Differences Between Early Model and Late Model E30's

Hey guys, we are going to discuss some differences between early model and late model E30's


Early Model 1984-1988(until June of 88)

  • diving board bumpers
  • 84mm front strut housings(only on the very early models)
  • sensors mounted to a bracket on top of the valve cover (only on the very early models)
  • timing reference sensors located on the transmission bell housing
  • 3 pin O2 sensor wiring
  • fog lights mounted to the bumper
  • sealed beam headlights
  • single pipe exhaust on the E and eta models
  • smaller 50L gas tank
  • smaller tail lights
  • Drum brakes for the rear on very early models
  • no abs on the very early models
  • rectangular side markers (instead of square from the super early models)

Late Model 1988-1994

  • Plastic bumpers
  • 85mm front strut housings
  • crank position sensor mounted on the front of the motor
  • 4 pin O2 sensor wiring
  • late model has more detail front and rear valance
  • fog lights mounted to the lower valance
  • the speaker fader is now integrated into the head unit
  • the window circuit breaker is relocated from dash to the center console
  • lower rear 1/4 panel to tire
  • 3rd member light has a different shape and is mounted to the car, early model has it mounted to the rear shelf
  • U.S. Ellipsoids headlights
  • dual exhaust
  • larger 55L gas tank
  • larger tail light
  • all with rear disc brakes
  • all with abs brakes
  • plastic front kick panels instead of carpeting
  • overhauled cooling system, single outlet water pump, coolant tank relocated to the driver side
  • larger intake manifold
  • dual valve springs
  • hotter cam
  • better flowing head design, 885 head casting number

Options Available throughout the build years

  • glass moon roof
  • power sun roof
  • leather wrapped mtech 1 steering wheel, small and large diameter
  • Leather wrapped mtech 2 steering wheel, small and large diamter
  • alcantara wrapped mtech 2 steering wheel, small diameter
  • 14 inch BBS basket weave wheels in several colors.
  • central locking
  • metalic paint
  • automatic transmission
  • map light rear view mirror
  • heated side mirrors
  • 13 button obc
  • premium speaker system with an amplifier mounted on the driver side in the trunk.
  • sport seats
  • a rear seat with a ski pass armrest
  • headrest on the rear seats
  • center console with cassette holders
  • Husco center console armrest
  • no lock euro glove box handle
  • Euro analog clock replacing the digital clock
  • headlight wipers
  • IS front spoiler
  • IS rear spoiler
  • IS 2 piece side skirts
  • Mtech 1 appearance package
  • Mtech 2 appearance package
  • headlight height adjusters(mostly euro only)
  • limited slip differential
  • aux oiling system
  • fuel cooler(early eta cars)
  • early es front valance


Here we have some pristine examples

Here is a nice example of a clean Mtech 1 converted early model with a 2.8 liter stroker M20

More picture can be found here.


  • Owner

- James Crivellone

  • Photographer
- b2dp photography

Here we have a clean example of Concours winning late model e30

More picture can be found here.


  • Owner

- John Parker

  • Photographer

- Brad Bowen