February 6, 2023

Dropped at you by the writers of Efficiency BMW, right here’s your fast no nonsense BMW E36 3 Sequence shopping for information.

BMW E36 3 Sequence: Why?

Whereas it might have misplaced the E30’s traditional styling and iconic appears to be like, the BMW E36 3 Sequence was an enormous step up over its predecessor on all fronts. Much more fashionable, higher to drive, safer and extra sensible, it was arguably one of many greatest leaps ahead when it comes to 3 Sequence evolution; these days it’s beginning to get the find it irresistible deserves and it is a nice BMW to personal, drive and mod.

The BMW E36 3 Sequence you need

As with the BMW E30, you’ve obtained plenty of totally different physique types to select from and, actually, the E36 wears all of them nicely, although for us the coupé and Touring are the most effective of the bunch, however you’d be pleased with any of them. Enginewise, once more, there’s quite a bit to select from right here but it surely’s the sixes that get our vote, although the 318iS can also be price a glance. The 328i is no doubt the choose of the bunch, due to that muscular straight-six, however the 325i can also be price a glance and the M50 has the added bonus of not being affected by the Nikasil issues that plagued the later engines.

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What to pay

The excellent news is that E36s are very low-cost and this is likely one of the most inexpensive methods into any BMW. £1350 will get you behind the wheel of an 80k-mile 328i Convertible, you will get your self a 320i SE Saloon with 85k miles for £1500, or a 318iS for £1520. We additionally discovered an 80,000-mile 325i Coupé for £1650, a 150k-mile 323i Touring for £1800, a 323i Saloon for £2k, and round £3000 will get you right into a 328i Sport with extra examples to select from as you stand up to £4000, with the most effective low-mileage vehicles sitting at across the £6k-range.

BMW E36 3-Series

The good things

The BMW E36 3 Sequence has a traditional look all of its personal and if you happen to grew up within the ’90s then the styling will little doubt have you ever feeling all nostalgic. Whereas it may not be as iconic a design as a few of BM’s different choices, there’s undoubtedly one thing interesting about these business-like traces and it’s undoubtedly a smart-looking automotive. The chassis is sharp, a big step up from the E30, and the E36 feels properly balanced and is genuinely enjoyable to drive due to the flamboyant Z-axle multi-link rear suspension, particularly if you feed that chassis sufficient energy to essentially make the most of its skills. It’s an interesting, entertaining automotive and there’s quite a bit to love and revel in right here.

The unhealthy stuff

When it was launched the BMW E36 3 Sequence was considerably infamous for its flaky construct high quality and whereas this was improved in 1994, it’s nonetheless not essentially the most stable BMW you should buy, so count on some inside niggles. Past that, rust is now a difficulty at this age and whereas it’s not as unhealthy as among the older vehicles right here, there are nonetheless quite a lot of areas to examine when taking a look at an E36. The primary rust sizzling spots are the interior entrance wings and turret welds, inside the boot and beneath the battery, the boot lip beneath the seal, the windscreen housing, the bottoms of the doorways and the entrance and rear wings rust from the within, together with the entrance and rear subframes. Along with that, M52 engines had been affected by the Nikasil issues, plastic water pump impellers fail, clutch judder is a typical downside, M42 timing case profile gaskets get eaten away and exhaust manifolds crack on the 318iS.


BMW E36 3-Series

BMW E36 3 Sequence Modding potential

As with all 3 Sequence fashions, there’s an terrible lot that may be accomplished to the E36 and its reputation on the scene means there’s a wealth of mods obtainable for it. When it comes to styling, Sport or M3 physique kits all the time look good and also you’ve obtained loads of splitters and spoilers to select from you could add to that, in addition to an enormous collection of wheels. So far as inside mods go, it’s all in regards to the Vader seats from the M3, and the excellent news is that they bolt straight in. Engine-wise, you may supercharge the M42 and M44 to get first rate positive factors, you are able to do an M50 manifold swap on the M52, however if you need severe positive factors then it’s all in regards to the M50 as that engine was born for increase.


The E36 is ageing nicely and values are slowly creeping up, so now is an efficient time to slip into one among these fashionable classics. It may not be BMW’s finest effort when it comes to construct high quality and rust is a matter, but it surely’s nice to drive and has huge modding potential, making it an ideal retro BM that received’t break the financial institution.