E36 328i Ownership Insights

New for 2014. A sub-forum for owners to summarise their ownership of a particular model. Not a full blown road test but highlights for potential owners to read and consider.
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Stratts
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E36 328i Ownership Insights

Post by Stratts » 01 Jul 2014, 22:52

I have had a couple of these and the insight probably applies to all body styles.

Most importantly, the newest cars in this variant are 15 years old, therefore keep your expectations at a reasonable level. Like all M52 engines, the 2.8 is strong and reliable if maintained well. Any Nikasil issues from pre96 cars will be sorted by now, so ALWAYS buy on condition not spec, a car with a decent engine and bodywork is so much better than one with body kits but no history. You can always add bumpers and spoilers, replacing engines or correcting dodgy bodywork is less cost-effective.

Manual cars are in demand as they are getting rare and are desirable for chucking around a track and other boy racer things, but offer a great driving experience and will embarrass many new cars. Autos are more common and are well suited to the torque of the 2.8, but will be cheaper to buy. MPG is around 32 for the manual and 28 for the auto.

Costs
Insurance is very reasonable. I am 38 with full NCD and my insurance on a normal policy doing under 6k miles is under £200. Road Fund licence on all models is £245 as it is pre-CO2 banding, making the higher power models better value in that regard. As above, fuel costs are good, on longer journeys mid to high 30s MPG is easily doable, I regularly get 400 miles plus from a tank, doing mainly short journeys.

Good bits
The 328i is a quick car. 0-60 in around 7secs is pretty handy and the torque on offer means cruising at 50mph in 5th gear (manual) is fine. Generally specs are high as the 328 was the top of the range (except M3) so you should get full body colour body parts, check control and leather. Most cars will have full OBC and a few other goodies as well. Although suspension issues are common, a good thing is the fixes are cheap and all E36 models will be cheap to maintain if you get a decent one. Always, always, always buy on condition.

Bad bits
Rust is the common enemy, especially around wheel arches and boot lids. As long as it is not too bad then it is fine, very few E36 models can escape these rusty bits in the end. Gearboxes are generally very good, manual boxes need maintenance and clutches will last 150k miles if treated well but be aware of issues with sloppy gear changes. Don't confuse this with the usual notchy change or difficulty engaging first gear, these are common BMW issues and are not normally cause for concern. The main thing is checking everything works properly, especially electrics.

Also be aware of cooling system issues, water pumps are a common failure item so should be replaced upon purchase if not already done, same with thermostats and radiators.

Other notes
A common mod is to upgrade the engine with a manifold from the M50 engine. Whilst this will add a few bhp, be aware that this is to the detriment of torque so the engine flexibility will be diminished with this mod, but for outright power then it can be a positive, just be aware of this. . It also requires a bit of faffing about to make it fit so make sure it is done properly if buying a car with this mod. A lot of sellers will try and sell a car on the back of this modification, for me it is a reason to be wary. The message here is that a car with a modded engine is seldom a completely good thing, so buyer beware.

Owing a 328 is the same as for any other BMW of the vintage: look after the car and it will look after you. It's a quick a reliable car if cared for. :thumbup:
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Gus247
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Re: E36 328i Ownership Insights

Post by Gus247 » 02 Jul 2014, 08:42

excellent insight. cheers fella :thumbup:


ps - 38 y/o!?!?!?!! :)) And the rest ;)
aka Andy

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mad4it
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Re: E36 328i Ownership Insights

Post by mad4it » 15 Jul 2014, 12:46

Gus247 wrote:excellent insight. cheers fella :thumbup:


ps - 38 y/o!?!?!?!! :)) And the rest ;)
maybe he meant 38 NCB :))
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Gus247
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Posts: 11121
Joined: 17 Oct 2011, 14:24
Car model: '98 E36 323iSE Touring
'12 F31 330d Touring
Location: Reading, Berks.

Re: E36 328i Ownership Insights

Post by Gus247 » 15 Jul 2014, 13:14

mad4it wrote:
Gus247 wrote:excellent insight. cheers fella :thumbup:


ps - 38 y/o!?!?!?!! :)) And the rest ;)
maybe he meant 38 NCB :))
I'll tell him you said that!!! =))
aka Andy

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