CGLockRacer Reader
July 27, 2009 1:28 p.m.

So I'd like to get out of my car payments and get into a good, RELIABLE daily driver. I've had a couple of Audi 4kq's in the past and while reliable, and fun to drive, they were generally very worn out inside.

I'm looking at an E30 325e this afternoon. As far as reliability and ease of maintenance, how do they compare to the Audi? Should I hold out for a 325is? How much mpg difference is there? How do the interiors hold up vs. the Audi?

Thanks!

bam2002 New Reader
July 27, 2009 2:13 p.m.

for a DD the ETA engine is great. I was getting over 25 MPG in city and light hiway. and over 33 on the hiway.

Timing belts are an issues. They should be done at 60 to 90 k depending on how dareing your are. Avoid an Auto trans car. Odo will break around 140k miles. Shifter can get sloppy. Drive shaft Guilbo and bearings are common sources of Clunks beween the seats. Only $80 in parts if you can DIY. AC is pretty simple and easy to work on. To me the car is easier to work on thatn the v6 audi. I had a 1991 100cs Audi.. nice car. More comfy inside but was an auto and started to deveope trans issies at 160k.

ddavidv SuperDork
July 27, 2009 4:12 p.m.

I lived with and enjoyed a Audi Coupe GT for 12 years. When I sold it and bought the E30, I immediately kicked myself for not doing it 10 years earlier. Easy to work on, cheap parts, huge aftermarket. Interior quality is about the same; I find the leather does not hold up well and the dash pads are notorious for cracking. Typical German car annoyances like sunroof and window switch problems and stupid 'check' lights for everything (just unplug that crap). I've never driven an eta but they are supposedly like the 4kq, most of the power is down low and torquey. My 'i' is tons of fun to drive hard but won't get the mileage of the eta. If you can live with the power band, it's a great car.

July 27, 2009 4:29 p.m.

a 325e can be a fine car. great for autocross.

mad_machine SuperDork
July 27, 2009 5:25 p.m.

if I had a choice between the four variations of e30... it would be 325is, 318is, 325e, then 318i.

Yes, the 318is has more power than the e due to a higher rev range.. and you will not give up much (you will probably gain) in MPG

JohnW New Reader
July 27, 2009 5:39 p.m.

In reply to CGLockRacer:

Reliability? About the same, but the BMW's parts cost a lot less -- unless Audi prices have come down significantly during the past 10 years.

I like working on the BMWs a little bit better.

The BMW interiors hold up similarly to the Audi's. Dashes and vinyl/leather seats crack.

I like my 91 318is better than the 85 4ksq and 84 4ks that I used to own. It's just livilier. Likes to rev a lot more and handles better. In short just more fun to drive.

Hold out for a 325is if you can. However, if you live someplace like I do, it may not be worth the wait. When is's do come around, they are usually over-priced or just complete junk.

Good 325e's are still very findable in good condition for very little money.

Travis_K HalfDork
July 27, 2009 5:40 p.m.

I drove a 325es and I thought it was a pretty nice car. I havent driven a i version, but i have driven lots of other cars, and i honestly didnt see anything you would have to live with or settle for about it. The only reason i didnt buy it was it needed alot of other work (gas pedal was binding really bad, sounded like a rear wheel bearing was going bad, cooling system didnt hold pressure, needed a timing belt, etc), and the guy still wanted $1500 firm. I chose not to buy one becasue i was looking for a reliable daily driver, and all the ones i could find needed more than the purchase price in maintaince work. I think they are good cars, but all but the best ones are too old to be really in good enough shape to be a dd without a bit of work.

White_and_Nerdy New Reader
July 27, 2009 6:01 p.m.

The only thing I can add to the comments already made (which I agree with) is that with a chip, you can boost the 325e (and 528e, same engine) by 20hp and 20lb/ft.

And the only thing that would sway me toward a 4kq would be that I live in Maine, and the AWD would be great to have. I also really liked the 4kq's I tossed around at Team O'Neil Rally School. But I, too, also nearly bought an '86 325e from my then father-in-law. Only reason I didn't is I couldn't sell my Saturn SL2 quickly enough to fund the venture.

Tim Suddard Publisher
July 28, 2009 6:09 a.m.

Wow, we just finished Tommy's E30 1987 325is. For less than $5000 we have an incredible, practical fun car. What a hoot to autocross, comfortable and safe on the street and even with some mild mods is getting 24-25 mpg.

We could have done it for less, but as usual, it costs more to start with a worn out rat. We also have some pretty trick suspension now too.

This, an early Civic Si and a Miata are still probably the best cars ever made.

mad_machine SuperDork
July 28, 2009 7:09 a.m.
White_and_Nerdy wrote: And the only thing that would sway me toward a 4kq would be that I live in Maine, and the AWD would be great to have. I also really liked the 4kq's I tossed around at Team O'Neil Rally School. <img

could always get the Ix

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
July 28, 2009 7:23 a.m.
Travis_K wrote: I drove a 325es and I thought it was a pretty nice car. I havent driven a i version, but i have driven lots of other cars, and i honestly didnt see anything you would have to live with or settle for about it. The only reason i didnt buy it was it needed alot of other work (gas pedal was binding really bad, sounded like a rear wheel bearing was going bad, cooling system didnt hold pressure, needed a timing belt, etc), and the guy still wanted $1500 firm. I chose not to buy one becasue i was looking for a reliable daily driver, and all the ones i could find needed more than the purchase price in maintaince work. I think they are good cars, but all but the best ones are too old to be really in good enough shape to be a dd without a bit of work.

Having $3k in a properly maintained nearly bulletproof car sounds better than a car payment. I'm probably going to look for another E30 next year to build into something less extreme next year as a nice comfy DD that can do road trips.

Or a 98-99 M3 if I can find a nice, low mile one about this time next year.

walterj Dork
July 28, 2009 7:50 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Having $3k in a properly maintained nearly bulletproof car sounds better than a car payment.

+1000. My last E30 was my daily driver for 3 years, then became my race car last winter... 235k+ and going strong. It layed down 200mi of 1.27s around Summit Point in 90F heat last weekend. Find a rust free E30 and everything else is just a little money and some elbow grease.

mad_machine SuperDork
July 28, 2009 10:42 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Having $3k in a properly maintained nearly bulletproof car sounds better than a car payment. I'm probably going to look for another E30 next year to build into something less extreme next year as a nice comfy DD that can do road trips.

Aside from a fuel pump at 125,000 miles. (that did not strand me, she still got me home) my Ti has been one of those cars that is as reliable as Gravity.

I need to drop a few grand in making her look pretty again.. but mechanically, she is almost perfect. Just need a new cat before inspection time

alleykat New Reader
July 28, 2009 10:51 a.m.

I would advise holding out for the 325i. While the 325e is a good car it feels very much like a tractor. The low red-line is a buzz kill.

If it is too hard to find a good one in your area and eta cars abound, get a car made in 86 or later. This will make swapping in a m20b25/m50 much easer.

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