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superbreadninja 01-08-2011 04:40 PM

Would you recomend a E36 M3?
So I've decided that I want to get a new car. Something sporty and cheap, off the top of my head are older Mustangs, Camaros and E36 M3's fit right into that category. I am not a fan of Camaros and a couple of my friends own mustangs already. I want a car that is comfortable because I hopefully will be attending college in San Diego next year, a 9 hour drive. My current car, a outback gets uncomfortable after only 20-30 minutes so that would kill me. Would you recommend a M3? I am familiar with cars and maintaining cars to a certain degree and can easily find what I need otherwise on here. Would insurance be astronomical? 18 year old, no tickets or warnings. Taking that into consideration and anything else you need to ask me how reasonable would a E36 M3 be?

Jrcanes55 01-08-2011 08:31 PM

Hey there. This is cool. I'm 17 and I have an M3. I have to say it is AMAZING! It is the best car to have but if your like me and don't have money to just throw into the car it might not be the best car for you. Literally every other week some new problem comes up. M3s are money pits, Parts cost a ton and places that do the work on the car charge out the butt for labor. So i'd say if you've got the money do it but if not buy something cheaper and easier to maintain. Maybe a 328 or similar. But whatever you do don't get a camaro they are CRAP.

superbreadninja 01-08-2011 08:55 PM

That's the one thing I'm afraid of. I can do a bunch of basic fixes myself, and I have 2 other resources that would help me. My best friend races stock cars so both he and his family have a lot of both experience and knowledge to fix engines and such, should I not be able to. I am also friends with a guy that restores classic chevy's to show quality and track quality (drag at least). He has his own lift and machine shop and everything at his house and would be willing to help me out with fixes. To pay for them I would have a thousand or 2 saved for repairs and such in the first couple years. And of course I would be adding to that over time. I'm hoping that would be enough.

How much is insurance for you? Yours should be pretty similar to mine.

And glad we agree on camaro's :) I would much rather have a Mustang over that and would much rather have a E36 over a Mustang.

Jrcanes55 01-09-2011 07:11 AM

Well, that sounds a lot better than what I have to work on mine. I have my dad's tools which are completely unorganized but you sound like you've got some really good connections. I'd say that you would be set. While the E36 is prone to problems it is actually one of the most easy cars to work on so I think with 2K handy you'll be fine.

Insurance I'm not sure. I know it wasn't that bad. The car qualifies for a lot of discounts because it has side airbags, shock absorbent front and rear bumpers and lots of other little minor things. I'm on my parents insurance and they won't tell me what they pay.

superbreadninja 01-09-2011 08:48 AM

Great! Thanks! I wanted a car I can work on as a beginner and have no problem! I like this car more and more!

Same with mine currently and I will most likely have to pay for the insurance difference of the M3 and my car, hopefully it won't be too bad.

ffej 01-09-2011 08:58 AM

To make it clear, an M3 will only be marginally more expensive to work on than a 328. Many, but not all, of the parts are exactly the same. It will initially expensive if you really want it to be tight and true from the get go. ~$1200 to the car cost in parts alone if you can DIY - which if you have even decent mechanical aptitude you can - to replace ALL the bushings, front & rear control arms, tie rods, transmission mounts, rear shock mounts, guibo, stuff like that. If you're lucky, the previous owner(s) took care of the cooling system and some of the maintenance.

They really are excellent cars, but if you're young, your insurance premiums will also be a little on the steep side, as well.

e36m31993 01-09-2011 03:15 PM

Hey man,

I'm 17 and also have an E36 M3. In regards to its performance, I love it! I previously owned a Subaru Impreza, which, honestly, is nothing compared to the M3. My M3 has about 97,500 miles on it, and its strong through every corner and like a jet off the line.

However, the cost of maintenance is pretty high. For example, my car has cracked control arms and bushings, which will soon need to be replaced. If all the parts are bought and installed through my local BMW dealer, the price will be around $1.5k. However, when everything is replaced, the parts should be good for another 80-100k miles. This goes for eveything else on the car as well. The cost of maintenance is really worth it, as the car will last a long time before a recently replaced part needs to be overhauled again. Of course, always expect the unexpected, just in case. I expect my M3, whether I still have it or not, to last well past 200k miles. If you beat your car, however, its maintenance and longevity will be a totally different story.

I was in a similar position as you when looking for a new car. I owned a Subaru, and loved it for what it was. But the M3 is a such a great leap forward in build quality, comfort, design, performance, etc. Just make sure that the M3 you are going to purchase has been well taken care of by ALL of its owners (if there are multiple). You may find people that debate over which package (luxury or sports/base model) or options are the best, but you really can't be too picky. These cars are rare, and honestly, every option has its perks. No matter which direction you go, you will be happy.


Oh, I also did a lot of research before purchasing my car, as it was over 1000 miles away (had to make sure it was the right one). If you have any questions about options, packages, wheels, engines, etc., just ask.

