The BMW 3 Series is the German automaker’s best-selling model that was introduced in the mid-1970s in Europe. It was produced in six generations and in different body styles including sedans, convertibles, sport wagons, and coupes. By combining power and fuel efficiency, this line-up was designed to bridge the gap between large muscle cars and small sports cars. On the second generation of the BMW 3 Series, BMW introduced its first ever true convertible model – the BMW 325Ci. Since then, the 325Ci and the rest of the BMW 3 Series have never stopped making history.
1987: BMW’s first convertible
The BMW 325Ci has played a huge role in the continued evolution of the BMW 3 series. It was introduced in 1987 while the BMW 3 Series was on its second generation and continuing to redevelop. It was the year when the E30 line-up really came of age. The 325Ci was one of several 325 packages that were available that year when BMW decided to abandon the concept of reducing power and increasing gas mileage.
Manufactured with six cylinders, the BMW 325Ci was equipped with a 215-horsepower engine capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. Aside from that, the BMW 325Ci also featured a six-speed manual transmission, 10-speaker audio system with two subwoofers, front and rear airbags, automatic rain-sensing wipers, dual climate control, and automatic headlights. The BMW 325Ci also offered an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon fuel economy in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
1988: Moving to US
This was the first year that the original E30 M3 models were sold in the United States. BMW also took safety and performance to a whole new level with the introduction of the all-wheel-drive. For this model year, BMW has also introduced one of its newest models, the M version of the 3 series called the TM3.
1996: The transformation
In 1996, the BMW 325i, equipped with a larger engine and sleeker design, morphed into the 328i. The 325Ci became the two-door 328Ci convertible with a 2.8-liter in-line six-cylinder engine. Its horse power went up to 190 and its torque went from 181 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm to 207 lb-ft at 3,950 rpm.
1999: The BMW 328Ci
After a complete transformation in 1996, the BMW 325i came out in 1999 from major exterior upgrades in the form of the BMW 328Ci. For this model year, the former BMW 325i featured a redesigned headlight, revised front grille, a longer chassis, and a new spoiler with larger air intakes. Other improvements for this year include cornering brake control (CBC) and automatic stability control with traction (ASC+T).