From BMW press: In the mid-30s, production roadsters and competition cars were still very similar in technical terms – and motorsport was still the ideal place to prove the performance and reliability of a production car. But to keep up with the competition, BMW soon had to build cars with more power and muscle. So BMW’s engineers looked for ways and means to significantly increase engine output without increasing engine size. And they found the solution – the M328, the engine powering the legendary BMW 328 sports car in 1936.
Right from the start in its debut at Nürburgring on 14 June 1936, BMW’s new roadster literally pulverised even the most powerful supercharged competitors. This outstanding success was attributable to the well-balanced combination of superior engine power and cutting-edge suspension technology characteristic of BMW roadsters to this day: 80 hp in the regular version and low weight of just 830 kg or 1,830 lb gave this elegant roadster superior performance still impressive today.
With the BMW 328 Roadster initially being restricted to motorsport as of mid-1936, production of the series model started in spring 1937. And so this high-performance sports car was driven not only by BMW’s works drivers, but also by private customers since, over and above racing, it was very well suited for everyday use. And with its top speed of 155 km/h or 96 mph, this was indeed one of the fastest cars on the road back then.
But again, the BMW 328 Roadster remained a very rare bird, with only 464 units of this classic roadster being built up to 1940.