BMW 325i Sedan (E36) The third generation of the 3 series appears at the end of 1990. Alongside the 320i, the model is part of the newly launched 3-series from BMW. The main changes were the design, the suspension, the dimensions and the power transmission. The 325i is optionally available with a five-speed gearbox or with an optional automatic. Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated at the front) with anti-lock braking system and individually suspended wheels all around. With a 2.5-liter engine, the 325i develops 150 hp and has a top speed of 214 km / h. This engine has recently also been used in the 520i. All models, including the 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines, work with digital engine electronics from Bosch. The bodies are 11 cm longer at 4.43 m and a good 5 cm wider at 1.7 m. The luggage compartment volume has increased by 10 liters. For the time being, only four-door sedans are available in the newly launched 3 Series. The main innovations in the new 3-series are central link axles, special side impact protection, larger interior, new engines with four-valve technology. In the following years, other body styles followed, such as the 3 Series Coupé, 3 Series Convertible, 3 Series Compact and 3 Series Touring.

The third generation of the BMW 3 Series (E36) presented at the end of 1990 made an impression. While the dynamic competitors impressed with wide rectangular lights, the Munich-based company continued to trust the brand-typical double emitters, introduced in 1968 for the BMW 2002, but now they have given them rectangular cover glasses that gave the third 3 Series an assertive look at the fast lane on motorways and in sales statistics. In addition, the legendary BMW design boss Claus Luthe – his first stroke of genius was the avant-garde rotary sedan NSU Ro 80 – had the young Chinese talent Pinky Lai draw a four-door sedan with a long wheelbase, suggested wedge shape and short overhangs, which the press almost showered with praise has been. “As chic as an Italian, as solid as a Mercedes and as spacious as an Audi” was the verdict of the fresh 3 Series, which, despite premium prices, secured third place in the approval charts for the first time, directly behind Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra

BMW had a run under Claus Luthe, the Bavarians not only shone with strong technology, but also with shapes that temporarily fascinated more than the competition was able to. In addition, there was a previously unknown body variety, which the 3 Series (E36) drove to extremes. Sedan, three-door Compact, Kombi Touring, Coupé, Cabriolet, Baur Top-Cabriolet, M3 and the 3-series-based sports car Z3 and Z3 Coupé (E36 / 7) – this selection is unsurpassed to this day. Nevertheless, Claus Luthe’s career at BMW ended with the E36, because the star designer retired early for family reasons. Luthe was followed by Chris Bangle, who was not undisputed by BMW fans for his daring designs. But when the 3 Series (E36), which was sold in over 2.7 million units, was replaced by the fourth 3 Series in 1998, this successor was only shown in a subtly refined design language. Luthe’s farsighted last hit had already made the 3 Series fit for the 21st century.

Globalization was also part of the E36’s recipe for success. The previously best-selling BMW series was not only produced at the three Bavarian locations of Munich, Regensburg and Dingolfing,






but also as assembly from CKD sets in Asia and South Africa.


In addition, it was a 318i that was the first BMW to be built in September 1994 at the new American plant in Spartanburg, before the Z3 Roadster also rolled off the assembly line there in 1995. In Europe, on the other hand, BMW dared the first attack against the Wolfsburg king of the compact class: as an alternative to the 4.43-meter-long 3-series sedan, the three-door compact with 22 centimeters shorter hatchback was launched in March 1994. The Compact was well received. Against the Golf III – which was first available with a VR6 engine – the new entry-level model in the BMW range achieved a respectable success. At Audi, the smallest BMW at the time accelerated the launch of the A3, and within the 3 series, the Compact came third among the best-selling variants behind the four-door and the independent coupé with frameless windows and a low roof line.

The 3 Series Cabriolet introduced in 1993 was derived from this Coupé, which with its powerful six-cylinder in-line engine was able to assert itself against the convertible top carriers from Audi, Saab or Volvo and also succeeded over the Mercedes CLK introduced in 1998, before the subsequent 3 Series (E46) was enthroned as the new Bavarian Sun King. Open-air models were popular in the lifestyle-hungry 1990s and that’s why BMW even surprised sun-addicted customers with a cheerful 3×3 of different types of fresh air. Three times 3-series technology in three E36 forms: Even before the classic convertible, the unconventional top convertible made by bodybuilder Baur and sold through BMW made its debut. A removable hard top at the front and a folding top at the rear turned the four-door 3 Series into a convertible sedan. Nevertheless, BMW was only able to deliver a three-digit number of this Luftikus with a fixed roll bar, in complete contrast to the sensational success of the Z3 roadster, which made its debut with an appearance in the James Bond cinema adventure “Golden Eye”.

