I can't believe you just happened to post this today. Just two hours ago, I took my Volvo out to get a tire put on. When the wheel was off, I started examining... I saw the various springs, arms, joints and, most notably, what I thought must have been a sway bar (due to the certain curved shape of it). It was neat to see and be able to recognize all the parts I hear talked about around here.
It was also a good feeling to have coincidentally also gotten a chance to further apply the knowledge I've been picking up here and elsewhere in spotting and diagnosing a problem in my Mom's Camry today. Just like I've read of our E36'es, her Camry's radiator top ("shoulder", I think I've heard?) was plastic and it was busted. It was cracked and the nastiest coolant (a muddy maroon color) you've ever seen was splattered about the underside of the hood. New, metal radiatior is now in! :]
Can't wait to get my E36 and really start to learnin'! :]]
P.S.: the thing I figured for the sway bar was just what your referring to, so either we're both right or we're both wrong, but I'm pretty certain it's the former.
DISCLAIMER: I don't yet actually drive a BMW. Currently, I proudly drive a '93 Volvo 940, the inspiration for my love of RWD cars.