Lot 220

Open Roads, The European Summer Auction

1988 BMW 320is


€24,750 EUR | Sold

Italy | Bergamo, Italy



Chassis No.
Italian Libretto
  • The ‘Italian M3’
  • A rare example of a true 90s ‘Q car’
  • A particularly clean example accompanied by its original books and tools

Please note that this lot will need to be collected from Bergamo, Italy,

Addendum: Please note that due to travel restrictions resulting from Covid-19 this car has not been inspected in person by an RM specialist and its inspection report is therefore based on information provided by the consignor as well as available photography. To receive more information where available and connect with a car specialist, please click "Lot Inquiry."

With both the Italian and Portuguese governments imposing harsh taxation policies on cars with an engine capacity of over 2 litres, it was hardly surprising that European manufacturers would develop performance models for their clients in these markets to overcome the rules. Following the example set by Ferrari with the 208s, BMW’s E30 M3 just fell afoul of the tax rules with its 2.3 – 2.5 litre engine so the 320is was born. Using a de-stroked version of the M3’s S14 engine, the 320is’ capacity came in at 1,990 cc with power only slightly down at 192 bhp, aided by a higher compression ratio than the M3. In addition to the engine, the M3’s Getrag 265 5-speed gearbox was used along with a limited-slip differential with a shorter ratio than its more famous cousin.

In true ‘Q car’ fashion, the flared wheel arches of the M3 were left off, with an M-Technic II aero package being the only sign to passers-by that this was not an ordinary 320. Further features included ‘Sportfahrwerk’ suspension and various subtle details such as an M3 instrument cluster without the red needles or M-division logo. Despite BMW’s intentions, only 2540 two-door examples left the factory at Regensberg making the 320is one of the rarest BMWs of the era.

This 320is is an original ‘AK95’ Italian-delivery example. Delivered in Diamond Black Metallic with a desirable power sunroof, this 320is presents very well today with 106,370km on the odometer. An extremely clean example throughout the exterior, interior and engine bay, this 320is is accompanied by its original books, which feature stamps for its early service work, along with its correct tools. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing, this 320is would be a worthy addition to any Youngtimer collection or simply to be enjoyed on the road.