1997 BMW 328i (E36)

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - ClassicCrasForSale.co.uk - Theo Ford-Sagers

EN­GINE 2793cc/6-cyl/DOHC POWER 193bhp@5300rpm TORQUE 206lb ft@3950rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 116mph 0-60MPH 8.6sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 23-31mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, five-speed auto MoT 12 months ODOMETER 43,080 miles

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

Plant­ing the throt­tle quickly pro­pels the car to mo­tor­way speeds and the au­to­matic gear­box changes smoothly – even dur­ing up-shifts on the over­run– and holds ra­tios to the red line in ‘sport’ mode. There are no ad­verse noises and brak­ing is strong and pre­dictable. The only real flaw is scut­tle shake when driv­ing over rough sur­faces. The seller sus­pects a worn ball joint might not be help­ing mat­ters in this par­tic­u­lar re­spect.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The paint­work is near-pris­tine. The whee­larches have been re­sprayed quite well, with the ex­cep­tion of some minute bub­bling in the new paint on the off­side front arch. The car’s new owner will also want to re­place the bon­net BMW badge, which is show­ing its age, and at­tend to slight fog­ging in the off­side head­lamp. There’s a crack in the wind­screen at the bot­tom left cor­ner, but it looks un­likely to spread. The plas­tic rear win­dow has a loose edg­ing strip, but the win­dow re­mains in­tact and the roof gen­er­ally looks smart. One al­loy wheel shows signs of slight kerb­ing but the tyres are match­ing Rapid 225/50 R16s, all with ex­cel­lent tread. Rear park­ing sen­sors are fit­ted, but we couldn’t get them to work.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

The light grey leather in­te­rior is in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, with no frayed stitch­ing or splits to the seats, dash top or doors. The black leather gear knob and steer­ing wheel are also gen­er­ally un­marked, though there are light sur­face scratches at the top of the wheel. There is no sign of wa­ter ingress, the car­pets and trim be­ing nei­ther stained nor worn. The elec­tric win­dows and fold­ing roof op­er­ate as they should, like­wise the man­u­ally op­er­ated seats. There are a cou­ple of is­sues to ad­dress – the dig­i­tal trip com­puter needs to be re­set us­ing a fac­tory code be­fore it will work, the orig­i­nal stereo is miss­ing and the airbag warn­ing light is on.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

There are no vis­i­ble leaks from – or dam­age to – what lit­tle you can see of the en­gine. The oil is clean and coolant and hy­draulic lev­els are where they should be. The brake discs look quite rusty, but the pads are grad­u­ally pol­ish­ing them up again and they don’t ap­pear to be ex­ces­sively lipped. The car’s mod­est ser­vice his­tory amounts to eight stamps from a main dealer in the ser­vice log, the last of which ap­peared in 2004.

THE CCW VIEW

This is a very tidy ex­am­ple of an in­creas­ingly de­sir­able mod­ern clas­sic, with bags of rear-drive driv­abil­ity and years of life left in it. Fix­ing that han­dling wob­ble would be our short­term pri­or­ity, but in the longer term, pre­serv­ing its value will re­quire reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing, fresh un­der­seal, and an eye kept on the age­ing rear win­dow.

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