Get BMW E36 essential facts below. View Videos or join the BMW E36 discussion. Add BMW E36 to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.

BMW 3 Series (E36)
1995-1996 BMW 328i (E36) convertible 01.jpg
Body and chassis
ClassCompact executive car (D)
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Wheelbase2,700 mm (106.3 in)
Length4,433 mm (174.5 in)[3]
Width1,710 mm (67.3 in)[3]
Height1,366-1,390 mm (53.8-54.7 in)[3]
Curb weight1,315-1,395 kg (2,899-3,075 lb)[3]
PredecessorBMW 3 Series (E30)
SuccessorBMW 3 Series (E46)

The BMW E36 is the third generation of the BMW 3 Series range of compact executive cars, and was produced by the German automaker BMW from 1990 to 2000. The initial models were of the four-door sedan body style, followed by the coupe, convertible, wagon ("Touring"), hatchback ("Compact") and the rare four-door convertible Baur TC4 in later years.

The E36 was the first 3 Series to be offered in a hatchback body style. It was also the first 3 Series to be available with a six-speed manual transmission (in the 1996 M3), a five-speed automatic transmission and a four-cylinder diesel engine. The multi-link rear suspension was also a significant upgrade as compared to the previous generations of the 3 Series. All-wheel drive was not available for the E36, unlike the previous (E30) and successive (E46) generations.

The E36 was named in Car and Driver magazine's 10Best list for every year it was on sale.[4]

The high performance E36 M3 is powered by the BMW S50 or BMW S52 straight-six engine (depending on country). The E36 M3 was introduced in 1992 and was available in coupé, sedan and convertible body styles.

Following the introduction of its successor, the E46 3 Series in 1998, the E36 began to be phased out and was eventually replaced in 1999.

Development and launch

Development of the E36 began in 1981[5] and the exterior design was heavily influenced by aerodynamics, specifically the overall wedge shape, headlight covers and smaller wing mirrors.[6] The lead designers were Pinky Lai[7] and Boyke Boyer.[8][9]

The production version of the E36 was launched in October 1990, with press release in November and market launch in early 1991.[10][11]

Body styles

The body styles of the range are:



Safety equipment available included a driver's airbag, passenger airbag (from 1993 production) and side impact airbags in later models,[18] ABS braking and stability control ("ASC +T").[19] Electronic climate control was also available on the E36.



The four-cylinder petrol engines used in the E36 range were initially engines carried over from the previous generation 3 Series: the BMW M40 SOHC engine and the BMW M42 DOHC engine. In 1993, the M40 was replaced by the BMW M43 SOHC engine and the M42 was replaced in 1996 by the BMW M44 DOHC engine.

For the six-cylinder models, the E36 was launched with the then-new BMW M50 DOHC petrol engine. In late 1992 the M50TU versions added single-VANOS (variable valve timing), which increased torque (peak power was unchanged). In 1995, the BMW M52 engine replaced the M50TU, resulting in the 328i model replacing the 325i and the addition of a new mid-range 323i model (powered by a 2.5 litre version of the M52).

In 1992, the 3.0 L BMW S50 engine debuted in the E36 M3. In 1995, its capacity was increased to 3.2 L.[20]

