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1998 BMW (E36) Supercharged 318i Sedan

1998 BMW (E36) Supercharged 318i Sedan

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Details

Price: SOLD

Mileage: 232,462 Miles

Engine: Supercharged M44 4-Cylinder Engine

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Montreal Blue Metallic Exterior (297)

Interior: Black Leather Interior (P8SW)

Additional features:

Downing / Atlanta Eaton M62 Roots Style Supercharger

Stromung Sport Exhaust

JBR Lightweight Flywheel

Sachs Performance Clutch

Z3 Short Shifter

ZHP Weighted Shift Knob

H&R Race Springs

Bilstein Shocks

UUC Camber Plates

Racing Dynamics Front and Rear Strut Braces

UUC Front and Rear Sway Bars

M3 Rear Subframe

M3 Auto Limited Slip Differential

Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Limiters

M3 Brakes Front and Rear

Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Z3 Power Steering Rack

Bosch Euro Glass Headlights

M3 Front Bumper

M3 Side Skirts and Moldings

BMW Motorsport International Badges

M3 Style Rear Diffuser

M3 Heated Side Mirrors

Euro 3-Spoke Suede Steering Wheel

Momo Sport Pedals

VAC Motorsport Wheel Studs

17-Inch Style 39 DSII M3 Wheels (including spare)

Michelin X-Ice Tires

Individual Order Montreal Blue Original Owner

Long Term BMW Enthusiast Second Owner

All Preventative E36 Maintenance Up to Date

South Dakota / Colorado Car

1998 BMW (E36) Supercharged 318i Sedan exterior photo

Background

The BMW E36 (1992 to 1999 3 Series) was one of the best BMWs ever built. When it debuted in the spring of 1991 for the 1992 model year it was revolutionary. It was the first BMW created with computer-aided design and a stark contrast to the traditional 3-box design language used in the E21 and E30 generation 3 series. Don’t get me wrong, I love the iconic E30, but the E36 was such a leap forward that it still looks relevant amongst today’s modern cars. Time has been kind to the E36, aging it with grace. The sedan is my favorite E36 form, with tactical door shut lines and increased rigidity over the coupe thanks to the full length B-pillar.

The E36 occurred at a sweet spot of BMW evolution where power, weight, size, suspension design, reliability, and luxury all intersected. The driving experience is connected and visceral, yet the driver enjoys luxuries that took other marquees years to offer. With only the slightest amount of talent it is a highly capable platform that can easily outperform much more powerful and expensive vehicles. The ease at which it can be pushed to the limit makes it the weapon of choice in many track applications. Abuse, neglect, and entry level buyers have decimated the population of worthy examples. Clean, unmolested, stock examples command significant premiums—and in my opinion, as newer cars get worse with each successive generation, they are worth every penny.

The heart of the late-model E36 318i was the M44B19 engine, the most advanced evolution and highest performance variant of four-cylinder BMW engines offered in the US market until the recent F30 3 Series. Often overshadowed by BMW’s fantastic in-line six cylinder engines, the M44 was no slouch, featuring dual overhead cams and a variable length intake system that improved low-end torque and high-end power. As a result, the M44 had only 30 less horsepower than its M52B25 sibling—yet it was 80 pounds lighter than the common iron block M52. It also revs much more freely thanks to less internal rotational mass.

 exterior photo

Summary

I’m selling this 1998 Montreal Blue 318i sedan on consignment for a fellow BMW enthusiast and paintless dent repair specialist, who also owns a supercharged E36 M3. He has built it into a capable and unique 318i that is hands down one of the most enjoyable E36s I’ve ever driven—and I’ve driven a lot of E36s, including my own E36 M3/4/5. The original owner special ordered it in Montreal Blue with a black leather interior (a very rare option for a 318i sedan) and dutifully cared for it for the next eight years. The current owner purchased it nearly a decade ago and has maintained it to excellent standards ever since. His ownership pedigree is a proof of my theory that BMWs are like airplanes, in that proper care and stewardship are much more important than strictly age and mileage. This car presents and drives fantastically, putting many lower mileage examples to shame. Nearly every mechanical component has been refreshed and improved. M44s are one of BMWs most reliable engines, lasting well north of 300K miles—and this one has had common wear items replaced. This is a car that must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated, but I will do my best to tell its story. We need a hefty price for it, but that is a fraction of the price that it would cost to build.

 exterior photo

Build

Engine / Transmission

  • Downing Atlanta  (DASC) Eaton (BMW Approved) M62 roots style supercharger (fresh SC OIL change). Stock tune at 7.5 psi that puts it at around 200hp from original 138hp stock.
  • Retune / Upgrade is offered through Nick G at (Technique Tuning)
  • Supercharger kit installed at 180k miles with SC oil changes every 20k miles
  • AEM Air fuel ratio (AFR) gauge
  • VDO boost gauge
  • Stromung Sport cat-back exhaust with new Catalytic converter installed 3 months ago
  • JBR lightweight flywheel (10lbs)
  • SACHS full-face clutch
  • Z3 short shifter, with refreshed shifter and shifter carrier bushings
  • Weighted ZHP shift knob

