BMW 325e Engine
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What makes the BMW 325e stand out from its other E30 counterparts is the choice of engines available. From 1982 to 1988, the 325e featured a fuel injected 2.7-liter SOHC inline six-cylinder engine designed with fuel efficiency and strict emissions standards in mind. Internally known as the M20B27, this particular engine relied on a 84mm bore and 81mm stroke, conservative settings from the Bosch Motronic fuel injection system, smaller ports and a lower-duration camshaft to produce a relatively fuel efficient engine.
Commonly known as the “eta” engine, the M20B27 generated 121 horsepower at 4,250 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. The eta was never intended to be a high performer in the traditional sense like so many other BMW engines and as a result, the 325i’s 2.5-liter M20B25 inline six-cylinder engine was made available as a more powerful offering.
Nevertheless, the eta would receive substantial tweaks during the 1988 model year. With a new intake manifold, dual exhaust, a revised Motronic system and cylinder head borrowed from the M20B25, the “super eta” offered 127 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at a lower 3,200 rpm. Thanks to renewed customer demand for more powerful six-cylinder engines, the super eta was eventually supplanted by the M20B25.
The eta and super eta BMW 325e engines are relatively plentiful thanks to the E30’s high production numbers. Finding a M20B27 in good condition is relatively simple, although growing collector value and the ravages of time and age makes that task increasingly difficult each year. The M20B27 can also be found in the 5 Series of the same 1980s vintage, which helps expand the pool of possibilities when it comes to finding a good used engine.