In an age of technology which has distanced the driver from involvement in the driving experience, it’s nice to know you can still turn to a few manufacturers to get your kicks. The 3 series sedan is one of the few BMWs left which you can spec with a manual gearbox, and this 335i with a 6-speed manual represents the top of the lineup with the 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 producing just over 300 horsepower. This example comes equipped with the Sports Package, which included tighter suspension, sport seats, staggered size wheels and an oil cooler. While the 340i is now the top dog in the 3 series lineup, this 335i represents about just as much car at a sizable discount.
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Almost 14 years after the re-introduction of the MINI brand in the US, BMW seems to have made a rather shrewd move in keeping this marque in their fold. It seems a distant memory, then, when BMW tried its hand at a small hatchback in the form of a shortened E36 3 series. The Compact, as it became known, would be the entry point for those seeking that BMW badge in the 1990s. The US market would only receive the 318ti, powered by the 1.9 liter inline-4 that also found a home in such cars as the 318i sedan and Z3 roadster. This 318ti for sale in Missouri is in fantastic shape, equipped with a 5-speed manual and the M Sport package and looks rather sharp in Alpine White.
Click for details: 1999 BMW 318ti M Sport on eBay
Right before the turn of the century, the sun would set on the E36 BMW M3. This was the M3 that would make the fast 3 series formula a bit more accessible to the armchair enthusiast than its predecessor. For the first time, a four-door variant was offered and, gasp, an automatic gearbox. In addition, a 3.2 liter, six-cylinder engine would supplant the 2.3 liter inline-4 with Formula 1 DNA that was offered in the iconic M3. This final year M3 for sale from our friends at Automobili Limited. It’s a low-mileage example equipped with the 5-speed manual gearbox and Style 23 M Contour wheels finished in the desirable and rare Dakar Yellow.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 at Automobili Limited
As E30 Touring imports pick up some steam, we get to see a wider variety of the wagon offerings the rest of the world has known about for over 25 years. We’ve seen the base-model 318i up to the rare all-wheel drive 325ix, each providing a sharp package with fun driving dynamics while enabling hauls that a standard trunk could never hope to handle. With many examples coming from the right-hand-drive UK, you have to decide if such a great overall package is worth the brain reorganization necessary to appropriately traverse our LHD roads.
This is one of those bassackwards drivers but brings a very distinct look thanks to a rare (especially on wagons) M-Tech body kit normally present only on the ix models, complementing the E30’s clean top lines with fender flares, exaggerated front and rear valences, and side skirts. 16″ Style 5 wheels help fill those enlarged fenders resulting in an overall package that looks both clean and aggressive. The automatic transmission is the other main detraction besides RHD, but we’ve forgiven autos on great-looking E34 wagons in favor of good looks and utility, so why not do the same here?
Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i Touring on eBay
While the BMW E30 M3 is experiencing epic levels of popularity, for yours truly, it’s not my favorite of the lot. No, my favorite would be the E36 M3. I’ve always had a thing for this car, even if it’s heart was based on the M50 inline-6 found in lesser E36 models. There is something about the crisp lines of the E36 that grabs my attention, as the E46 which followed was a bit softer in appearance. Today, we no longer have a two-door M3. Instead, we’ve moved up a number to the M4. Even though it’s “technically” an M3, I’m not too keen on driving a car with the same name as a motorway in the United Kingdom. So let’s take a look at this 1997 M3 for sale in Illinois. Finished in Estoril Blue, this one has yet to cross the 70,000 mile mark.