Using the 326’s short ladder chassis, the 327’s larger capacity 1971-cc six-cylinder engine delivered 60hp. Power was transmitted through a four-speed gearbox and hydraulic brakes were fitted to all four wheels.
The 327 was somewhat overshadowed by its older brother, the 328 in the eyes of the brand’s enthusiasts. The older version, launched a year earlier was considered faster, lighter and more compact. Even so, the 327 produced record-braking sales for BMW, clocking up 1396 unit sales between 1937 and 1941, and after the resumption of production after 1945.
That sales success was largely due to the fact that unlike its predecessor, the 327 had four real seats, a feature afforded to it by its longer, wider and heavier body. Although less powerful and agile, it proved to be the more comfortable and refined option—which ended up winning it a wider target audience in pre-war Germany.
The decade of the 1930s was the turning point in the automobile industry as it turned away from horse-drawn carriage designs to the contemporary body architecture of which the 327 is one of the best exponents.
Although the BMW 327 was a very advanced car for its time, the production processes that supported it were not. Far from the long-established capacity and production processes in the USA, the Eisenach plant, where BMW produced this model, was simply not set up for large-scale production. The investment required to action such changes was difficult to justify in a Germany where very few could even imagine buying a car of their own.
All the BMWs of that time were thus largely hand-built by skilled craftsmen, whose labour and attention to detail often made the final product more expensive. Although of very high quality, the high price tag was only accessible to particularly wealthy customers, who, failing to resist the 327’s modern and appealing design, coughed up the 7450 Reichsmarks for the coupe version, and 7500 for the cabriolet version. This car was donated to the Museu do Caramulo by Ricardo Sáragga.