BMW 320is E30 powstało w 1250 sztukach wyłącznie na rynek włoski i portugalski. Zwane „włoską M-trójką” współdzieliło z M3 silnik S14 o skróconym skoku tłoka, co pozwoliło zmniejszyć pojemność do 2 l i tym samym ominąć dodatkowy 5% podatek. Dzięki zastosowaniu najlżejszego 4-drzwiowego nadwozia uzyskano lepszy stosunek mocy do masy niż w oryginale. Włoska M3 prowadziła się doskonale, a zewnętrznie pozostała skromna, niepozorna i bardziej uniwersalna. Ich ceny rosną… i to szybciej, niż się wszyscy spodziewali.
1988 BMW 3-Series 320is
320is four-door. One of 1250 Italian M3 built for Italy and Portugal
4 door S-14 BMW that weights 242lb less than an E30 M3
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): WBAAC950500615794
Sub Model: 320is
Exterior Color: Diamond Black Metallic
Interior Color: grey cloth
Trim: 320is S-14 engine
Number of Cylinders: 4
Engine: 2 liter S-14
Transmission: Euro, close ratio, dogleg 5 speed
Drive Type: rear
Body Type: 4 door
For sale is one of the 1250 „Italian M3s” built exclusively for the Italian and Portuguese markets. It has a 2 liter version of the M3 S-14 engine that produces only 3 less horsepower but weighs 242 pounds less than an M3, so the power is much better. The weight also makes it much more nimble and brake better than an M3. There were 19,000 E30 M3s but only 1250 of these four door S-14s. The B pillar makes the 4 door versions more rigid than the coupes. This 320is was purchased in Lake Como from a collector and has been imported and titled in Nevada. The engine is in a great state of tune. The brakes are firm. The euro, close-ratio, dogleg gearbox is tight and well spaced. The clutch is smooth and has a lot of life in it. The paint is excellent. The interior is very good, with the exception of some bubbling of the plastic under the brake handle and wear on the top of the rear seat (pictured). The fog-lamps have been replaced by vents, and the transmission and engine mounts are firmer than stock. The radio has been replaced by a cluster of additional instrumentation.
There are only a few of these Italian M3s in the United States and the last couple have sold for well over $30,000.
Below is more information on the „Italian M3.”
There once was a King named Faisal, who ruled a sea of sand atop a sea of oil. In 1973 he funded a pincer attack on Israel during Yom Kippur. It was a blitzkrieg success for three days, but then Israel, with the help of the West, counterattacked to victory. The king, furious in his humiliation, put both hands around our pipeline and chocked the economy–until we were thumbing open 12 percent mortgage bills while waiting in alternate-day gas lines. The United States responded with an economical 55 mph speed limit. The Italians and Portuguese applied a shirk ray of taxation on engines larger than 2 liters, in an attempt to get them in symmetry with their oil supply.
BMW had a problem. Luigis were walking into Milanese BMW dealerships with $45,000 looking for an M3, but stormed out yelling, “nessuno mi lufungulo’” after hearing that they would have to pay an additional $9000 in tax because it was .3 liters over the limit.
Most of the time, when Eurocrats spew mercantilist goo, it gums up the works. But every once in a while, the strange distortive effects of regulation shart a hope diamond, or a four-door S14 that weighs 242 pounds less than an M3.
BMW went to Paul Rosche, who designed all the early Motorsport engines and asked him to de-stroke his S14 engine from the M3 to down to 2 liters. Rosche shortened the crank (72.6 vs 84), lengthened the rods, and fitted headers from a rally car, which resulted in an engine that only makes 3 horsepower less than the 2.3 (192 vs 195) and 15 fewer ft/lb of torque (155 vs 170). They connected it to a shorter differential (3.46 vs 3.25), so it would accelerate harder, and only offered it with a dogleg, close-ratio gearbox, to better keep it in it’s rev range. It was fitted with individual throttle plates, machined intake and exhaust ports, and a crankshaft with eight counterweights.
The genius move was dropping the S14 it into the lightest E30 chassis they could find.
The US M3 was 2865 pounds and the 320is was only 2623 pounds. So the 320is weighs an astonishing 242 pounds less. This means that the 320is has 7.3 percent better power to weight and suffers only a de minimis 0.4 percent drop in torque to weight. This weight difference is about the same as between a Porsche 964 and 964RS, making the 320is the most Rennsport version of the E30.
When the German car magazine Auto Motor Und Sport tested the 320is against the M3 they wrote, “The bigger engine actually has less power in the lower rpm range. A fourth gear run from 40 to 100 kph took the M3 13.6 seconds but the 320is only took 12.8.” They said the 2 liter engine revved more smoothly and finished the article by writing, “Less is indeed more.”
The 320is is not just more powerful. Removing 242 pounds of weight doesn’t just improve the power, it improves every dynamic ability. The Italian M3 handles and stops better than an M3. This is even more important to the character of the Italian M3 than it’s superior power. The car changes direction as if you were blowing on a feather. That lightweight, hand-built S14 is humping the firewall, leaving a huge gap to the radiator, like somebody made a mistake. This moves the center of mass inward, like an ice skater pulling in their extremities to accelerate the spin into a blur.
Or as Auto Motor Und Sport wrote, “The 320is reacts to the slightest steering action more willing than the M3, appears to be handling better, but also demands more attention from its driver than the good-natured and understeering M3.”
BMW World Magazine tested the 320is against an EVO2 M3 and came away saying, “It’s the 320is I’d take home.”