Is BMW E36 a good car?

Is BMW E36 a good car?

BMW E36 is one of the best compact executive cars on the market. It is a practical, comfortable, reliable, and fun drive. Additionally, this car is fuel-efficient and one of the most advanced cars of its generation. But is the BMW E36 a good car?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you desire a high-performance, reliable, practical, and fuel-efficient executive car, the BMW E36 is a nice option. But if you want a comfortable and low-maintenance compact executive car, you will have to look elsewhere.

History of the BMW E36

The BMW E36 is a compact executive car made by BMW. It is part of the third-generation BMW 3-Series. This model was made between 1990 and 2002. On top of that, it came in various body styles, which include four-door sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon, hatchback, and rare four-door convertible Baur TC4.

It is also vital to note that the BMW E36 was the first 3-Series to be offered in the hatchback body style. What’s more, it was the first 3-Series to be fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, a five-speed automatic transmission, and a four-cylinder diesel engine.

Features of the BMW E36


When you compare the BMW E36 with cars of its generation, you will find that it was one of the best-looking cars at that time. Regardless, this car still looks excellent, although the appearance also differs according to the body style you pick.

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All in all, the BMW E36 is a nice-looking car with lots of advanced features. The interior is also cozy and it has high-end safety features that keep the occupants safe. Of all the BMW E36 body styles, the convertible is the most elegant.


The BMW E36 comes with various trims. On top of that, it has different models to pick from, which include petrol and diesel options. Some of the petrol options are 316i, 318i, 320i, 323i, 325i, 328i, and M3. On the contrary, the diesel options are 318 tds, 325 td, 325 tds, and 325 tds automatic.

If you want a high-performance BMW E36, the M3 is the best choice. This car is fitted with two engine options, which are the 3.0-liter inline6 S50 and 3.2-liter inline 6 S52 engines. The S52 engine produces a maximum of 240 hp and 36 lb-ft of torque.

On top of that, it has a maximum speed of 155 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

Comfort and cargo space

One of the best-selling points of this car is its spaciousness and practicality. The BMW 36 hatchback offers the most space, followed by the sedan. The coupe and convertible are not as spacious as the former. The sedan and the hatchback body styles can seat up to five people and carry a lot of luggage.

On the contrary, the convertible and coupe feature two doors and can only carry up to two people. Furthermore, they have a smaller trunk space, meaning that you will carry less luggage compared to the sedan and hatchback body styles.

Fuel efficiency

The BMW 36 is one of the most fuel-efficient BMWs on the market. It comes with an EPA rating of 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and a combined 21 mpg. Note that this EPA rating is for the 1995 BMW E36. Overall, the BMW 3-Series is a high-efficiency car, meaning that users will spend less money on fuel compared to the BMW 5-Series.

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Since the BMW E36 was discontinued in 2002, you can only find quality used BMW E36 models on the market. As expected, the price of a used E36 will vary according to the state of the car. Most used BMW E36 go for around $21,000. On the contrary, a BMW E36 M3 in good condition may be costlier as it slowly becoming an iconic car.


Is BMW E36 a good car?

It depends on what type of car you’re looking at. If you need a high-performance compact executive car with great handling and steering, the BMW E36 is the best choice. But if you want a car with fewer problems and exceptional comfort, you may have to look elsewhere.

If you compare Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class to the BMW E36, you will find that they offer more comfort and luxury.

What are the common problems with BMW E36?

If you’re planning to buy a used BMW E36, it is important to know some of the problems that you’re likely to face along the way. Common BMW E36 include a faulty water pump, rust, rough idle, bad valve cover gasket, brake light circuit error, weak rear subframe, and radiator leaks.

How long does the BMW E36 last?

The BMW E36 is one of the most durable and dependable BMW models on the market. If well-maintained and driven, the BMW E36 can last over 200,000 miles. All the owner has to do is to ensure that they adhere to BMW’s scheduled maintenance service.

How fast is the BMW E36 M3?

The BMW E36 is a high-performance BMW with lots of outstanding trim options. Nonetheless, the best-performing trim option is the BMW E36 M3. This is a high-performance trim hat is fitted with a 3.2-liter S52 I6 engine. Besides, it delivers a top speed of 155 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

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Which car is better – BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class?

The BMW 3-Series is sportier with better handling and steering. It also performs slightly better than the Mercedes C-Class. On the other hand, the Mercedes C-Class is more comfortable, advanced, and with a quieter ride. It is also safer and more luxurious than the BMW 3-Series.

So, if you’re looking for better performance, the BMW 3-Series is the better car. But if you desire class, comfort, and luxury, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class takes the day.

Bottom line

Overall, the BMW E36 is a nice, reliable, comfortable, and high-performance car. Like most BMWs, this model also comes with a few problems that interested buyers should know about, but most of these issues can be done away with proper maintenance.

Besides, the BMW E36 has above-average reliability and it is very practical. And with its high fuel efficiency, it can be a good daily driver.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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