Model Years Engine Power Torque
316i 1990-1994 M40B16 4-cylinder 73 kW (98 hp) at 5,500 rpm 141 N?m (104 lb?ft) at 4,250 rpm
1993-1999 M43B16 4-cylinder 75 kW (101 hp) at 5,500 rpm 150 N?m (111 lb?ft) at 3,900 rpm
318i 1990-1993* M40B18 4-cylinder 83 kW (111 hp) at 5,500 rpm 162 N?m (119 lb?ft) at 4,250 rpm
1993-1998 M43B18 4-cylinder 85 kW (114 hp) at 5,500 rpm 168 N?m (124 lb?ft) at 3,900 rpm
318is 1992-1995 M42B18 4-cylinder 103 kW (138 hp) at 6,000 rpm 175 N?m (129 lb?ft) at 4,500 rpm
1996-1998 M44B19 4-cylinder 181 N?m (133 lb?ft) at 4,300 rpm
320i 1991-1993 M50B20 6-cylinder 110 kW (148 hp) at 5,900 rpm 190 N?m (140 lb?ft) at 4,700 rpm
1993-1998 M52B20 6-cylinder 190 N?m (140 lb?ft) at 4,200 rpm
323i 1995-1998 M52B25 6-cylinder 125 kW (168 hp) at 5,500 rpm[21] 245 N?m (181 lb?ft) at 3,950 rpm
325i 1991-1992 M50B25 6-cylinder 141 kW (189 hp) at 5,900 rpm 245 N?m (181 lb?ft) at 4,700 rpm
1993-1995 M50B25TU 6-cylinder 245 N?m (181 lb?ft) at 4,200 rpm
328i 1995-1998 M52B28 6-cylinder 142 kW (190 hp) at 5,500 rpm 280 N?m (207 lb?ft) at 3,950 rpm
M3 (Euro spec) 1992-1995 S50B30 6-cylinder 210 kW (282 hp) at 7,000 rpm 320 N?m (236 lb?ft) at 3,600 rpm
1995-1998 S50B32 6-cylinder 239 kW (321 hp) at 7,400 rpm 350 N?m (258 lb?ft) at 3,250 rpm
M3 (U.S. spec) 1995 S50B30US 6-cylinder 179 kW (240 hp) at 6,000 rpm 305 N?m (225 lb?ft) at 4,250 rpm
1996-1999 S52B32 6-cylinder 320 N?m (236 lb?ft) at 3,800 rpm


Model Years Engine Power Torque
318tds 1994-2000 M41D17 4-cylinder 66 kW (89 hp) at 4,400 rpm 190 N?m (140 lb?ft) at 1,900 rpm
325td 1991-1996 M51D25UL 6-cylinder 85 kW (114 hp) at 4,400 rpm 222 N?m (164 lb?ft) at 2,000 rpm
1996-1998 M51D25TUUL 6-cylinder 85 kW (114 hp) at 4,800 rpm 230 N?m (170 lb?ft) at 2,000 rpm
325tds 1993-1996 M51D25OL 6-cylinder 105 kW (141 hp) at 4,800 rpm 260 N?m (192 lb?ft) at 2,200 rpm
1996-1998 M51D25TUOL 6-cylinder 105 kW (141 hp) at 4,600 rpm 280 N?m (207 lb?ft) at 2,200 rpm

Initially, the turbocharged straight-six BMW M51 engine was used in the E36 325td model. In 1993, the 325tds model was released, which added an intercooler to the M51. In 1994, the 318tds model was introduced, powered by the four-cylinder BMW M41 turbocharged and intercooled engine.


The E36 was produced with the following transmissions:

  • 5-speed manual (1994-1995 M3)
  • 6-speed manual (1996-1999 M3- except for United States)
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed automatic

All models are rear-wheel drive, since the E36 was not produced with all-wheel drive (unlike its predecessor and successor).


The sedan, coupé, convertible and Touring models use the "Z-axle" multilink suspension in the rear, which was introduced in the BMW Z1 roadster.

The hatchback ("Compact") models use a rear semi-trailing arm suspension based on the older E30 3 Series design. This was done in order to save space due to the truncated rear end of the hatchback.

M3 model

M3 coupe

The E36 M3 was launched in 1992 and is powered by the BMW S50 and BMW S52 straight-six engines. It was produced in coupé, sedan and convertible body styles.

Alpina models

Alpina B3 3.2

The Alpina B6 2.8, B3 3.0, B3 3.2, B8 4.0 and B8 4.6 models were based on the E36.[22] The B3 and B6 models were powered by straight-six engines, while the B8 models were powered by V8 engines.[23]

E36/5 Compact

3 Series Compact

The 3 Series Compact range of three-door hatchback models were introduced in 1993, based on a shortened version of the E36 platform. The model code for the hatchback body style is "E36/5" and the model range consisted of the 316i, 316g, 318ti, 323ti and 318tds.