But BMW also knew what the Bayern fans were expecting under the sheet metal: technical progress and engines with plenty of steam for really big sport. The latter was guaranteed by the new edition of the M3 from 1992, incidentally for the first time in three body styles as a coupé, convertible and four-door. A 210 kW / 286 hp in-line six-cylinder engine made the M3 storm up to country road speed in 6.0 seconds, faster than the Ferrari Mondial or Mercedes SL with V12 power, as well as the Porsche 968 high specific power, namely 96 hp per liter. But there was more, as was shown in 1995. The M3 now brought 236 kW / 321 hp from a 3.2 liter displacement onto the road and thus more than the Porsche 911 Carrera, which could be ordered with all-wheel drive as an option.


In fact, BMW no longer offered the 325iX (E30) that had been highly praised by the experts. Instead, there were other specialties, such as the world’s first sequential gearbox with gear changes in one plane and automatic clutch.

For high-speed junkies, the E36 also had a lot to offer on the racetrack, as the M3 in the GT class and as the 318i in touring car series. The works team with prominent drivers such as Johnny Cecotto, Roberto Ravaglia and Joachim Winkelhock won no fewer than six championship titles in three seasons. And then in 1998 there was the victory of a 320d in the 24-hour classic at the Nürburgring, the first triumph for a diesel direct injection engine at a marathon event. In fact, the BMW diesel engines were also able to impress in everyday road use, as the experts praised. The 105 kW / 143 PS strong and 260 Nm torque-releasing six-cylinder 325tds was content with a standard consumption of 6.7 liters of diesel, which even the new A4 TDI from Ingolstadt couldn’t do better.

BMW was also able to report innovations in the six-cylinder petrol engine, with variable camshaft adjustment from 1992 and lightweight aluminum housings for the 2.8-liter units in 1995. The most inexpensive four-cylinder petrol engines 318i and 316i still achieved the largest number of units; the bivalent 316g Compact for petrol and natural gas operation remained a rarity. At that time, the E36 series offered a barely manageable portfolio of bodies and engines, from 2021 classic car fans will be spoiled for choice as to which 3 Series will be their favorite for the coveted H license plate.

The third generation of the BMW 3 Series (E36) will be presented to the press in November, initially only as a four-door sedan. The predecessor (E30) will continue to run as a two-door sedan, touring and convertible for the time being. As a four-door BMW 316i, 318i, 320i and 325i, the E36 arrived in the showrooms of German BMW dealers in January 1991. While the four-cylinder engines are practically unchanged, the six-cylinder 320i and 325i now have two camshafts and four valves per combustion chamber


Start of production for the 318is, 320i and 325i Coupés in May. The sedan can be ordered with a diesel engine as 325td.



Production of the M3 Coupé will start in March, with the variable cam adjustment Vanos in the 210 kW / 286 PS six-cylinder.


The six-cylinder engines of the BMW 3 Series Coupé, also presented in 1992, also featured the new technology for the benefit of lower fuel consumption and more torque on low tours.

BMW continues successful 3 Series 1992-1999: BMW 325i Coupé (E36) The 325i Coupé can be accelerated to 100 km / h in 8.6 seconds and has a top speed of 229 km / h. With the 325i Coupé, the renewal of the 3 series at BMW is almost complete; a convertible version followed a year later. In the German registration statistics, the 3-series BMW ranks behind the VW Golf and the Opel Astra and in 1993 had to assert itself against the new Mercedes C-Class. The 3 series includes the sedan, coupé and convertible types. In 1994 the “entry-level model”, the 3-compact with short tail, shortened by 22 cm, was added. Sportiness and dynamism also apply to the 3 Series. The engine range includes two four-cylinder engines with 1.6 cubic capacity and 102 HP (316i) as well as with a cubic capacity of 1.8 liters and 115 HP (318i). There are also two six-cylinder engines with four-valve technology: the 320i with a 2-liter engine (150 hp) and the 325i with a 2.5-liter in-line six-cylinder (192 hp). In addition, a turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 2.5 liters and 115 hp is offered, the 325td. In the 1994 model year, the 325tds supplements the diesel range with an additional intercooler and 143 hp, i.e. an additional 28 hp. A smooth and precise gearshift, the well-coordinated chassis with a sporty character, the standard power steering and good brakes with anti-lock braking system ensure extensive driving comfort. The aerodynamically-functionally shaped body of the four-door sedan received the “Car Design Award 1992” from the Italian automobile designers. A driver airbag is standard from 1994. The 325i Coupé combines smooth running with power. In order to achieve better axle load distribution, the battery was relegated from the engine compartment to the rear. The added convenience compared to the 320i – including electric windows, fog lights, light metal rims, headlight washers – is also associated with a considerable surcharge.


