I've been pricing some used BMWs and have zero'd in on the 3 series, and
would rather have a 6-cyl over the 4. My question to the owners of the 325's
and 328's is this- is the 328 any more reliable than the '25? Are there
advantages or disadvantages to either one? Both seem like fine cars but I
want some opinion from those who have experience.
I owned a 97 E36 and except for a few oxygen sensors going out, the car
Several of my friends have the E36, 325/328 and they noted few issues.
The cars are built well with few electronic gadgets to go wrong as the
I would opt for the 328. I don't suspect there will be a huge cost
difference between a 325 and 328 given the age of the vehicles.
The 328 is used in the E36 cars after 1996, the 325 is used in cars before
'96. The 328 gives 1 more HP, but has about 30% more torque, give or take a
few foot pounds. The 328 is an OBD II engine, and you can pull trouble codes
with readily available diagnostic equipment, the 325 is OBD I, and pulling
codes requires equipment that costs much more.
I'd recommend getting the best condition car you can find, whether a 325 or
328, but the 328 would be the better choice if you can find a good one.
The 328 used in the E36 cars is also detuned and called a 323. I am not
certain, but my guess is that an E46 car with a 328 or 325 motor is also the
same power plant. The E36 cars use the M52 motor in the 328 and 323
applications, and the M50 motor in the 325 applications. I think the E46
cars use the M52, but I'm sure that if this is wrong, I'll be corrected
You are correct, with the small correction that the M52 in the E46 cars was
called the M52TU (Double VANOS). When the E46 got bumped to the 325 and 330
in 2001, the engine changed to the M54.
Yes, the M52TU had double VANOS on the original E46 cars. Basically the
same engine as in the E36 except that one was single VANOS. When they got
bumped up in 2001 to the 325 and 330 the engine changed to the M54,
essentially the same engine. Not to be confused with the N54 in the E90 325
and 330 which is completely different. There was an article in Roundel a
few months ago that detailed the evolution of the M20 engine that the M50,
M52 and M54 were all based on.
Actually - OBD-I codes can be retrieved with no equipment at all.. it's
called the 5-stomp method. Turn the car to the run position without
starting it - stomp the accelerator to the floor 5 times within 5
seconds. The codes will read out as the CEL flashes. Does in a sequence
of flashes representing the numbers.
Edmunds list the following....
95 325i HP 189 @ 5900 Torque 181 @ 4200
96 328i HP 190 @ 5300 Torque 207 @ 3950
My math (which is subject to correction) gets about 12.5% more torque at 250
RPM lower. I'm not certain, but I think I remember the torque band being
wider on the 328 as well (starting to pull lower and continuing higher).
Actually the 2.8 makes less tourque at 5900 RPM than the 2.5. If it
made more than it would have more HP at that RPM then 2.5 does.
Remember HP is just a function of tourque and RPM. The 2.8s power band
is just lower and wider. The reason the 2.8 is so much faster than the
2.5 is because it makes a whole lot more tourque from 3-4K RPM. From
4-5K there isn't a whole lot of difference, the 2.8s a little bit
stronger. From 5-6K the 2.5 starts to catch up (by not having the power
fall off as much as the RPM climes).
I can definitely vouch on the torque advantage.
Did a test with a friend.
Me = 96 328is
him = 93 325is
We matched speeds going uphill around 3500rpm. Then we both floored
it. The 2.8 steadily pulled away on the hill and kept spooling. Test
lasted 10 seconds.
The 328 has different gearing to the old 325 I believe which will also
have an effect. The 328 has an extra 300cc so one would expect it to
be a little faster.
But how about this - if one bored out a 325 to 2.8l you'd get about
215hp out of it but woudl it be faster than the regular 328i??
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