BMW E36 3-Series

The BMW E36 3-series is the third generation of the compact executive range of cars produced by the German automaker BMW and nick named the Dolphin shape. It was available as 4 door sedan and four models were available namely the 316i, 318i, 320i, and 325i.

The development of these popular cars began in July 1981 and was introduced in late 1990 as a 1991 model and in 1992 for USA and Canadian markets. The BMW E36 3-series is the third generation of the compact executive range of cars produced by the German automaker BMW. There were four models available namely the 316i, 318i, 320i, and 325i. The development of these cars began in July 1981 and was introduced in late 1990 as a 1991 model and in 1992.

It was the successor to the E30 3 Series and was replaced by the E46 3 Series range in 1998. The four cylinder models had the M40 engine from the E30 3-Series. In 1991 the 325td came available and had a straight-6 cylinder diesel engine that produced 115 Hp.


The BMW E36 experienced enormous success in the market of which it laid a good foundation for BMW’s success that the E46 was known for, and in subsequent years which made it the number 1 selling cars. In 1992 the new coupe was introduced. It was available as 318is, 320i and 325i. The 318is had the same 16 valve engine as the E30 318is but now had 140 HP.

The BMW E36 was sold from 1991 through 1999 of which all E36 saloons, coupes, and station wagon estates employed the "Z-axle" or multilink axle suspension system on the rearend. The hatchback body style, known as the E36 or BMW Compact was identical to the regular E36 from front bumper to A-pillar. In order to save space due to its truncated rear end, the Compact used a rear end semi trailing arm suspension based on the older E30.

In 1993 the 325tds and the 325i convertible came available and in 1994 the 318i and 320i convertible came available. The hatchback body style, known as the BMW Compact was introduced in 1995 starting with the 318ti, being very popular in Europe. The Touring estate station wagon series was sold in Europe from 1995, but was not available in the United States.

The cars were fitted with DOHC engines across the range except in entry level models with VANOS cylinder head configurations which varied the valve timing according to throttle position and RPM. The 2.5 litre M50B25 used in the 325i models was replaced in 1996 with the 2.8 litre M52B28 which was called and referred to as 328 3-Series. Another 2.5 L straight-6 cylinder engine was the M52B25 which produced 170 Hp was reintroduced for the year 1998 but labeled the 323i rather than 325i as per the badges fitted to the boot lids.

The coupe and touring were available until 1999 and the convertible went out of production in the year 2000, with the compact going out of production in 2001.

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