In the German registration statistics, the 3 Series BMW takes third place behind the Opel Astra and VW Golf. 318i, 320i and 325i convertibles as well as the 316i coupé complete the range. The BMW 3 Series competes in various touring car racing series. In the BMW 325tds, a new six-cylinder diesel with turbocharging and intercooler mobilizes 105 kW / 143 hp and a maximum torque of 260 Newton meters.

BMW presents new 3-series convertible 1993-1999: BMW 3-series convertible model (E36) The 325i with 2.5-liter in-line six-cylinder and 192 hp is the top model of the new 3-series convertible. You can accelerate the new 325i convertible to 100 km / h in 8.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 229 km / h. The new convertible version of the 325i was presented at the 1993 Geneva Motor Show. The body is derived from the 3 Series Coupé. The car has an electrically operated hood, but not a roll bar. The 325i is a real convertible: the side windows can be completely retracted and the function of the roll bar is taken over by the windshield frame and the rear head restraints, which extend automatically in the event of a rollover. Initially, the open car was only available with the in-line six-cylinder of the 325i, followed by weaker variants such as the 318i with 115 hp and a four-cylinder engine. The 325i is equipped with four-valve technology and has two overhead camshafts and a crankshaft with seven bearings. The fuel is supplied via a gasoline injection.


The three-door 316i Compact will celebrate its premiere in April, and the Compact will also be available as a 318i from autumn. At the same time, the 318tds with charge-air-cooled four-cylinder turbodiesel was launched as a sedan and, from summer 1995, also as a compact.
Youthfully styled and very solid – the 3 Series Compact 1994-2000: BMW 3 Series Compact Model (E36) The new 3 Series Compact is 4.21 m long and has enough space for five people: two doors, a large tailgate. All the advantages of the 3 series are combined: variability, safety, comfort. The motto for this vehicle is: youthfully styled, agile, manoeuvrable, the ideal city car. The new 3 Series Compact is available in four different engine variants, all models have rear-wheel drive, the entry-level model is the 316i Compact with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and 102 hp. The 3-series Compact is also available with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (4 valves) with 140 HP, the 318ti Compact (later with the M44 engine it is 1.9-liter and 140 HP). The top model is the 323ti Compact with a 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine and 170 hp. There is also a 1665 cc four-cylinder diesel engine with 90 hp, the 318tds Compact. The new 3 Series Compact is equipped with power steering, driver airbag and anti-lock braking system as standard.



A new generation of six-cylinder petrol engines is being launched in the BMW 3 Series. The previous gray cast iron construction is replaced by a lightweight aluminum housing. In addition, the displacement of the top engine has been increased from 2.5 to 2.8 liters (in the 328i). With an average consumption of 8.5 liters per 100 kilometers, the BMW 328i is more than one liter below the average value of its competitors. A 3.2-liter unit with an output of 236 kW / 321 hp is now used in the M3. Premiere of the Z3 roadster in the James Bond film “Golden Eye”, which will go on sale the following year.




Model update for the E36 series in autumn. The types 316i, 323i and 325tds Touring are new. New fresh-air roadster from BMW – the Z3 1996-200 ?: BMW Z3 Roadster model BMW presented the new Z3 Roadster in 1996 at the same time as the James Bond film “Golden Eye”. Four different engines are available, the entry-level model of the Z3 Roadster 1.8 has a 115 hp four-cylinder engine that accelerates the BMW, which weighs just 1255 kg, to 100 km / h in 10.5 seconds. The top speed of the base model is 194 km / h. Another model in the Z3 series is the Z3 Roadster 1.9 with 140 hp, which takes one second less to sprint to 100 km / h than the Z3 Roadster 1.8 and has a top speed of 11 km / h more. The Z3 Roadster 2.8 has a 2.8-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that has an output of 192 hp and accelerates the car to 100 km / h in 7.1 seconds. The top speed of the Z3 Roadster 2.8 is 218 km / h. The top model is the Z3 M Roadster which has a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine with 321 hp. Thanks to this strong performance, the sprint to 100 km / h is accomplished in just 5.4 seconds. The top speed is limited to 250 km / h. In 1998 a Z3 Coupé followed with two different engines, the Z3 Coupé 2.8 and the Z3 M Coupé. The engines are the same as on the Z3 Roadster. A facelift for all Z3 Roadster models follows in 1999. A successor to the Z3 Roadster is due to hit the German market at the end of 2002.


