324d

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The 324d was one of only two Diesel models of the the E30. It has naturally-aspirated engine. For the turbo-charged version, please refer to the 324td.

Contents

History

The 324d was first introduced in 1984, a year after the official launch of the E30. The car enjoyed a lengthy production run, being retired in 1990 when the last E30 saloons were built; despite this, production numbers were low, and very few examples survive today.

The 324d was never officially offered in the UK. However, some cars were privately imported and converted to RHD.

Overview

At the heart of the 324d is the M21 engine. This 2.4l powerplant was BMW's first foray into diesel technology, and is therefore the first diesel engine to power any BMW. The same unit was fitted to the E28.

The 324d was only offered in one body style, a 4-door Saloon. While its engine was substantially different from other cars in the range, almost every other component was shared with the rest of the E30 family, including Suspension and Brakes.

The naturally-aspirated engine was a very crude design, based heavily on the existing M20 petrol engine. With diesel technology still in its infancy, the car suffers from very poor performance due its low power output; only 84hp to power a car weighing 1260kg. This makes the 324d both the lowest-powered and heaviest model in the range; more feeble than the 316, but heavier than than any Touring.

The one benefit is the impressive fuel economy. Despite the elementary design of the M21 engine, the 324d will clatter around at over 40mpg (imperial), which is far more efficient than the smallest petrol engined E30. The acceleration may be glacial (16.5seconds to get to 60mph), but with a manual five-speed gearbox, the 324d will easily (if noisily) eat up motorway miles.

As a result, the M21 engine has developed a reputation for sturdiness and reliability. As long as belts are changed regularly and the fuel pump is maintained, these engines are capable of achieving extremely high mileages, if you don't mind the slow speed.

Because of the low performance, BMW upgraded the model by adding a turbocharger in 1987. This new forced-induction model was known as the 324td, and was built alongside the 324d as both a sedan and Touring. While the engines in these two models share the same code (M21D24), a large proportion of the ancillary engine equipment is different. However, it is possible to upgrade a 324d to accommodate a turbo.