HIGH-MILE CLUB: ONE MILLION MILES IN A 3-SERIES
PH takes a spin in a million-mile 325i that's never been raced or rallied
It is also fewer than the number of miles that has passed under the wheels of an unassuming E30 BMW 3-series that was recently delivered to PH Towers as my weekend wheels.
There are some leggy cars out there, and surviving examples of the E30 3-series are far from immune from big miles, but how many of them have clocked up seven figures? A quick trawl through the classifieds failed to turn up any E30s showing more than 200,000 miles. The closest I got to the million was a younger E36 318i that had, according to its advert, amassed 610,000 miles, although I suspect the uploader had hit the '0' key one too many times.
This particular car, a US-market 325is auto, was bought by Mobil back in 1990, its engine was filled with synthetic oil, and the car was plonked unceremoniously onto a rolling road. Where they ran it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For four years. It was serviced according to BMW service intervals and run at speeds varying between 45mph and 85mph.
Okay, so a million miles in lab conditions isn't exactly representative of the wear and tear that a car goes through during its lifetime, but it's still an impressive feat, and we wanted to see how the venerable straight-six felt.
The rest of the car is also a bit of a time-warp. According to the odo, the car has done around 40,000 'real' miles, so it's rather like driving a three-year-old car, just one that's been around for 20 years. It reminds you how good the 1980s 3-series was. It's taut, compact, lively, and is possessed of just enough luxuries to make you feel special without being over-indulged.
It's the sort of sporty, compact car that BMW no longer makes (though the 1-series coupe gets close) and, as well as testing the longevity of the old 325i, Mobil's million-miler has proved to me that I really, really want an e30 of my own. If only I could find a lower-mileage example...