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1994 BMW 325i Convertible (When It Was New) Review

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SEE ALSO: BMW Specs, Reviews, Comparisons and Prices - BMW Buyer's Guide 1997-Current Models

SEE ALSO: Twenty Years Of BMW Reviews (2014-1994)



The new 1994 BMW 325I Convertible is loaded with the latest in high-tech engineering, safety, performance and comfort. It is a blend of heritage and technology. As for heritage, the German coach builder Baur built a convertible version of the 1600 in 1967, and a few conversions of the 2002 were made from 1971 to 1975. Few made their way to our shores, and it wasn't until 1987 when the first soft-top version of the 325 was shown that the convertible became a production item with BMW. While BMW introduced the newest version of the 3- series in 1992, the convertible utilized the old body style until this new 1994 edition. This is where the technology comes in; the soft-top and its ancillaries are a masterpiece of complexity to generate simplicity. The safety features include heavier, strengthened body-structure, plus a built-in A-pillar roll bar, and an automatically deploying rollover protection system located behind the rear seats, plus pre-tensioning 3- point seat belts. The 189 horsepower straight-six engine and its four- speed automatic/manual transmission presents the driver with many driving options. What is important is that the 325i convertible is a powerful, safe good handling and an all-weather fun-to-drive car!

APPEARANCE: The latest BMW 3-series is much more rounded- looking than it predecessor. The convertible is built on the 325is coupe platform, with a longer hood and shorter rear deck than the 325 sedan. From the trademark twin-kidney grille, with the equally trademarked four-round headlamps, that are now housed under a clear cover, to the spoilerless rear deck the new 325i convertible is understated, stylish and tasteful. It looks equally handsome with the top up or down, and will not be mistaken for anything else. Sportiness is emphasized by its black front air dam, side rocker panel extensions and rear apron, plus the Goodyear Eagle GS-N P225/55R15 speed rated tires.

COMFORT: The 325i convertible may be compact in size, but it is loaded with convenience, practicality and luxury. Most interesting is the almost-automatic operation of raising and lowering the fully lined soft- top. Undo a latch, push a button, and the windows retract slightly, the metal boot raises up and the tops folds down and in and the body colored boot closes - all in just a few seconds, and it goes up just as easily and quickly. Leather upholstery, eight-way powered and heated front sport seats, wide opening doors, an excellent 10-speaker AM/FM/cassette sound systems, plus a commendable climate control system with separate temperature setting for right and left sides, a blower-type rear window defogger, an on-board trip computer, logically placed controls and a fair sized trunk, plus real four-passenger seating, combine to make it a small,but potent, luxury car.

ROADABILITY: BMW built its reputation utilizing fine engineering fundamentals and developing excellent road handling cars, and the 325i convertible carries on this tradition. Body rigidity was increased over 25% to provide a stable platform for its sport suspension system, and weight distribution is 50%/50% front and rear to improve handling. Goodyear Eagle GS-N speed rated tires maintain good surface contact, while precise steering is aided by speed-sensitive power assistance. Safety is exhibited by four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a built-in front roll-bar and an optional rear rollover protection system, plus dual airbags and automatic seat belt tensioners. Quietness is assured by the fully-lined top and the automatic door-window sealing system.

PERFORMANCE: The 2.5 liter straight-six that powers the 3-series BMW's is high-tech, quiet and potent. It has twin-cams and 24- cylinders, as well as a modular engine management system, direct ignition and electronic fuel injection. With a power output of 189 horsepower it can easily merge and pass safely in traffic, and reach 60 mph in a little over nine seconds. The four-speed electronically controlled transmission has three settings; automatic, manual and sport. which gives one the option of manually shifting for performance or control, automatically shifting in commute traffic, and adding low end torque when desired or required.

CONCLUSIONS: The 325i convertible for 1994 lives up to BMW's slogan, "The Ultimate Driving Machine". It is a deluxe, compact, solid, safe and quiet hi-tech sports car of the nineties. It offers dramatic proof that the convertible is a part of the American driving experience and it is here to stay!

PRICE AS TESTED: $ 43,625 fitted with almost every BMW option.

BASE PRICE: $ 38,800.


           Base Price              $  38,800
           Price As Tested         $  43,625
           Engine Type             I6, dohc - 24v - mpfi
           Engine Size             2.5 liter/152 cid
           Horsepower              189 @ 5900
           Torque (ft/lbs)         181 @ 4200
           Wheelbase/Length        106"/175"
           Transmission            four-speed automatic w/od
           Curb Weight             3450
           Pounds per Horsepower   18
           Fuel Capacity           17
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded premium (91 oct)
           Tires                   Goodyear Eagle GS-N 225/55R15 92V
           Brakes                  anti-lock standard  disc/disc
           Drive Train             front engine/rear drive
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
             city/highway/observed      18/26/20.9
           0 to 60 mph                  8.2 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                16.3 sec
           Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)    .35