If ever a car was granted an easy run at a target, the E36 BMW 3 Series Convertible was it. Whilst the saloon had to contend with the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4, the Convertible version had no C-Class convertible nor topless A4 Convertible to interrupt its smooth ride to big profits. Although the E36 or third generation BMW 3 Series first arrived on British shores in the early Spring of 1991, the stylish convertible versions didn’t put in an appearance until some three years later.
Three engines were initially offered, the four-cylinder 318i and six-cylinder 320i and 325i derivatives. The 316i and diesel models were never available with the E36 convertible body shape. A couple of months later the 286bhp M3 Convertible was launched, a car that many felt never warranted the M badge, being far softer in focus than its boxily aggressive E30 predecessor.
The 3 Series Convertible was the default choice if you needed German quality, four seats and a soft top. Few compromises were made in the development of the 3-Series convertible. The electric hood still stands comparison with some of the better hoods made today, there’s still enough legroom for four full grown adults and the interior design has hardly dated at all. Still an aspirational vehicle.
This very early range-topping 325i variant is fitted with the smooth and powerful 24 valve 2.5 litre motor, producing almost 200bhp through its rare manual gearbox. Registered in November 1993 to its first and only owner from new, the 325i is now a rare survivor, with only 11 manual 325i convertibles of this year still on British roads today (according to the DVLA). The Morea Green paint presents well, with a matching fabric interior and optional sports seats. Notably the electrically operated roof works without issue, as do all four windows. With just 68,500 miles recorded, and offered with a fresh MOT certificate, UK V5, and BMW wallet containing owner’s manuals, two sets of keys and older bills for maintenance, this is a highly usable modern classic which can be enjoyed every day.