From Pelican Parts Forums
This article is the one in a series that will be released in conjunction with Wayne's upcoming book, 101 Projects for Your BMW 3-Series.* The book will be 256 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. * With more than 350+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book should be a staple in any 3-Series owner's collection.* See The Official Book Website for more details.* The book is due out in October 2005.**
**** Quite often, I get asked about BMW designations. What does this “ti” mean? What is the difference between the 525i and a 535i? E thirty what? So I decided to write a small article that would try to explain the differences between the designations and try to clear up some confusion on the subject. That said, here are some questions I have received.
What do they call my car an “E” something when it’s a 325i, 535i, etc..?
* When you hear you car being referred to as an E classification, what they are referring to is the body style of a particular car. For instance, BMW has produced a 3 Series model from 1976 to 2003. Naturally, the body style changes over time, so to avoid confusion; they refer to the 1976-83 3 Series as an E21, the 1984-91 cars as E30, 1992-99 cars as E36, and the present models as the E46. Keep in mind that certain early cars do not have an E number. Here’s a break down of the “E” numbers as well as the early designations
114***** 1602 – 2002tii
118 *****1500, 1600-4, 1800, 1800tii***
121***** 2000, 2000ti, 2000tilux
E3******* 2500 – 3.3Li
E6******* 1600, 1800, 2000 touring
E9******* 2500CS – 3.0 CSi
E12***** 5 Series cars from 1974 to 1981
E21***** 3 Series cars from 1976 to 1983
E23***** 7 Series cars from 1977 to 1986
E24***** 6 Series cars from 1976 to 1989
E28***** 5 Series cars from 1981 to 1987
E30***** 3 Series cars from 1984 to 1991
E31***** 8 Series cars from 1989 to 1997
E32***** 7 Series cars from 1986 to 1994
E34***** 5 Series cars from 1988 to 1995
E36***** 3 Series cars from 1992 to 1999
E36/7** Z3 Roadster
E38***** 7 Series cars from 1994 to 2001
E39***** 5 Series cars from 1995 to 2001
E46***** 3 Series cars from 1999 to 2003
E52***** Z8 Roadster
E53***** X5 SAV
E65***** 7 Series cars from 2002 (short wheelbase)
E66***** 7 Series cars from 2002 (long wheelbase)
E85***** Z4 Roadster
What do these letters on the back of my car mean?
* Traditionally BMW has used a series of letters to denote differences between models. For instance “is” would mean injected sports. Here’s a breakdown of the letters and what they mean. Keep in mind that various BMW’s used combinations of these letters. However, these letters are the most common.
i**** Fuel Injected
is*** Fuel Injected – Sports. Sports package, with better suspension, sway bars, etc..
ic*** Fuel Injected – Cabriolet, Convertible models
e*** ETA model. Built by BMW as efficiency-minded cars during the 1980’s
es** ETA – Sports, ETA model with sports package.
Ci** Fuel Injected – Coupe. This designation is used on most modern BMW’s
Csi* Fuel Injected – Sports Coupe.
iT*** Fuel Injected – Touring.* BMW’s station wagon.
iX** Fuel Injected – All Wheel Drive.
Ti*** Fuel Injected – Touring Compact. *
Tii** Fuel Injected – Touring International. Used only on early cars.***
M*** Motorsports.* M3, M5 for example, BMW’s hot rod.
L**** Luxury.* Basically a normal car fitted with full leather and all options, i.e. L6, L7