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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-15-2006, 03:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What is the best E36?

What E-36 is the best to buy? Year and trim?
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Old 07-15-2006, 03:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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m3??
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Old 07-15-2006, 06:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"best" is a subjective term. Deifne your measure of goodness.

I would suggest a 1998 M3 sedan with the luxury package. But that may just be me.
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 be more descriptive... best is such a broad range or winnings... hell it could all be opinion with more people...
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Old 07-15-2006, 09:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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+2, More Description. Some people like 'newer' some like power, some like luxury, some dont like OBD-II.

With the Exception of the E36 M3, I would say the best all around E36 would be a fully loaded (Cold Weather, Luxury and Sport packages) 328i/is. I prefer sedans, but thats me.
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Old 07-16-2006, 12:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Looking for a 4 door sedan. I am a college student so reliability, versatility, space for moving stuff to and from college, good gas milage is a plus, good accel, and handeling would be nice, but I think an M is out of my price range, and would sky rocket my insurance. I need a good daily driver that has style and power, but is conventional and practical.
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Old 07-16-2006, 12:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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^^ in that case, I would go with the cleanest, lowest mileage sedan I could find. The 318i has very good fuel economy (Delmarco, a member on this forum, says he gets about 36 mpg on his), and -- being honest -- enough power to get around and rev up the engine every once in a while. However, you can get a 328i or a 325i for close to the same price. These latter two give you a decent amount of extra power and, more importantly, torque. The official numbers are 29/21 mpg hwy/city, I believe. I get about 22mpg combined on a 328i that gives me 29mpg on road trips. Another good thing about the 328i (model years 1996-98) and 325i (92-95), is that you are more likely to find one with the luxury features than if you are looking among 318i's. The 1992 325i models have a weak subframe, that tends to crack, so you should watch out for those and ensure that the frame has been properly reinforced, or prepare to have to pay to do so.

My personal recommendation would be the newest 328i you can find. Keep adding any specifics (e.g., your price range) so that we can help you narrow down your search.
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Umm look also at Alpina's
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Unfortunately my price range tops out at around $6000, though that depends on what I can get for my car. Thanks for the great info.
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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+1 for a 318i/is... since you want the extra room go for the i even though there isn't that big of a difference. I do approx 300 miles on 1/2 tank of gas on highway/interstate more than 60% of it is highway with passing... and that's while speeding. If there's little traffic I can keeep the needle fully on the full side of the half mark if there's traffic then it's right on the half mark.

Just look for the lowest mileage and the best maintained you can find. I would give up quite a bit of mileage for a maintianed car, these cars will run forever if they have been maintianed. Go for 1995+ because they have less to no subframe issues. If you want to do any mods stick with 95 if it does not matter 96+ would be fine.
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

I would say go for a 318i, its very reliable, good on gas, low insurance costs and has plenty of pep to get you going on the highway and have some fun and it handles great too. get a 4 door saloon tho,
Well i have one and its just great in todays gas prizes, i get around 28mpg mixed driving.

Get one after 1997 tho becuz it has all the goodies like , alloy wheels, digital climate control and a 8 speaker sound system, and there are so many changes made after 1997 so get one after that year.

Comment on what ya think

Best of luck on finding a nice car.

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Old 07-17-2006, 07:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekid
+1 for a 318i/is... since you want the extra room go for the i even though there isn't that big of a difference. I do approx 300 miles on 1/2 tank of gas on highway/interstate more than 60% of it is highway with passing... and that's while speeding. If there's little traffic I can keeep the needle fully on the full side of the half mark if there's traffic then it's right on the half mark.

Just look for the lowest mileage and the best maintained you can find. I would give up quite a bit of mileage for a maintianed car, these cars will run forever if they have been maintianed. Go for 1995+ because they have less to no subframe issues. If you want to do any mods stick with 95 if it does not matter 96+ would be fine.
Well if your gonna do mods, i wouldn't get a 318, if u want the MPG i would. Even a S/C 318 does about what a 328 does...
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The only thing about the 318 is I have heard that is really underpowered compared to the 325 or 328. Is that true? Plus I am not sure how much money I will have to mod the car for a while, so if I was to just leave an e-36 stock, which is better, 318 or 325/328. One other thing that concerns me is the road I travel to and from college is quite hilly. There are some pretty steep grades to travel up for an several miles. How would the 318 do there? Thanks for all the great feed back, it really helps.
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hey nice to point that out,

I actually took my 318i on a hilly twistie road, i was doing like 40 most of the time, unless a sharp turn came, but i was surprised to see the handling,it handles so nice, all u gotta do is keep it in second or drop in 3rd if there is a little open road, and plus keeping it in second will also give u some more traction using the engine power and it also gets out of the turns pretty quick in 2nd, but yeah its a nice car, Well people think its underpowered but its actually not, its got plenty of pep once u drive it you will know, besides if u want to spend like 1500-2k bucks more get the 325i. but if u want to be economical then get the 318,
The engine of the 318 begs to be revved and i think its pretty damn cool.
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Old 07-18-2006, 07:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Cool. That really helps. How about going up hill on an interstate at around 70mph, will it hold that speed without straining too much? Also, how reliable is the i4 engine, I've heard that the i6 in the 325/328 is one of BMW's best engines, is that true?
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