Suspension

  • H&R Race springs.
  • (Bilstein HD non M) front struts and Bilstein sport rear shocks
  • 76mm VAC motorsport wheel studs
  • UUC front camber plates and rear camber arms
  • Racing dynamics front and rear strut/shock tower brace
  • UUC front and rear sway bars
  • 99 M3 rear end (subframe, diff, axels, trailing arms)
  • Limited-slip differential out of an auto 96 m3, 3.38:1 final drive ratio
  • Full 99 M3 brakes conversion all around, spindles, calipers and rotors
  • Stainless steel braded brake lines all around
  • New Z3 power steering rack bought from pelican parts (Quicker ratio than m3)
  • RTAB (rear trailing arm bushing) limiters
  • 5MM rear spacers and rolled rear fenders

Body / Interior

  • OEM Bosch euro glass headlights (very bright)
  • M3 OEM front bumper with OEM hardware and under tray parts / ducts
  • M3 moldings with BMW motorsport international badges
  • M3 style rear diffuser
  • M3 heated side mirrors
  • Euro 3-spoke suede steering wheel
  • Momo sport pedals
  • 6 by 9 rear speaker upgrade

Wheels / Tires

  • 17-Inch Style 39 DSII M3 wheels (including spare)
  • Michelin X-Ice tires

1998 BMW (E36) Supercharged 318i Sedan exterior photo

Impressions

To the uneducated eye this 318i sedan looks like an E36 M3/4/5—or E36 M3 sedan with a manual gearbox. And we are asking nearly M3/4/5 money for it—nearly… But, dollar for dollar, I would absolutely have this car over an M3 of equivalent price and the condition that price buys in the M3 market. Montreal Blue is a rare color that was never offered in the standard E36 M3 color palette. It’s a dynamic hue that changes from rich blues to a hint of purple depending on the lighting condition. The supercharged M44 is a riot to drive. It revs much more freely than even an S52 does, which breathing through forced induction, adds significant drama to the driving experience. Rowing through the gears with your hair on fire results in endless giggles and smiles, all while reaching accessible limits that do not endanger the public at large or your driving license. Make no mistake—its fast—but just fast enough. Putting that power to pavement through the M3 brakes, rear suspension bits, limited slip differential, H&R Race springs, UUC camber plates and sway bars, and Racing Dynamics strut braces makes it a competent platform that will out drive much faster, more modern, and more powerful cars. It is an E36 after all! Set up your line with a scrub of pre-entry brake if needed, turn in, roll onto the gas and put that supercharger to work. By mid-corner you are deep into the boost, inducing as much rotation on exit as you like as. The E36 tells you exactly what it’s doing, because it’s an E36. It will make a hero out of even a marginally talented driver. Full throttle on exit and the Stromung exhaust is at full scream, a sound that is simply intoxicating.

1998 BMW (E36) Supercharged 318i Sedan exterior photo

Exterior

Now, on to the serious stuff. Cosmetically, this 318i presents fantastically, it looks like a much younger car with a fraction of the miles. It has clearly been stored indoors and detailed regularly. As a result the paint is in very good condition with no glaring defects. Close examination does reveal small spots of opaque clear coat on the hood and roof. They are few and far between and none are larger than a nickel. There is no rust, thanks to it spending the majority of its life in Colorado. Before that it was in South Dakota. The trade off is that there are some rock chips on the lower hood and front kidney panel, but the M3 front bumper cover is clean. In 2009 it was rear ended at low speed, which the trunk lid bore the brunt of. There was also minor damage to the left rear quarter panel. Everything was completely cosmetic and was professionally repaired by Fisher Honda. Other than the rear deck lid and left rear door, all VIN tags are in place, all panel gaps are correct, and it looks fantastic. All trim work is in place and fitted correctly. Glass lens, projector Euro Bosch headlights are a significant upgrade to the factory lights. They are free of cracks and pitting. The fog lights function correctly, but the left lens is cracked. The markers, indicators, and taillight lenses are all clean and crack-free. The Style 39 DSII wheels are in good shape, with no bends or curb rash. The left rear and right front have minor clear coat peeling. They are wearing Michelin X-Ice tires with more than 60% tread remaining. A matching DSII spare is in the trunk.

