It’s easy to lament the U.S. bound 320i. Powered by a fuel-injected M10, it managed to kick out only around 100 horsepower in the early 1980s and felt like a disappointing follow-up to the fantastic 2002tii, which was lighter and sported 130 horses. While the smart-looking Bracq-designed E21 ticked the right 3-boxes and scaled his vision down well, the U.S.-bound models got the unfortunate impact bumpers that made them look heavy and unappealing. It was like a cute kid wearing orthodontic headgear; you were pleased to meet them, but couldn’t help but feel bad for the way they ended up looking. Sure, there was a sport version of the 320i towards the end of the run, and it looked better because…well, it had BBS wheels and everything looks better with BBS wheels, but aside from that, the U.S. 320i was the relatively forgettable holdover until the E30 redeemed the small sporting sedan range here.
But in Europe?
Well, there you had better-looking bumpers…and a plethora of engine options, ranging from the anemic 315 to the 323i, with its fuel-injected M20 inline-6. In the middle was the 320/6; a carbureted version of the M20 that displaced just 1,991cc. The combination was good for about 120 horsepower, a nice bump over the US 320i: