The BMW E36 series is the third generation of the BMW 3 Series range of compact executive cars, and was produced from 1990 to 2000.
In the fall of 1990, the international press was invited to the BMW test site in the town of Miramas. It was here, in the south of France, that the first meeting with the new generation of the 3 Series was to take place. At that time, Internet technologies, as well as an industry of autospying, have not stepped so far ahead, therefore the appearance of new model up to the very last moment remained a mystery even for journalists. However, the effect at the presentation has turned out to be even stronger. When the veil was pulled off the car under the index E36, the astonishment of gathered people had no limits!
Highlights: new independent rear suspension, debut of VANOS variable valve timing system.
If the style of the E30 was rightly called evolutionary, then the new generation of the “three” sharply changed the vector of the entire BMW design. New proportions, new dimensions, new headlights, new branded “nostrils” of the radiator grille. In a word, everything was new! Immediately presented in four-door form factor of the classic sedan (another difference from its predecessors), E36 turned out to be even noticeably larger. Not only outside but also inside. Passengers of former “three-series” didn’t even dream about such spacious couch.
But the large-scale Munich revolution was not limited to appearance and comfort. The car received a different gauge (narrower at the front and wider at the rear), as well as a completely new independent rear suspension. The kinematics of the so-called Z-axle (Z-suspension) was carefully calculated to reduce oversteer, which sometimes complained E21 and E30 owners.
The increase in size and weight was more than compensated by a line of more powerful engines. Even the base motor for the first time in the history of 3-series exceeded 100 horsepower, and the most popular versions 320i and 325i easily accelerated the car to speeds well over 200 km/h.
The design, both exterior and interior, was so successful that the 1996 restyling had virtually no effect on the car’s appearance. Only the engine lineup was affected by the changes.
Unsurprisingly, the third generation 3-Series, being larger, more comfortable, safer and faster, once again broke BMW’s sales record.
Production years: December 1990 – August 2000
Designer: Pinky Lai and Boyke Boyer
Production (units, total): 2 745 780
Top model: BMW M3
Max.power: 321 hp
Top speed: 250 km/h
0—100 km/h: 5.4 sec
Wheelbase: 2,700 mm (106.3 in)
Length: 4,433 mm (174.5 in)
Width: 1,710 mm (67.3 in)
Height: 1,366–1,390 mm (53.8–54.7 in)
Curb weight: 1,315–1,395 kg (2,899–3,075 lb)
Reviews: BMW Blog
Equipped with straight 6 petrol (gasoline) engine with 2990 ccm capacity it produces 286 Hp and 210 kW power at 7000 rpm and 320 Nm torque at 3600 rpm with top claim speed 250 km/h and acceleration 0-100 km/h in 6,2 s
Equipped with straight 6 petrol (gasoline) engine with 2793 ccm capacity it produces 193 Hp and 142 kW power at 5300 rpm and 280 Nm torque at 3950 rpm with top claim speed 226 km/h and acceleration 0-100 km/h in 8,4 s
Equipped with straight 6 petrol (gasoline) engine with 3201 ccm capacity it produces 321 Hp and 236 kW power at 7400 rpm and 350 Nm torque at 3250 rpm with top claim speed 250 km/h and acceleration 0-100 km/h in 5,6 s
Equipped with straight 6 petrol (gasoline) engine with 2793 ccm capacity it produces 193 Hp and 142 kW power at 5300 rpm and 280 Nm torque at 3950 rpm with top claim speed 230 km/h and acceleration 0-100 km/h in 7,7 s