RE: Shed of the Week: BMW 325ti Compact

RE: Shed of the Week: BMW 325ti Compact

Friday 1st February

Shed of the Week: BMW 325ti Compact

Manual, six-cylinder and rear-wheel drive? Three big ticks already for this BMW Compact...



This week we are going to have a short history lesson. Stop groaning at the back there, this stuff is good for you.

For a surprisingly long time after World War II, there was a gap between the handbuilt motors that only the rich could afford and the crappy heaps that ordinary people struggled to buy.

BMW's 1962-on 'Neue Klasse' 1500 brought quality to the middle earners and was pretty much the first affordable BMW. The other less well-known point about the NK is that it was the first BMW project to benefit from the substantial investment made in the company in 1960 by the mysterious Quandt half-brothers Herbert and Harald.


We won't dwell on the history of the Quandt family, who ran a few interesting businesses in Germany's difficult times, but we can dwell on the remarkable fact that they still have a powerful hold on BMW. Stefan (son of Herbert) is reputedly the single biggest BMW shareholder with a 'takeover blocking stake' of just over 25 per cent that was worth a handy 13.4 billion euros a year or so ago.

It's thought that Stefan is now worth something in the region of 21.7 billion euros. Not that he'd tell you that. The Quandts don't say a lot in public.

Anyway, the NK 1500 and the subsequent 02s led of course to the first 3 Series, the E21 of 1975, and to its high water mark model, the 1977 323i - which Shed thinks was the first small BMW to feature a six-cylinder engine. This concept of big power in a little body laid the foundations for the M3 and really opened up the idea of everyman performance.


The 3 Series success story goes on through the 1982 E30 to the 1990 E36, which was the basis of the 1993-on 3 Series Compact, a final-year example of which you are now looking at.

Many years ago Shed did some summer work in a Blackpool rock factory. That's where he met Mrs Shed, in fact. Using an enormous wooden paddle, she was in charge of stirring the enormous syrup vat, a job that is now done by a robot but back then it had to be done by someone with mighty tricep muscles and thighs like ham hocks.

Shed's job was to operate the guillotine that chopped the spearmint rock into foot-long lengths. In deference to the more delicate souls who read this rubbish, we'll let you put your own joke in here. The reason for mentioning all this is that whenever Shed sees a 3 Series Compact, or indeed Mrs Shed, he thinks of that rock-chopping machine.


If you don't count the 2002 Touring, which many would categorise as an estate anyway, the Compact was BMW's first hatchback. In the eyes of many it was a shame that such a momentous event in the company's history was marked by something that looked so clumsy.

Typically though, despite general press derision, the Compact achieved strong sales. It went on for over a decade from 1993 to 2004 and survived a whole platform change in 2001, when the E36 became the E46.

Put bluntly, one of the Compact's major targets was the class of lower-level business users who didn't qualify for a proper Three. From an aspirational point of view, that should have killed it stone dead, but it turned out that the power of the badge overrode everything. Spotty junior sales reps were more than happy to be able to toss a BMW key on the pub table, even if they might not have been quite so forthcoming about the stunted bootlid or the numbers on it.

The Compact generated a healthy supplementary market among trophy wives who liked the idea of smartly ramming into a tight space outside Kookai, plus at the end of the day it was still a rear-wheel drive BM, a fact that did not escape those of a drifting persuasion.


The 'ti' on the hatch might have offset some general negativity too. Those letters were added to remind folk of the Neue Klasse compact BMWs and the 02 cars that famously included the fuel-injected 2002tii, now a pricey classic.

As mentioned earlier, our Shed is from the last year of manufacture. It's also a 325i manual, so in Compact Bingo terms we're dib-dobbing all the right boxes. The seller clearly knows his stuff. This is one of two 325tis in his possession, and he is offering the wings off his older '02 car to replace the slightly frilly ones on this later '04 one. The advisory-free MOT tells us that this area is not a cause for concern.

Clearly the vendor is a Compact enthusiast who sees the value in both the 'big power, small footprint' ethos and the Compact's excellent handling reputation. He has spent good money on keeping those attributes alive. His car benefits from xenon lights and a healthy smear of Alcantara in the suitably sporty Sport cabin. With only 116k miles up and the good reliability of these petrol six Compacts - the fours can drink oil and the 320td diesels had turbo issues - there's plenty of life in this old, tail-docked dog yet.

Here's the ad.

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Venisonpie

Original Poster:

204 posts

20 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
That's a cracking shed, negotiate the price of a set of rear tyres and away you go. Smoke about for several years to come.

Cambs_Stuart

383 posts

22 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Rusty wings aside, I like the look of this shed. Compact, 6 cylinders, rwd and a nice cabin. Like the alfa from a few weeks ago, it's good to see a car at this price that looks like it could be fun...

