1997 BMW 328i (E36)
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.
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.