The U.S. E21 320i & 320iS

When the E21 3-series was introduced, the 320i -being the only fuel injected version- was the only engine that could meet the strict U.S. emission standards. A 3-way catalyst was fitted with Lambda control and a oxygen sensor.

But there were more modifications required before the E21 was allowed in the U.S. The most important things:

  • Lights: sealed beam headlights, larger front indicators, side indicators, side reflectors
  • The federalized big bumpers
  • Dash: mph speedometer, fuel gauge not showing litres but: full, ½, reserve.

When the European E21’s were facelifted in 1979, the U.S. 320i was renewed as well. BMW stopped production of the 2 litre M10 engine en they decided to sell the Euro 318i as the new 320i. The smaller displacement and U.S. restrictions made the new version considerably less powerful but the lightened facelift chassis made up for at least part of the loss.

 320i  US 320i       320iS  US 320iS click for larger photo

Due to a different climate, many air conditioned E21’s were sold in the U.S. Over here in Europe E21’s with A/C are rare! The comfortable and reliable optional ZF 3-speed auto box was popular as well. Strangely, power steering wasn’t!

I believe the 320i models sold in Australia and the U.K. were practically the same. Only thing is that they were converted to RHD which required relocation of the brake master cylinder.

In 1981 the sporty 320iS was introduced. The same 1.8 litre engine, but with the following extra’s for the ‘demanding driver’:

  • Front air dam
  • 5,5x13” special cross spoke light alloy rims
  • Sports suspension with increased diameter front stabilizer bar and the addition of a rear stabilizer bar
  • Limited slip differential (25%)
  • Dual operation manual sunroof
  • Recaro sports seats
  • Leather sport steering wheel and leather gear shift knob
  • Deluxe tool kit
  • Fog lights
  • AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Click below for pages from the original paintwork & upholstery brochure
     

US 320i standard specifications

 Engine

320i 2.0

320i 1.8

320iS

Production dates: 11/77 – 08/79 09/79 - 12/82 08/80 - 12/82
Units produced ? Approx. 140.000 Approx. 2.500
Type: inline watercooled 4 inline watercooled 4 inline watercooled 4
Bore x Stroke mm 89x80 89x71 89x71
Displacement cc 1990 1766 1766
Valve Operation SOHC SOHC SOHC
Valves / cyl 2 2 2
Compression Ratio 8,1 : 1 8,8 : 1 8,8 : 1
Injection / Carburetor: Bosch K-Jetronic Bosch K-Jetronic Bosch K-Jetronic
Max Torque 152Nm @ 4350 135Nm @ 4500 135Nm @ 4500
BHP (DIN) 110 @ 5700 101 @ 5800 101 @ 5800
Max rev count (RPM) 6400 6400 6400
Engine type code M10 B20 M10B18 M10B18
Timing by: chain chain chain
CO % 1.5 1.1 1.1
Idle speed (RPM) 850-950 850-950 850-950
Oil pressure

0.5 to 1.2 bar at idle to over 4.0 bar running

Fan belt size (mm)

9.5 x 975 (auto 950)

Alternator (Bosch)

0120489718 (65A)

with built in controller no.

0192052004

Starter motor (Bosch)

0001311100

Chassis and Drivetrain
Transmission 4 speed manual 4 speed manual 5 speed overdrive manual
Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Semitrailing arms, coil springs Semitrailing arms, coil springs Semitrailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Axle Ratio 3.64 3.91 (M) 3.64 (A)  3.91
General
Wheelbase (mm) 2563 2563 2563
Track front/rear (mm) 1366/1376 1366/1376 1366/1376
Alignment (front toe in-mm) 1.5 (+/- 0.5 mm) 1.5 (+/- 0.5 mm) 1.5 (+/- 0.5 mm)
Alignment (rear toe in -mm) 2.0 (+/- 0.8 mm) 2.0 (+/- 0.8 mm) 2.0 (+/- 0.8 mm)
Brakes front/rear Solid disc / Drum Solid disc / Drum Solid disc / Drum
Wheels/Tires steel 13"x5.5J / 185/70HR13 steel 13"x5.5J / 185/70HR13 steel 13"x5.5J / 185/70HR13
Maximum Speed (kph)* ? ? ?
Acceleration 0-80 kph* ? 8.1 8.1
Weight (kgs) 1182 1104 1144
Battery (Ah) 55 55 55
Fuel consumption (DIN litres/100 km) - with standard 5 - gearbox
@ 90 km/h
@ 120 km/h
city
 NOTE  For further information on options, gearbox types, fuse box lay out, paintwork and interior colours, valve clearances, etc. see the regular E21 specs pages on this website.
All models:
Fuel tank (ltrs) 58 (52+6)
Cylinder head Aluminum
Lubricant (motoroil) SAE 10W40 SE
Change quantity 4 cyl. 3.75 litres
Including oil filter add 0.25 litre
Gearbox oil - manual SAE 80
Change quantity 4 sp. 1 litre
Change quantity 5 sp. 1.4 litres
Gearbox oil - auto Dexron ATF
Change quantity - auto 2 litres
Diff oil SAE 90 Transmission
Change quantity diff 0.95 litres
Power steering Dexron ATF 77
Change quantity 1.2 litre
Coolant 4-cylinder 7.2 litres
Brake / Clutch ATE/Castrol/DOT 4
Fuel Unleaded RON 91