The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the modelâ€™s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bondâ€™s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all â€“ in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand â€“ especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if youâ€™re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the â€œSâ€ motors in the front, you can still get a nice inline-six tied to a manual in a roadster.
By 1995, the BMW 325i had long established itself as the benchmark by which all other sedans were judged. Though it had only appeared in the United States for the 1992 model year, Europeans had access to the E36 as early as 1990. That meant they by 1995, the model was in need of a refresh and BMW was happy to oblige. But as the U.S. market was occupied by the M3 launch, the new non-M range-topper’s appearance would have to wait until 1996.
When the 328i did arrive, it was very much a case of ‘meet the new boss’; while not a fresh design, the light updates were met with more power to continue the 3-series’ reign at the top of the sales charts. The revised M52B28 was installed, and though it was more evolution than revolution, it was pretty good at spinning the needle thanks to 15% more torque than the M50 (207 v. 181). That meant real-world power and acceleration were at your hands, and matched with a manual gearbox the new 328i’s 0-60 time dropped into the low 7-second range. The changes carried over to the popular convertible range, which offered considerably more 4-seat sport than either the Audi Cabriolet or the E320 Convertible. At over $41,000 out the door, perhaps it should have, but then that price guaranteed that the drop-top 3-series would be prized by those lucky enough to order them.
Today, finding an E36 for sale isn’t very hard. But with the newest nearly 20 years old, finding a good one can be. These days, fewer and fewer appear like this very low mileage, well equipped 328iC:
CLICK TO EMAIL SELLER: 1998 BMW 328iC
Here’s an interesting one that has had me scratching my head quite a bit. What originally caught my eye was the bright Estoril Blue Metallic sitting on some refinished E46 Style 67 wheels. It was worth a second eyeball, which resulted in me noticing it was a 4-door. CLICK – I’m interested in seeing more. Once in the posting, the title became even more interesting – Racing Dynamics RD Sport? Lesser known than Alpina or Hartge, but still producers of some pretty trick products. 3.6 liter motor? 6-speed? TELL ME MORE!!!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan 3.6 Widebody 6-speed on eBay
A couple of weeks ago I wrote up aÂ 1995Â 530i.Â I notedÂ that despite classically handsome styling and a spot-on chassis, the E34Â 5-series has remained curiouslyÂ under appreciated, with the exception perhaps of the M5 variant. Â At the time, IÂ admitted that theÂ particular example I postedÂ (anÂ automatic with the relatively underpowered 3.0 V8) wasn’t exactly the best of the range. ThisÂ 525i probably offers a better all round package than the 530i, and is more likely to beÂ attractive to those looking for a cheap but dynamic daily driver.Â While it’s not in quite the sameÂ condition as that other car, this oneÂ arguably has a better engine and comes in a better color,Â with aÂ more competitive asking price. ItÂ also featuresÂ that all important thirdÂ pedal.