Spotted In China: E36/5 BMW 316i Compact

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A beautiful blue BMW 316i Compact, Spotted in China on a parking lot near a former Audi dealer on a car market in Beijing. The good Bimmer was dusty but otherwise in a good shape, and clearly still used as a daily driver. The Compact was a notchback variant of the E36 BMW 3-Series, it was designated E36/5.

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The E36/5 Compact was manufactured from 1993 until 2000. It was in many ways the spiritual predecessor of the BMW 1-Series; a compact 2-door BMW with some premium touches, but cheap enough to compete with cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.


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The interior looked rather good and was original bar for the stereo system and the fancy M neck pillows.

The Compact was available with various four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. This Beijing car is a 316i, which translates to a 1.6 liter petrol with 101hp and 150nm, mated to a five-speed manual ‘box. The Compact was never officially sold in China and this blue car is the very first one I have seen in country in 12 long years.


Note the odd location of the fuel cap between the door and the rear-wheel arch. Great BMW, may she roam the roads of the capital for a long time a coming.


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