And in contrast to what the poster above me said, my insurance went down. I, like you, have no tickets on my record. Thus, you should expect the same, especially coming away from a Subaru like I did.

superbreadninja 01-09-2011 05:39 PM


Originally Posted by e36m31993 (Post 5756292)
And in contrast to what the poster above me said, my insurance went down. I, like you, have no tickets on my record. Thus, you should expect the same, especially coming away from a Subaru like I did.

Really? from the Subaru to the M3? During the transition did you become 18 or anything? Thanks! This helps a ton!

I am perfectly of with traveling to find it, my best friends Mustang was over 750 miles away, The dealer was asking 35, he got it for 17. And it is a $35,000 car easily. Hopefully I can do something similar.

The how it's so much better than my car in every aspect("build quality, comfort, design, performance, etc") is why I want to get one. Do you think it's comfortable enough for 9 hour drives or road trips with vader seats?

And lastly maintenance. I'm hoping this car will be the kind of car I keep just for memories sake and it stays with me for 40 years (maybe). So I will definitely be taking very good care of it, and not pushing it a lot or even most of the time. Probably very sparingly.

One quick question is how is the gas mileage? I heard they actually get decent mileage. I want to get a 6 spd but I have yet to see anyone talk about a E36 with one, yet Wikipedia says they have it.


azmx74 01-09-2011 06:46 PM

Hi Tyler,
I drove my M3 down from Michigan to AZ when I bought it. It was very comfy but I didn't have Vaders. Can't imagine those being less comfy though. I also took my wife & 2 kids on a 2k+ mi road trip with it and we all had a blast. It's true the car takes a lot of maintenance but it's worth it, and most of the common things are doable DIY for me at least. My car never broke down or left me stranded, but there were a lot of little things to keep up on it. For insurance, I'd recommend shopping around. You can get free quotes from Progressive that'll show you generally what your different options would cost to insure. But it could vary by carrier- 90% of the time I had my M3 it was insured by AAA and I paid a lot. I thought that was just how the car was. But when I quoted it with Progressive it was mush less, and not any more than a "regular" car would be really. I'm nearly 40 though, so they might hit you for being young. Just shop around, and before you decide so there's no surprises there. Oh, and for mileage I averaged 22-24 mpg.

superbreadninja 01-09-2011 07:11 PM

Everyone brings up maintenance :violent: Hopefully since I will be in college it won't be driven that much and I will have the time to DIM. (Do it myself)

Thanks for the comfort input :thumbup: It's rather important for the drive down to San Diego. And for a senior trip me and some friends want to do a road trip around the US and I think it would be superb for that :) and so if everything works out I can find a car before the summer. Thanks azmx74!! I think that I will end up shopping around for insurance making sure mine is not too much.

e36m31993 01-09-2011 07:19 PM

Nope, I'm still 17. Maybe when I turn 18 my rates will drop even more.

As for traveling, you very well might have to. My dad and I flew to Texas from Florida, and drove the car back. I was on the phone with the dealer for about a week, making sure everything was perfect. The price of the car will vary depending on who you buy it from. Since I bought mine from a dealer, the price, around $9,100, was firm. You can usually work with private sellers.

The e36 m3 came in two different trims - sports package or luxury package. Mine happens to be a luxury package. Up to 1997, the lux package included wood trim, more comfortable seats, and a less aggressive body kit. Basically, it was like a "sleeper" package. With all this, the lux package weighs about 125 lbs more than the sports package. The sports package, or the base model package (lux was $3,300 extra, while sports was standard), had vaders (more sporty seats), black leather and plastic where the lux wood would have been, and more aggressive styling. The styling differences are NOT major though. Past '97, the lux and sports packages were essentially the same besides the wood trim and seats....I think. With the lux package, my car was comfortable for the 17 hour drive.

This car will last you forever, if taken care of!

My gas mileage is hovering around 19 mpg around town, depending on how I drive.

The six speed transmission you heard about is the Euro spec m3. The euro spec m3 had 320 hp, opposed to the US spec m3 that has 240 hp and a 5 speed trans. Unfortunately, they are very hard to find.

superbreadninja 01-09-2011 07:30 PM

Do you know why your rates dropped? It was previously mentioned side airbags, shock absorbent bumpers, and such.

Do you know how much a salvaged title would be? assuming little or no mods and good condition. I know to be wary of them and of course will not buy one with any frame damage or what not. Curious because one in my area is for sale, only damage was the bumper and the trunk lid, all fixed now. 100k miles, white on white interior, 5sp. He is asking 7,900. I was feeling this was way to high as I saw a modded, professionally done, M3, same miles, but way more for 8,500.

I definitely would want the sports package with vaders, assuming they are comfortable enough.