Z3 Roadster/Coupe

2002 BMW Z3 3.0i

A modified version of the E36 platform was used for the 1996-2002 Z3 roadster (model code E36/7) and coupé (model code E36/8).

North American model range

The North American model range consisted of the models listed below. The 318i models were powered by the BMW M42 engine, which was used in the 318is model sold in other countries.


  • 318is (1992-1997) - Canada only for 1999 model year
  • 323is (1998-1999)
  • 325is (1992-1995)
  • 328is (1996-1999)
  • M3 (1994-1999) - Canada only for 1994 model year, US only for 1995 and 1996 model years


  • 318i (1994-1997)
  • 323i (1998-1999)
  • 325i (1994-1995)
  • 328i (1996-1999)
  • M3 (1998-1999) - US only


  • 318ti (1995-1999)


  • 318i (1992-1998) - Canada 1993-1998
  • 320i (1993-1995) - Canada only
  • 325i (1992-1995)
  • 328i (1996-1998)
  • M3 (1997-1998)


The E36 was produced in Munich, Germany; Regensburg, Germany; Rosslyn, South Africa; and Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States.

Local assembly of complete knock-down (CKD) kits was used for cars sold in Uruguay[24] (until 1991), Egypt, Mexico, and Thailand.[25][26][27] The E36 was also built as CKD kits in the Philippines starting from 1994 up until 1997, where production halted due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.


Joachim Winkelhock competed in the British Touring Car Championship with the 318i and 320i from 1993 to 1995, winning the title in 1993. In the same year, Johnny Cecotto won the German ADAC GT Cup driving an E36 M3.[28] Cecotto won the Super Tourenwagen Cup for BMW in 1994 and 1998, Winkelhock in 1998.

Geoff Brabham and his younger brother David Brabham won the 1997 AMP Bathurst 1000 at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, Australia driving a Super Touring BMW 320i for BMW Motorsport Australia.

The 1998 24 Hours Nürburgring was won by a diesel for the first time - a BMW E36 320d, aided by its diesel engine requiring fewer fuel stops than rivals.[29][30]


  1. ^ Herdianto, Radityo (30 July 2019). "BMW Seri 3 di Indonesia, Mobil Ikonik yang Punya Masalah Mengerikan di Masa Lalu". GridOto (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Automology (28 June 2018). "Cars Made in the Philippines, Really?". Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "The BMW 3 Series Coupés" (PDF). BMW. 1996. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ "1998 10Best Cars - 10Best Cars". January 1998. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "3 Series - E36 (1990 - 1999)". Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "BMW 3 Series history. The third generation (E36)". Retrieved 2017.[dead YouTube link]
  7. ^ "Interview with automotive designer Pinky Lai". 19 January 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ "BMW car designers throughout history". Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Caspers, Markus (2017). Designing Motion: Automotive Designers 1890 to 1990. Birkhäuser. p. 79. ISBN 9783035607840. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Lifestyle-Laster für die linke Spur: Tradition: 30 Jahre BMW 3er Touring". Die Welt. 4 September 2017.
  11. ^ "1975 The history of the BMW 3 Series". 17 April 2006.
  12. ^ "BMW 3 Series Sedan (E36)". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "BMW 3 Series Coupe (E36)". Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "BMW 3 Series Convertible (E36)". Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ "BMW 3 Series touring (E36)". Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "BMW 3 Series compact (E36)". Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "3'E36 Compact 318i model selection". Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Used BMW 318i review: 1991-1998". Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "FAQ E36 M3 3.0". Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ Cobb, James G. (12 July 1998). "BEHIND THE WHEEL/BMW 323is; Last Hurrahs for a Star Performer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ "3-series [E36]". Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ "BMW 3 Series E36". Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "Uruguay". Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ Jacobs, A. J. (2015). The New Domestic Automakers in the United States and Canada: History, Impacts, and Prospects. Lexington Books. p. 259. ISBN 9780739188262. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ "BAMC Profile". Archived from the original on 22 August 2010.
  27. ^ "SKD-Standort Mexiko". Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "DriverDatabase".
  29. ^ "BMW World - Nürburgring 24 Hours". Archived from the original on 11 April 2011.
  30. ^ "BMW motorsport press release". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes