basketweaves.

The asking price of $11,900 seems quite reasonable for such a rare, low-mileage E30 specimen. For comparison, similar Touring sold last year on Bring a Trailer for $18,000.

Given the reasonable price and unusual spec and condition, we don’t expect this one to last long.

Vehicle Details

  • 1988 BMW 320i Touring
  • 57k miles
  • 2.0 liter inline six cylinder engine (127 hp)
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • Cinnabar Red exterior on grey cloth
  • for sale by owner for $11,900
  • Matthews, North Carolina
  • link to craigslist listing HERE
  • WBAAH610100755170

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Notable Replies

  1. mark

    says:

    The seller has deleted the listing, so it appears this one is sold…

  2. mark

    says:

    Looks like a dealer picked this one up. It’s been listed for sale on Bring a Trailer HERE.

    It’ll be interesting to see if it fetches much more than the original $11,900 ask…

  3. mark

    says:

    This one sold on BaT for $16,500, so it looks like the dealer there made a tidy profit – especially considering that $11,900 was the original ask and it’s likely the BaT dealer paid less.


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