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Friday 1st February 06:20

carinaman

13,135 posts

110 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Shed is on a roll.

GTEYE

1,230 posts

148 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
A good shed!

Interesting that these are actually now quite well liked when at the time they were on sale they were pretty unloved...

Mogsmex

157 posts

173 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
I dont follow BMW so apoligies if this is common folklore but at first glance does anyone else see a mid 90's Rover or is it just me ?
Advertisement

daveco

3,657 posts

145 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Mogsmex said:
I dont follow BMW so apoligies if this is common folklore but at first glance does anyone else see a mid 90's Rover or is it just me ?
I can definitely see the resemblance but don`t be fooled by the exterior, these are fantastic machines to drive.

They go as quickly as a Golf GTI Mk V thanks to the shorter final drive, have a great soundtrack, good on fuel, and better steering than the full bodied coupe of the same vintage.


2smoke

63 posts

49 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Shed is on a roll so far this year, great car! I had one of these and would have another for sure. This has all the right bits on it too, so don't expect it to hang around.

Turbobanana

1,220 posts

139 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Typical German car: characterless looks, boring colour, dull as ditchwater interior.

But, as a sum of parts, excellent shed. I spotted this a while back and thought it would make last week's SOTW. Surprised it hasn't sold, tbh.

aston addict

197 posts

96 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Great shed spiel this week!

One thing about the xenons though, don’t think they are factory fit as there’s no washer function, IIRC they are mandatory in the UK if xenons are fitted.

Also they were a very expensive option in the day (I know this as I shelled out for them on a 330ci sport,) and I think that they necessitated a few more changes than just a different bulb holder, I think the battery had to be higher spec etc to power them.

Not that this matters of course on a shed....

JakeT

2,257 posts

58 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Tidy one that. It's even a late model, with 6spd gearbox and updated lights.

The front lights have been changed to xenon ones though, without washers. If your MOT man isn't that friendly it'll be a fail.


I am biased though, I've had mine just over 3 years now. Never let me down. smile


Gez79

52 posts

121 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
JakeT said:
Tidy one that. It's even a late model, with 6spd gearbox and updated lights.

The front lights have been changed to xenon ones though, without washers. If your MOT man isn't that friendly it'll be a fail.


I am biased though, I've had mine just over 3 years now. Never let me down. smile

Both beat me to it.

My main concern would be it's had a front end smash at some point and the incorrect bumper installed, but it looks like there's a head lamp height adjuster on the dash so it does look more like it's an aftermarket headlight upgrade.

Otherwise what a great shed, can't believe they're this cheap.

smellypoo

36 posts

97 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
"...on through the 1982 E30 to the 1990 E36, which was the basis of the 1993-on 3 Series Compact, a final-year example of which you are now looking at."

"...the Compact achieved strong sales. It went on for over a decade from 1993 to 2004 and survived a whole platform change in 2001, when the E36 became the E46."

Hmm... I'm pretty sure this one is an E46.

I love these things, excellent little cars.

st4

824 posts

71 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Another fantastic shed. This looks superb.

CS Garth

1,782 posts

43 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Shed doesn't get better than this. Someone get it bought FFS

3795mpower

279 posts

68 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
We’ve had a couple in our family over the last ten years.
Various specs.
They make a great all rounder.

Spec varies enormously so it’s worth seeking out what you’re after,
Although supply is limited.

As a bonus they seem more resistant to rust than the equivalent saloon
Or coupe.

Top shed !




soad

29,444 posts

114 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Looks much better with the tinted rearlights. boxedin

Richard-390a0

601 posts

29 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Another cracking SOTW with hopefully many more to come throughout the year!

J4CKO

26,330 posts

138 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
Good shed, cant argue with a decently powerful straight six and a manual box, probably more enjoyable to drive than a lot of stuff a 20 times the price, bit of fettling, sort the suspension, brakes etc and see what can be done for more power and you can have a budget fun size M3 type thing.

They arent exactly a looker though, its like they made the front that ugly so those who could afford a full size three series didnt decide to downsize.

The Prof

140 posts

212 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all


A colleague had one of these years ago and my lasting memory of it is that every journey had its fair share of opposite lock ✔️


Nors

1,198 posts

93 months

Friday 1st February
quotequote all
I'll go against the trend in here then:-

Take probably the most elegant of the 3 series generation and do a hatchet job on it to try and make it into a hatchback! Still looks weird at the back to me today and the front is equally change for the sake of it.

Sure, it'll drive nice, sound nice, which is just as well the finer experiences are enjoyed from the cockpit - you won't be outside looking at it!