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Rare 5-Speed: 1989 BMW 325IX

As someone who has owned a 1987 BMW 3-Series longer than I’ve owned any car, the E30 chassis is one that is near and dear to my heart. A few years ago, prices spiked in a fairly significant way, but have come back down to Earth in recent years as the entire market has cooled. A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine finding a clean all-wheel-drive 325ix like this one here on craigslist for under $10,000, but this one is listed for a reasonable $8,650.

The presentation is quite good, with the IX-specific features accounted for. Namely, the fender flares and side sill extensions that were unique to BMW’s AWD offering. The Alpine White paint still shines nicely, and as a later car, it has the smaller plastic bumper that many enthusiasts prefer (my car is of the big bumper variety, and due to sheer blind allegiance, I will always say the proportions are better suited to the original design.) The 325ix rides on aftermarket wheels, which is too bad since the stock 15×7 “basketweaves” look absolutely perfect.

The seller claims his car is one of just 77 with a 5-speed, and he may be right: the IX was produced in smaller quantities overall, so the logic follows that a car like this with three pedals is quite scarce. I have a feeling the seller is citing year-by-year production numbers and sedan versus coupe configurations. It’s entirely possible that in 1989, only 77 sedans with the IX package came with a manual gearbox. The seller claims the inline-six engine is a recently rebuilt low mileage unit, and that the IX-specific front axles have also been rebuilt.

I suspect that’s a Remus or Stromung exhaust we see here, which should help the M20 engine sing sweetly. The Oregon location means rust is unlikely to be an issue, which is honestly one of the bigger challenges when shopping for one of these 4×4 E30s given most of them were used in snowy climates. The seller is packing up and moving south, so he doesn’t need this 325IX any longer; I doubt this one will remain for sale for more than a few days.


  1. RayT Member

    Sweet! That little BMW “six” is a thing of beauty, and so is the rest of the car. There aren’t enough photos to tell, but this looks like a poverty-spec car — as much as any BMW, anyway — so no a/c, which might help explain why the seller isn’t flying south with it.

    Based on what little I recall from getting a few E30s out of BMW’s Press Fleet, I think I’d prefer the 2WD version; these didn’t have the suds to play Audi Quattro-type games.. And a/c, naturally. The ix press cars were all manual-shift (auto writers preferred them, at least back then) but I have no idea how rare those were.

    Like 2
    • CCFisher

      I believe it has A/C – note the high-pressure lines at the bottom-right of the engine compartment photo.

      Like 5
      • RayT Member

        Maybe. Not used to looking for a compressor so low in the engine bay….

        Like 1
      • CCFisher

        No maybe about it. A/C was standard equipment.

        Like 5
  2. alphasud Member

    Yup has A/C and yes they bolted the compressor down low. The IX is a bit of a unicorn. Never drove one so I can’t comment about the handling vs. the rwd e30 which were great cars. I think packaging of the front differential is either integrated into the oil pan or the axle went through the pan. Can’t remember exactly. Nice looking car with very similar wheels I had on my 88 535i. Yes I upgraded to the Stromung cat back exhaust. Car ran and sounded sweet.

    Like 1
  3. sparkster

    I dated a girl that had a 1990 325ix , automatic. I was extremely impressed that it wouldn’t spin the tires on gravel roads. Great electronics back in the early 90’s. A few years ago I bought a 2006 BMW 325ix with a manual transmission.. Fun car for about 7-8 weeks I owned it. 2 inch folder of all the repairs from the previous owner was included with my purchase.

    Like 1
    • Bick Banter

      That folder most certainly would have grown a lot thicker had you kept it longer!

      These are getting expensive. I’m surprised this is so cheap. I wonder what “needs a few things” means..

      Like 1
    • Edward Pearl

      2006 325 was not an ix, more than likely was an xi.

      Like 0
  4. Wendell S

    Only 77 in the USA…only about 77 autos in Europe…

    Like 1
  5. Mountainwoodie

    To this day I rue trading my ’87 325IS (!) in 1995 for a brand new E36 318ic Vert, which I’m still driving with 379, 000 miles and its second engine. As for the IX with a 5 speed…..waaaay more unicorny than the slushboxes but…….2 too many doors :)

    If my memory serves me the 4 wheel drive was problematic. Anyone else remember that?

    Like 2

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