The first BMW hatchback since the 2002 Touring was phased out back in 1974, the original 3 Series Compact (E36/5) came out in 1993. The 1 Series’ precursor certainly doesn’t rank high on lists made by enthusiasts but it’s a BMW nonetheless and therefore worthy of our attention. A new video puts the spotlight on a first-generation model assembled in 1999, thus making it one of the last ones built since the E46/5 came out a year later.
The 24-year-old 316 Compact with an automatic transmission was in need of some meticulous pampering on the interior, and thankfully, it received just what the doctor ordered. To say the small hatchback had been neglected would be quite the understatement judging by the sheer amount of garbage lying on the floor.
Nearly a quarter of a century of use has taken its toll on the interior, but the 3 Series Compact’s cabin could’ve been a lot worse all things considered. Still, there was a lot of dirt that had to be removed even before thoroughly cleaning the icky upholstery. While it’s a BMW on the small side, rejuvenating that interior was a time-consuming process if this timelapse video is any indication.
The end result is like a time machine that takes us back to the late 1990s when the car rolled off the assembly line. The relatively basic dashboard coming from the pre-touchscreen era is a breath of fresh air and a reminder of simpler times.
With this little green machine being a later model, it means the 316i has the larger 1.9-liter version of the M43 engine instead of the original 1.6-liter. It produced 103 horsepower and 122 pound-feet (165 Newton-meters) of torque back in the day. That was good enough for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph (190 km/h).
Fun fact – you get a smidge more horsepower and 18 lb-ft (24 Nm) extra torque in today’s equivalent, the 116i hatchback. Its modern-day counterpart is roughly a second quicker in the sprint and has a slightly higher top speed while being significantly larger, heavier, more sophisticated, and with a front-wheel-drive platform.
Source: Vermijl Car Detail / YouTube