The Models: BMW 3-Series

What is your favorite generation of the BMW 3-Series?

This is a question that has been asked in pubs, locker rooms, car shows, autocross events, and even some of the cooler dinner tables all over the world for the better part of the last 40 years. In this new podcast from Grease the Wheels, we break down the history of the BMW 3-Series from its company-saving and genre defining predecessor, to its most modern and slightly massive iteration. For the past 40 years, the preeminent contender for best driver’s car has in fact been a member of the BMW 3-Series.

We talk about the 3-Series’ humble origins, creating the entire market segment of “sports sedan” and eventually taking part in one of the all time great market wars with Audi and Mercedes Benz. We also talk about the E30 culture, tax, cool swaps we’ve seen, and one of the all time great unsung heroes of motorsport. The BMW 3-Series has become the BMW that people get first, and when you have that spot in a company’s lineup it is immensely important to get it right. This only gets magnified when that company is in the highest echelons of the automotive industry.

So how have they done? Well in short, pretty damn well! Critically the BMW 3-Series has been named a world’s best for years. They have continually expanded the lineup from just sedans to coupes, convertibles, and GT’s (because apparently everything needs to be a crossover). They have seen the end of carbureted engines and the growth of EFI, the end of naturally aspirated and the normalization of turbocharging, and you could get them in diesel and hybrid.

Also Uncle Jimmy recalls an epic trick on Erik the Producer, we talk about common problems on almost every generation of 3-Series, and we drop a copious amount of our friends names.

This special long format episode of Grease the Wheels is sponsored by Guten Parts. Whether you have an Audi, BMW, Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, SAAB, Land Rover or Volkswagen Guten has the parts that you need. From my plucky E30 Felix to Uncle Jimmy’s twin turbo charged E90 and beyond, Guten parts has hundreds of thousands of parts in their catalogue! So how does keep that many parts straight for customers and not constantly be messing up orders? Well you make an extremely intuitive search function that lets you search by all of the normal stuff like make model and year, but also by trim levels which narrows searches down even more and lets them get you the right parts. You don’t have to be a professional parts guy, you just have to know your car, and if you’re listening to this odds are you probably do! And if you can’t find it, shoot them an email or give them a call. They’re pretty cool folks and they’re not going to ask you if your car is automatic or manual when you’re buying wiper blades. How refreshing! And it’s not going to take you months to get your parts because unlike a lot of those other guys, Guten parts has a live inventory and geolocation on all of their orders. That means Guten can same day your parts for any order placed by 2pm because they have warehouses all over the place. goal is twofold. First, to be the marketplace for quality and unique items. Whether through their own production or by showcasing products from other sources, is the destination for German car owners. Second, become the location for high quality cars, whether for routine maintenance or sky is the limit custom cars. So if you don’t turn a wrench yourself, let the Service part of Guten Parts and service get your classic running right again.

Also this episode was made possible by our patreon subscribers. If you loved this episode of Grease the Wheels consider going over to and kicking us a couple of bucks. We have a lot of good stuff coming up that we promise you will like but we need help paying for the server space! Plus you get great swag!

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