BMW 3 Series Coupe 1996

The E36 automobile platform was the basis for the 1991-1999 BMW 3 Series entry-level luxury car / compact executive car. It was the successor to the BMW E30 and was eventually replaced by the BMW E46 in 1999. The M3 was produced as an E36 from 1995-1999 in the US, and 1993-1999 in the European market.

E36 experienced enormous success in the market. It laid strong foundations for the success the BMW E46 experienced in subsequent years. The E36 is considered the performance benchmark in its class.
Other Platform Applications
BMW made an entry level version of the E36 called the 3 Series Compact, a three-door hatchback. This platform is often referred to as the E36/5. In the United States market the car was sold as the 318ti and was equipped with a 1.8 L, 139 bhp M44B19 engine and was priced at USD23,000. Ostensibly due to slow US sales of the E36/5 Compact, the E46 Compact was not sold in the United States.
A modified version of the E36 platform (sometimes called the E36/7) was used for the BMW Z3 roadster.
Even though the BMW factory was producing its own E36 convertibles, the Baur "Top Cabriolet" conversion was still available, possibly out of respect for the long association of the two firms.
Success
Among BMW enthusiasts, the E36 platform is considered one of the best BMW designs of the past 20 years. Sales figures for 3 Series coupes, sedans, and convertibles were at all time highs in North America and Europe. Against other competititors, the E36 would repeatedly beat out the competition and won many awards from major car magazines. The success of the E36 in addition to the "quality" and "fun to drive" aspects of the platform gave BMW a strong market identity and presence for many.


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