Jrcanes55 01-09-2011 07:43 PM

That's the main problem with the e36 m3. People charge the worst prices. My dad got weaseled on the price for his car. He payed 10k for a car with sagging headliner and needed every single bushing replaced. With these cars you NEED to go test drive them first. When driving it do a couple tests, do dome hardish braking to see if it pulls to on side, listen/smell for any odd noises/smells, check the body thoroughly for scratches cheap repairs and other things. Make sure when you bring the car back to park on cement or similar and after a few minutes check for any leaks. There are so many things that could be wrong with the car. So look around test drive a couple and pick the one that seems to be in the best condition with the most well documented history.

The vaders are plenty comfortable. I drove from NC where I live to Maryland nonstop except for gas and food, My butt didn't hurt at all. As for gas mileage If you have a manual and coast as much as you can you can easily get upwards of 26 mpg.

superbreadninja 01-09-2011 08:10 PM

I checked out our local dealer and it didn't have any :( The one I'm looking at seems to be in good condition, but I would need to find out more. I'd definitely bring one of my car helpers (friends dad or guy that restores) to make sure the engine is sound. Car fax the best place to look for repair histories?

azmx74 01-09-2011 10:17 PM

Salvage title? brrr. Be more than cautious- full coverage insurance is no-can-do for many carriers and resale is much harder if you ever sell it. My M3 was a clear title but it was rear ended and the trunk lid was also replaced. It affected nothing until I went to sell it, then I had to discount it a lot to get any interest. Again: clear title, not salvage. I bought my car with a clean Carfax, the accident in '01 showed up on Autocheck. So if you're serious about a car maybe pull both? Autocheck has a better deal anyway where you can get unlimited reports for one price while you look. Makes it easy to weed cars out.

superbreadninja 01-10-2011 04:56 PM

Hopefully I will not sell it for awhile until the miles have built up and it won't sell for much anyway. My plan is too keep this car as long as I can. So I'm looking at reasonable salvaged titles to lower my cost down.

rrsperry 01-12-2011 06:56 AM

There is no such thing as a cheap M3... It's a 12-17 year old German sports coupe, (or sedan). They require extensive maintenance, lots of expensive parts, have bunches of funky trim clips that break with age, and are more expensive to insure.

e36m31993 01-12-2011 06:23 PM

Dude I'd stay clear of salvaged titles, no matter how "good" it seems. Even minor fender benders can bend a chassis ever so slightly. Admittedly, this is rare. However, other things can be affected too.

Before I purchased my current M3, I stumbled across one that was exactly what I wanted. I was about to purchase it, but then I found out that it had been involved in a minor accident. According to the owner, he had had no knowledge of the accident until he was getting the car's 100k-mile maintenance done. The mechanic asked if it had ever been hit because he saw that some "body work" had been done under the car near the trunk and rear bumper area. In addition, upon checking the car's CARFAX, I found that the accident occured on the previously mentioned owner's time, contrary to what he told me. It makes you wonder how "minor" a "minor" accident really is if a mechanic can tell it has been fixed and if an owner would lie about it. Of course, it could have been a bad repair or a mix-up in the CARFAX, but even so...

In regards to the high insurance rates mentioned by the poster above me, mine lowered. Maybe my situation is rare...I dunno. But I think that the age of the car has a lot to do with it. How high can rates be on a 12-year-old+ car.

superbreadninja 01-12-2011 09:04 PM

Well what I dream of is a theft recovery salvage title :banana: cheap and no damage :) but the chances of that are slim. More likely that I will have to suck it up and pay a little more :( but what ya gunna do?

eatsleeplax 01-12-2011 11:21 PM


Originally Posted by superbreadninja (Post 5766681)
Well what I dream of is a theft recovery salvage title :banana: cheap and no damage :) but the chances of that are slim. More likely that I will have to suck it up and pay a little more :( but what ya gunna do?

not always a dream and it could be worse. The car could have been stripped and someone found it, retitled it and replaced it with cheap or used crap to turn a profit.

superbreadninja 01-12-2011 11:25 PM

Ya.... I don't like that idea as much so I try to not think to much about it and stay positive

BayAreaBimmer 01-13-2011 08:57 AM

I'd roll with an E34 5 series to be honest but that's just my opinion. Either that or a 67 mustang :)

e36m31993 01-13-2011 11:11 AM

Yeah, an e34 m5 would be sweet. I love those cars. Only prob with them is that they will be hard to find with low mileage (under 100k). Definitely wouldn't mind having one. As far as I'm concerned, the e34 m5 and e36 m3 are equally as cool. However, I'm not sure which one actually performs better, is more reliable, etc. Maybe start looking for one tho.

BayAreaBimmer 01-13-2011 11:13 AM

You make a very good point, do some research around the forums and you'll find out which car you want :thumbup:

e36m31993 01-13-2011 06:04 PM

oh dude im not the OP. I was just telling him what I would do lol.

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