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Own a Monster: The Legendary BMW E36

The BMW E36 model is known for its style and aerodynamic qualities. If it's always been your dream to own a BMW E36 but you couldn't afford the expensive price tag to buy it right off the lot, then you might be pleased to learn that you can buy a pre-owned BMW E36 on eBay for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

BMW E36 body styles

The BMW E36 was the third generation of BMW 3-series cars. The model was on sale between 1990 and 2000. Instead of their engine specifications, BMW E36 for sale are classified according to their body styles. Five of these were available.

The most common of these is a 4-door sedan manufactured between 1990 and 1998. A similar 2-door coupé was also available throughout these years until the end of 1998. Other variants included a 2-door convertible and a 4-door Top Cabriolet convertible E36 for sale. Similarly, a 5-door wagon was marketed as Touring BMW E36 in the UK. A 3-door hatchback completed the line-up, which was produced until the end of 1999.

The overall body style was heavily influenced by aerodynamics, which is evident by the wedge-shaped design, headlight covers, and smaller wing mirrors. In fact, it was the design that sparked the initial interest in buyers. Depending on the body style, two types of petrol and diesel engines were supplied. The diesel engine was a turbocharged I4 or I6.

What type of engine power was available with each model?

The BMW E36 used either a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder petrol variant. The diesel engine was initially introduced as a turbocharged straight-6 version, which was later replaced with a 4-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engine in specific models.

You can easily determine the engine power by looking at the numbers corresponding to the model of the petrol-driven cars. The baseline 316i model uses a 98 HP engine that increases in power as identified by subsequent higher model numbers such as 318, 318i, 320, and 325i. The most powerful 328i petrol engine can generate 190 HP at 5,500 rpm. The only exception to this rule is the M3, which could produce a massive 316 HP in the European version.

The diesel models also followed a similar pattern, in which the 325 tds used a more powerful 141 HP engine compared to the 325 td or 318 tds.

The BMW E36/5 hatchback

Among the five body styles of E36 line-up, one of the most distinct is the hatchback. Code named E36/5, it was the first hatchback from BMW since 1974. From its A-pillar rearwards, the car structure differs from that of the other models, which means that it is slightly shorter, but the wheelbase is the same. It was designed to attract a younger clientele by offering such extras as a large sunroof and a folding canvas roof. It also had folding rear seats and underwent a face-lift in 1996 with upgraded tail-lights, grille, bumpers, and mirrors.