BMW 325i vs 325e – Which Engine Has Superior Output?

BMW makes very premium-quality engines and the 325 series is a marvel in the making. However, there are many variations of engines such as 325i and 325e. So, it’s easy to get confused between them.

Now, which one is better between the BMW 325i vs 325e?

BMW 325i’s engine is definitely more powerful than 325e because of more horsepower. However, the higher torque and tall final drive are a major plus for the 325e’s engine. Also, the eta engine is more efficient. Still, 325i gives a tough competition with the excellent build quality and drivetrain.

This was only a glimpse of what comes next. Are you eager to learn more about how they fair off with each other?

Then, come along with me and get the full details!

A Quick Look at the Engines

Obviously, there are many good qualities about both BMW 325e vs 325i. However, the differences are very easy to notice too. That’s why car enthusiasts get confused about the two models. But you don’t have to dwell in confusion anymore!

The main differentiating factor is the overall build and drivetrain. That’s what I’ll try to focus on in the very next segment. Then, you’ll get to know about other crucial topics such as rpm, torque, displacement, and more!

Here’s a quick comparison table to know the exact differences-

Differentiating PointsBMW 325iBMW 325e
RPM5,800 rpm4,250 rpm
Torque164 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm177 lb-ft at 3,250 rpm
Horsepower167 HP121 HP
EfficiencyLess efficientMore efficient
Displacement2.5 L2.7 L
Final DriveShorter 3.73:1Tall 2.93:1 

I know this tiny table does not disclose all the intricacies of the engines. 

That’s why I want to invite you to read the full discussion to get closure. Otherwise, you might choose the wrong engine for you!

So, here we go!

Head-to-Head Detailed Analysis

By now I think you have a basic idea about that. But, if the table above is a bit tough to understand here’s a graphical representation.

Here, you’ll be able to know everything about 325e and 325i. Then, you’ll be fully ready to draw a sound conclusion.

So, let’s not waste any more time and see the differences in prowess!

Build Quality & Drivetrain

Starting off with a drivetrain, it’s quite visible that both are not made the same way. You’ve already seen such a comparison in cheap vs expensive ignition coils

So, let’s see what differentiates these two engines.

The hotter cam, two large valve springs, and huge manifold intake can be seen in 325i. The 1987 BMW 325i specs also include a better throttle design and both-sided exhaust systems. Even with such premium build materials, the list does not stop!

You also get a better engine system and a shorter 3.73:1 final drive. These features make the 325i far superior to its counterpart BMW 325e.

On the other hand, the high-revving autobahn-friendly engine is also noteworthy among the model 3 series. By no means it is a weak engine system. 

You will definitely get your money’s worth with a large displacement than 325i.

However, if you compare the overall components and drivetrain, the 325i definitely takes the cake. Because of its brilliant aerodynamics, featherlight flywheel, and exquisite mechanics.

Winner: Without any doubt, the BMW 325i has better build quality and drivetrain of the two.

Horsepower, RPM & Torque

Let me give you this as straightforwardly as possible. You won’t get every good thing in a single system! So, let’s have a look at the RPM and torque differences.

The 325i is far superior in terms of horsepower count. The engine is rated at 167 HP which is plenty for any car user. But that’s not all.

You’ll get better RPM with 325i which offers up to 5,800 rpm. You can even customize your ride to make it a drift-worthy car, like this dude did.

However, the torque is not that high with 164 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm. It’s not that bad but still, could be better!

On the other hand, the 325e is an efficient engine that can go up to only 121 HP. It’s decent enough but you do get less power.

Source: Pinterest

However, there’s a clear difference in 325e vs 325i torque spin. The 325e can achieve 177 lb-ft at 3,250 RPM. But again, it falls behind in the RPM department. So, you’ll have to decide what you want.

Winner: If you want better power and performance, go with 325i all the way. But to get more torque, you have to go with 325e.


Upgrading your car system is obviously very important. The upgradability feature can easily motivate you to choose one engine over another.

So, let’s look at what these two have to offer.

325i can be more easily upgraded to add more components. It’s not that difficult to take the internal stuff out from the 325i and place new ones. Even when swapping the engine to another car, you’ll need some basic things.

If you plan to update your 325i, you can get this stereo wire harness. They will enhance your car feel a lot.

Metra 72-4568 Speaker HarnessOrder from Amazon
Scosche GM02B Aftermarket Stereo WiresOrder from Amazon
RED WOLF Radio Wiring HarnessOrder from Amazon

On the other hand, 325e BMW can give you a hard time. Moreover, swapping the lower bottom is quite the pain! However, you won’t have any problem with applying nema 14-30 or 14-50.

If you’re not planning to upgrade your engine, then you can go both ways.

Winner: If you want to upgrade your system, the BMW 325i will yield better results.

Which One Goes with You?

Finally, we arrive at the most crucial segment where you make a decision. I know it can be difficult for you to decide now. Because you just understood the differences and might be overwhelmed. 

So, let’s summarize the overall situation!

If you’re looking for a powerful engine, the 325i got you covered. Even the build materials are outstanding, to say the least. The only drawback is the short final drive and less torque.

The 325e has its strong points too. Any car enthusiast who’s looking for an efficient system will definitely choose 325e. The “e” literally stands for efficiency in the e30 eta engine. Also, you’ll get a high torque engine.

That’s the overview of the engines and the rest is up to you! Hopefully, you’ll make a great decision.


What is the Difference Between BMW 325i and 325iS?

The key differences found in BMW 325i and 325is are in interior design and suspensions. Moreover, there’s a slight contrast in aerodynamics as well. The 325is is definitely sportier and more robust to drive. Also, it’s more powerful as a standalone engine. So, 325i falls behind in those departments.

What is a BMW 325e?

BMW 325e is a famous engine model based in the M20 straight-6 series. The 325 number actually means the car model series and the total displacement. So, it’s a 3-series engine with 2.5L drive displacement. However, “e” represents the Greek letter eta for efficiency and the engine is actually 2.7 L.

How Long Does an E30 Last?

E30 can last up to 250,000 miles if you maintain the engine well. The E30 engine is very good for all kinds of situations. For example, weekend trips or daily commutes and so on. You can go for either the Sedan or Touring version. However, maintenance is a must for your car’s longevity.

Final Words

So, that’s all about the battle between 325e vs 325i engines. What are your thoughts now after knowing the differences?

Both are great engines to choose from. But at the end of the day, it depends on what is your preference.

Now, go on and have a wild adventure with your top-class engine!

Robert Lozano

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