Is the BMW 220i really a modern E30 M3?
Since the arrival of this new 2 Series, it has been called the spiritual successor to the original BMW 2002 and the 3 Series E30. In many ways, these are valid comparisons, as the 2 Series is a small, rear-drive, often four-cylinder, BMW coupe that still prioritizes fun over comfort. However, can it really be compared to the E30 M3, the road-legal Touring Car? That’s what Auto Express is all about in this new video.
In this new review, host Nicola Hume claims the new 2 Series is the modern E30 M3, which in itself is a bold statement. However, it gets even bolder, as the specific 2 Series it claims to resemble the E30 M3 is the entry-level BMW 220i model. Surely this is madness, isn’t it?
On paper, there are certainly some similarities. For example, the 220i also uses a four-cylinder engine and actually produces similar power to the original M3; 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, compared to the E30 M3’s 192 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The 220i is also rear-wheel-drive, has two doors and slightly flared wheel arches. However, that’s sort of where the similarities end.
The BMW 220i uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the E30 M3 used a naturally aspirated 2.3-liter racing engine. The new BMW 220i is also automatic only, while the E30 M3 was manual only. It’s also feature-rich, crammed with tech, and has a more usable rear seat. Oh, and the 220i is several hundred pounds heavier, too. So it’s not exactly an E30 M3 successor, spiritual or otherwise.
Obviously, the BMW 220i isn’t really a modern E30 M3, but it’s fun to point out its similarities in terms of layout and power. The 220i is also about $100,000 cheaper than what a nice E30 M3 costs, so it might not be as exciting, but it’s a lot cheaper.