A four-door saloon will not automatically become a coupé in two-door guise, and the BMW E30 certainly does not.
Recently I came across it again, this time in a sales advertisement for a BMW 3-series of the E30-generation, the second incarnation of the little Bavarian gem: “BMW 320i Coupé”, the ad said.
In this case the car in question actually seemed like a nice and sound example in original and unspoilt condition, complete down to the factory alloy wheels and equipment. But a coupé it was not, of course: The E30 appeared as a cabriolet, estate and as a saloon – but never as a coupé.
And no, I did not stumble across the ad because I am looking to purchase an E30 anytime soon – the ad just popped up on my computer and begged to be corrected, and I thought I’d better do it now as the first E30s have indeed become real classics – but before the use of the wrong term becomes too widespread.
I missed the opportunity with the “Porsche 924 Targa” issue, and look how that term has become widely accepted. My failure to attend to the matter still haunts me.
So here it is, raw and undiluted: A BMW 3-Series E30 with two doors is a saloon (sedan in French, limousine in German), just like its four-door sister model. Yes, even the fashionable, supreme and absolute top of the pops M3-model is not a coupé, but a two-door saloon.
None of the 3-series cars will be either better or worse for it, of course: All the E30’s are, in my humble opinion, great cars that I have fond memories of back in the Eighties. And I think it is fully deserved that the relatively few (good) remaining examples have long since been recognized youngtimers, and are now heading for safe classic status.
I personally think I prefer the estate variant of the E30-theme, but the choice is somewhat dependant on my mood on the given day – and actually I like them all. Even though there is no coupé, which is usually my favorite body type. I – and everyone else – must simply learn to live with it, and that is not even difficult as they are such brilliant cars.
Please do not, however, ever again refer to the two-door E30 as a coupé, thank you. It takes more than a two-door saloon has to offer. Or less, in fact, it we take it literally – less space, practicality, flexibility and so on. This may in fact be exactly why BMW themselves never used the coupé term with the E30.
ViaRETRO bonus information: For those who think I’m completely wrong and that a 2-door E30 is actually a fully fledged coupé, I’ll show another car which should then equally qualify as a coupé: