Awesome car, glad I bought it. Powerful, torquey, smooth, makes all the right sounds, drivetrain refinement is awesome. Auto is good, apart from that first to second when it's cold, as a 5 speed and 2.93 rear, it lopes along at highway speeds. Mechanically hard to fault even though I have done a lot of maintenance.
Spark plugs, oil, oil filter, tensioner, waterpump, new coolant and flush, replaced auto fluids as well, ball joints were painful to replace, handbrakes shoes replaced and adjusted, but it's worth it.
Nice car to maintain really, it's pretty straightforward mechanically. On board computer helps too.
A lot of upgrades available, which is great.
I have upgraded to 17" 2 piece rims and 225/45-17's, much better than the 16's (225-50) and previous to that the 15's (205-60)
I upgraded the entire sound system which is horrid to be honest, o.e speakers are proprietary items, do what you can, I got 6.5's in the front, no modifications required, 6.5's in the rear shelf and a 12" in the boot, Pioneer 3050usb headdeck, take ya time and because it is such a well made vehicle, the sound quality is very good in my opinion.
I had wooden trim, that's now gone, I got heated front seats and all leather, and I won't go back to cloth now if you paid me. It's decadent, yet simple. The fully electric seats do give you a sense of occasion. Mine has tinted windows which are awesome in the Summer. I have a coupe.
I re-gassed and checked the A.C, and it's hopeless by Japanese standards, but it's better than nothing in our Summers trust me, especially with leather all round.
I am going to do the headliner and door cards in the summer, and I am looking forward to doing it.
These cars are not for those who don't know much about cars, cause they will rob you blind. I have owned 15 plus cars, and I love my 328i coupe. It's not the fastest, but it ain't slow, it's a smooth performer that can pull up its sleeves if you need it to. Smooth auto, but I am going to do a manual conversion next year, cause I heard they are better fun still, but in push and pull traffic, the auto is the way to go.
Maintenance IS required on these, because if you don't the engines and transmissions are so expensive, you wish you did. If you blow your Corolla 1.6, replace it with a donor engine all in for $500.00. The same for my coupe is more like $3000.00, let's just say it's not worth doing, and you want your engine purring because that's a big factor in owning a 328i... the motor.
If you are seriously considering one, do so if you have a brother (my case) or close friend, who knows or who work on cars a d.i.y master. Join a BMW club. Budget for full insurance. Look around there are heaps out there in NZ at least.
I have driven all of the E36 class, and for the money the 328i is the one I reckon, 318i alright around town, but nah, not economical enough for the lack of performance and smoothness. 320i, smooth, but no guts, 325i better but still no 328i. If you've got the coin, get an M3, absolutely, but they are twice the price and the maintenance etc is roughly the same. You can get some serious tickets with a 328i I tell ya, M3 is not going to do you any favours.
My pick is a 328i, and get a motorsport if you can afford it, cause I didn't and I am slowly getting parts to get there, but that's just part of the journey, and it's awesome for now.