I agree. The four cylinder is not the best choice for the weight of the convertable. If you must a get a 318 for insurance purposes, you MUST get a stick, or it will be slower than hell.
Common problems with the earlier e36 include a plastic impeller waterpump, while later models have metal. THe plastic ones fail without warning, so if you get an earlier model check to see if it has been replaced.
make sure the top goes up and down without any problems. Drive it and see if there is any hesitation.
<span style='color:gray'><span style='font-family:Courier'>1995 e36 3 Series RIP
1999 e46 3 Series BURN IN HELL
2000 MR-S Roadster= Current</span></span>