 interior photo

Interior

Interiors are a weak spot of the E36, but this one is in excellent condition. In my experience, black seems to age better than other E36 colors. Open the door and you are greeted with that lovely leather smell that all BMWs of this era have. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet has no stains or tears and has been protected by all-weather rubber floor mats. The seats have no failed stitching or excessive bolster wear. There are very minor visible creases on the driver’s side bolster, but it is presentable (pictured on our website). They are manual seats, which are considerably lighter than power seats and have no motors to fail. The driver’s seat does have slight play in the bushings, but it is tolerable. The rear seats are in great shape with factory headrests, only offered on 1998 and 1999 E36s. The rear seats have the center armrest and ski-pass through. I should note that an E36 sedan without folding rear seats, like this one, has the highest torsional rigidity of all E36s. The Euro 3-spoke suede steering wheel with M-colored stitching is a rare option that looks fantastic. There are no failed pixels in the instrument cluster, warning lights, or check engine lights. The center vent louvers do not sag (a common issue). The backlighting of the C33 stereo is inop, but you can still see the display. The HVAC panel has no failed pixels; the heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold. The blower motor does not chirp and the final stage resistor functions correctly (common issues). The 7-button on-board computer has no failed pixels, which is rare. The check panel shows no codes. The glove box and headliner do not sag (other common issues). The weighted ZHP shift knob is one of BMW’s best and is in excellent condition. All power windows, door locks, and the sunroof operate correctly. The door cards are not delaminated and the map pockets are largely intact. All door-mounted tweeter and mid-range speaker trim circles are intact. The trunk tool kit is complete and the cargo bungees are present. Two keys are included.

 engine photo

Mechanical

When you buy a used BMW, you buy the previous owner’s stewardship. The current owner purchased it in 2007 with only 129,000 miles. Since then he has always maintained it to excellent standards following the Old School Maintenance schedule. It has always benefitted from regular oil changes, super charger oil changes, gearbox and differential oil changes, and coolant and brake fluid flushes. Within the last year the following routine and preventative maintenance has been performed:

  • Fresh Oil and Filter Change
  • Spark Plugs
  • Coolant Flush
  • Thermostat Unit
  • Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Idle Control Valve
  • Vacuum Lines
  • Crank, Cam, and Knock Sensors
  • Front and Rear Crank Seals
  • Oil Pan Gasket
  • Oil Filter Housing Gasket
  • Timing Case Front Profile Gasket
  • Timing Chain Tensioner
  • Super Charger Oil Change
  • Intake Manifold Gasket
  • Fuel Pressure Regulator
  • Engine Soft Fuel Lines
  • Accessory Belt Tensioner
  • Lifters
  • Power Steering Fluid Flush
  • Z3 Steering Rack
  • Shifter and Shifter Carrier Bushings
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Differential Fluid

Within the previous 2-4 years:

  • Radiator Replaced
  • Alternator
  • Starter
  • Ignition Coil
  • Bavarian Autosport Ignition Wires

He always checked the compression with spark plug changes; the last one read roughly 150 psi across all four cylinders. The M44 always fires on command except for the first cold start of the day, which requires a slight tap of gas pedal. Based on everything that has been replaced, our guess is a small vacuum leak in the brake booster. It always starts and isn’t that big of a deal. It idles smoothly and pulls strong to redline. With the stock tune, throttle application should be smooth and metered or it will go lean near redline. This can be fixed by tuning the mechanical fuel pressure regulator (instructions are included), but isn’t an issue if throttle inputs are smooth, which is proper technique. The airflow meter is a good tool to monitor this. There is a small oil leak from the rear timing case profile gasket, the only engine seal not replaced because it requires removal of the head. The clutch is a slightly firm for my tastes, but handles the power and launches with no problem. I was used to it after 5 minutes of seat time. The shifter is crisp and precise, thanks to its recent bushings, not the spoon in a bowl of spaghetti that so many higher mileage BMWs are. The transmission shift pins are healthy, having no 5th gear lean (a common issue). The brakes are firm, the suspension is compliant, and there is no driveline or wheel bearing vibration or whine. The right rear differential output shaft seal has a slight seep, but it doesn’t spot. Minor issues notwithstanding, this is a turn-key E36 318i. It will need, and deserves, the preventative care and maintenance that all BMWs do, but the E36 is robust platform that will last forever if maintained correctly.

We would like to find a new owner who will appreciate this car for what it is and care for it as it has been.

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

VIN Decode

  • Vehicle Identification Number: WBACC9323WEE59394
  • Type: CC93
  • Model: 318I – USA
  • Development Code: E36 (4)
  • Chassis: SEDAN
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: M44
  • Displacement: 1.9

  • Power: 138 Horsepower (non-supercharged)

  • Drivetrain: Rear

  • Transmission: Manual

  • Color: Montreal Blue Metallic - 303

  • Upholstery: Black Standard Leather, Schwarz - P8SW
  • Production Plant: REGENSBURG
  • Production Date: 9-15-1997

Options

  • 214 Automatic Stability Control + Traction
  • 240 Leather Steering Wheel
  • 243 Airbag for Front Passenger
  • 260 Side Airbag Driver / Front Passenger
  • 341 Bumpers Completely in Body Color
401 Sliding/vent Roof, Electric
  • 428 Warning Triangle
  • 473 Front Armrest
  • 498 Rear Headrests, Adjustable
  • 520 Foglights
  • 534 Automatic Air Conditioning 
540 Cruise Control
  • 556 Exterior Temperature
  • 676 HiFi Loudspeaker System
  • 686 Diversity-function Aerial
692 Cd Changer Preparation

Standard Equipment

  • 354 Green Stripe Windscreen
  • 411 Window Lifts
  • 441 Smokers Package
  • 687 Radio Preparation
  • 850 Add Fuel Tank Filling for Export
  • 853 Language Version English