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BMW E30 333

You're not dreaming, a 333i in E30 has come out of the BMW workshops...but only in South Africa. Few people outside this country are aware of its existence, moreover, this model is very rare, only 210 BMW 333i were produced and 204 sold.

The story

The BMW M branch of South Africa created this 333i in 1986 using the 3.2l M30 block on a 2-door E30 (M30B32 engine from the 733i E23/ 533i E12/ 533i E28/ 633CSi E24). It was a great success in this country, as a racing car and is now a collector.


The 333i was built with the help of Alpina (Buchloe, Germany), forcing the new owners to choose between air conditioning (very useful in South Africa) and "sports" steering (problem of space, the M30 block takes some a lot in the E30).

BMW South Africa wanted the 333i like this:

– M30B32 block of 3.2l, 197hp at 5500rpm and 285Nm of torque at 4300rpm

– 5-speed manual gearbox with limited slip differential

– Alpina ventilated brake discs (296 mm)

– 16″ Alpina rims with Pirelli P7 tires (195x50VR16)

– optional ABS

The performance of this 333i is impressive:

– max speed of 228km/h

– 0 to 100 in 7.4s

– the km covered in 27.7s


To realize what has been done technically, know that this 333i is as powerful as a 328i E36, released 10 years later...

Two anecdotes of “why this 333i”:

– this model was originally designed to run in Group 1, in competition with the Ford Sierra XR8 and the Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0 (the 2 giants of South Africa). Its production therefore stopped in 1985, at the same time as Group 1.

– it was to compete with the Mercedes E190 2.3 16 but BMW decided to leave this task to the M3 which arrived a few years later.


Despite this disappointment, BMW kept its 333i in the catalog until October 1987. In total, 204 copies were produced (210 if we include the prototypes and mules), all in right-hand drive, and almost all sold in South Africa. . One copy would however be imported into Great Britain by BMW UK, and 3 to 4 other copies will have been imported privately.

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