Fresh face for the 3 series 1996-1999:

BMW 3-series model (E36) In 1996 BMW presented the 3-series with a fresh. In addition, you can choose between a total of eleven different engines, the entry-level model is, as before, the 316i with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and 102 hp. A 316i sedan with standard equipment costs around 39,000 DM in 1996. The top model is the M3 with a 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder engine and 321 hp. An M3 sedan costs over DM 88,000 in 1996. Two years later, the 3-series sedan was replaced by its successor, and the other 3-series models were gradually replaced by the revised 3-series. The 3 Series is the most successful BMW model series in 1996 and today.




The type 323ti Compact will be presented in January.

M GmbH presents the world’s first sequential SMG transmission. The last BMW M3 sedan rolls off the assembly line in December. The 316i Touring is new for this



The fourth generation of the BMW 3 Series will be launched as a sedan in May and the predecessor will gradually be replaced. In May, a BMW 320d (E36) won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring under the works team led by Hans-Joachim Stuck,

the first victory of a diesel direct injection engine in a 24-hour run. The BMW 318is (E36) will go on sale in summer.




The BMW 3 Series Coupé of the E36 series will be discontinued in May, the M3 Cabriolet in August, and the other convertible types in autumn.



The last BMW 3 Series Compact of the E36 series will be produced in August

BMW 3er (E36) production figures:
Insgesamt 2.745.773 Millionen Einheiten, davon
333.163 Einheiten 316i Limousine,
493.938 Einheiten 318i Limousine,
197.587 Einheiten 320i Limousine,
35.811 Einheiten 323i Limousine,
173.578 Einheiten 325i Limousine,
75.557 Einheiten 328i Limousine,
48.520 Einheiten 318tds Limousine,
12.603 Einheiten M3 Limousine,
371.067 Einheiten 3er compact,
386.570 Einheiten 3er Coupé,
46.525 Einheiten M3 Coupé
105.606 Einheiten 3er touring,
164.255 Einheiten 3er Cabrio,
12.114 Einheiten M3 Cabrio
310 Einheiten Baur Top Cabriolet.

BMW 3er (E36) Typen, Motorisierungen und Karosserievarianten:

BMW 316i als Limousine/Compact/Touring/Coupé/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 1,6-Liter-Vierzylinder-Benziner (73 kW/100 PS bzw. 75 kW/102 PS)
BMW 316g als Compact mit 1,6-Liter-Vierzylinder-Benzin- bzw. Erdgasantrieb (75 kW/102 PS mit Benzinantrieb und 60 kW/82 PS mit Erdgasantrieb)
BMW 318i als Limousine/Compact/Touring/Cabrio/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 1,8-Liter-Vierzylinder-Benziner (83 kW/113 PS bzw. 85 kW/115 PS)
BMW 318is/318ti als Limousine/Compact/Coupé/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 1,8-Liter-Vierzylinder-Benziner (103 kW/140 PS)
BMW 320i als Limousine/Compact/Touring/Coupé/Cabrio/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 2,0-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (110 kW/150 PS)
BMW 323i/323ti als Limousine/Compact/Touring/Coupé/Cabrio mit 2,5-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (125 kW/170 PS)
BMW 325i als Limousine/Coupé/Cabrio/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 2,5-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (141 kW/192 PS)
BMW 328i als Limousine/Touring/Coupé/Cabrio mit 2,8-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (142 kW/193 PS)
BMW M3 als Limousine/Coupé/Cabrio mit 3,0-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (210 kW/286 PS)
BMW M3 GT als Coupé mit 3,0-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (217 kW/295 PS)
BMW M3 als Limousine/Coupé/Cabrio mit 3,2-Liter-Sechszylinder-Benziner (236 kW/321 PS)
BMW 318tds als Limousine/Compact/Touring mit 1,7-Liter-Vierzylinder-Diesel (66 kW/90 PS)
BMW 325td als Limousine/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 2,5-Liter-Sechszylinder-Diesel (85 kW/115 PS)
BMW 325tds als Limousine/Touring/Baur Top Cabriolet mit 2,5-Liter-Sechszylinder-Diesel (105 kW/143 PS)