BMW 328i Sport Convertible
Cost new: £23,600 Value now: £6250
Six-cylinder surge and exemplary condition make this E36 a smart summer choice
There used to be a time when E36s were just track fodder. Until recently, even the M3 wasn't deemed worthy of more than track day abuse. Times are changing, however...
Type ‘E36’ into Instagram and you'll unlock an entire world of 3 Series love. While M3s and 328i prices have been on the rise for some time and equivalent E30 cabriolets climbing out of the £10k barrier and beyond, this E36, at roughly half that figure is definitely worth a look.
The Orient Blue paintwork looks excellent, and there are only a few very minor blemishes to report – there are a couple of tiny scratches to the bootlid and the driver’s door. Panel gaps are as they left the factory, and we struggled to find any stone chips to the nose. The canvas roof is new (at a cost of £800) and the Motorsport wheels are completely unblemished; they wear Avons up front and Bridgestones on the rear.
The interior is in great overall condition, with only a slightly loose driver’s door panel being the only major area of note (a common E36 issue). Elsewhere there’s just a tiny mark on the passenger door and handle, plus a little bit of damage to the plastic around the seat surround. There’s also a minor tear on the passenger’s seat. These are only minor considerations – the seats show only minor creasing.
This three-owner car has seven stamps in the service book and many invoices which point to excellent long-term care.
On the road this 328i’s six-cylinder surge is addictive; there’s plenty of punch and the undiluted scream it makes with the roof down is a noise you’ll want to relish again and again. The five-speed manual gearbox is precise and positive, and the brakes are strong while remaining predictable.
The handling is sharp and incisive, and the suspension is smooth (compared to more modern Beemers) and compliant; we didn't experience any peculiar noises or rattles through the drivetrain or suspension. It feels like a car that’s done half the mileage.
With fairly low miles, superb provenance and generally excellent condition, this represents good value for money compared to an E30 Cabriolet in similar condition. It’s also a much better driver’s car if you want to do more than just look good too. With the E36 on the cusp of ultra-desirability, this price may seem cheap in a year or so’s time.
BMW 328i Cabriolet (E36) -
On sale at: Stone Cold Classics stonecoldclassics.com
Engine: 2793cc, 6-cyl, DOHC
Transmission: RWD, 5-speed manual
Top speed: 143mph
Choose your BMW 3 Series (E36)
Choose your BMW 3 SERIES (e36)
1990: E36 3 Series launched, originally just in four-door form.
1991: Two-door coupé launched.
1993: Cabriolet version added; 3-door hatchback Compact also joined the lineup.
1994: Touring estate version joined the range.
1995: 328i tops the non-M range, using new M52 engines.
1998: Production of the saloon E36 saloon ceases.
1999: Production of the coupe, Touring and Convertible ends.
2000: Compact production comes to an end.