1 Apr 1991
By CHRIS HARRIS
Except for the carryover M40 engine in the 318i, the E36 was all new, with 5 Series-inspired styling, revised 24-valve six-cylinder engines (110kW 320i, 141kW 325i) a bigger body, sophisticated Z-axle rear suspension and completely overhauled interior.
Dynamically no rival could eclipse it. The sleek 103kW 318iS and 325i coupes arrived in April ’92.
In ’93 the 318i received a revitalised engine known as the M43 series, just as the 325i convertible dropped in.
BMW then branched the series out with the Compact range in early ’95, comprising the 75kW 316i and 103kW 318Ti.
Soon after that all 325i models gave way to the new 142kW 2.8L engines.
A year later the famous 323i name replaced the 320i, even if it was a 125kW 2.5L engine car, while a 318iS sedan was added in early ’97. And by then BMW began sourcing some 318i Executives from South Africa.
Coupe models lasted until '99, convertibles ’00 and the Compact range to 2001.