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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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Old 12-25-2013, 10:29 AM
taimuraq taimuraq is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: M3 '99 'vert
Newbie looking for advice in buying used M3

Hi guys,

I am looking to buy my first car here in the states, and this is going to be my first BMW as well. I really need some advice from the pros here. I am looking at an option between:

-1999 m3 convertible (5-spd manual)
-2004 m3 convertible (6-spd manual)

The e36 has 87k miles on it whereas the e46 has 73k miles on it, but as expected, the price difference is almost double. The e36 is going for $11k whereas the dealer is asking $21k for the e46.

My considerations:

-The car will be a used as a Daily Driver
- Which car will require relatively less maintenance. I know that bmw is high maintenance but i also know that e46 has a lot more electrical parts to it. Does it automatically make it harder to maintain? Which one is more reliable? Which will require less trips to the mechanic over the course of next 20k-30k miles
-I will more than likely sell the car and upgrade next year once i get more funds...which one would give a better percentage resale value after 10-12 months?

I would really like some expert advice as I am probably going to buy either of the two by this weekend or max next week.

I have already had the e36 inspected by a mechanic and he has told me that I would need to put in another $1k to get the car in tip top condition. Nothing major though. He said everything else about the car is solid, so it is a good buy and should last me long. He also told me that e36 is lower maintenance cost than compared to e46 but the e36 convertible top is notorious for having recurring issues.

So, thanks in advance and happy holidays!

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Old 12-28-2013, 07:50 PM
taimuraq taimuraq is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: M3 '99 'vert
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:54 AM
thundergoat thundergoat is offline
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Location: Houston TX
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: M3 E36 1999
Newbie looking for advice in buying used M3

Since you're obviously on a budget buy what you can afford and enjoy, both will require scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, both will still depreciate.

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Old 01-05-2014, 07:40 PM
EE05063 EE05063 is offline
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Location: USA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: M3
buddy of mine has two 98 E36 M3 verts. Both have top issues. They just rarely work right. I couldn't in good conscience recommend buying any convertible honestly.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:20 PM
Echo46 Echo46 is offline
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Location: Long Island, New York
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 224
Mein Auto: 2006ZCP M3and 1999 M3vert
I have an 1999 e36 m3 vert and a 2006 ZCP e46 M3. Without question the e46 M3 is much more expensive to maintain. With the e46 M3, you will need to address the Vanos and all it's problems, rod bearings, and rear subframe. Additionally, oil changes, rear differential fluid, tranny fluid changes are all more expensive in the e46. The e36 M3 is a lot easier and cheaper to work on.

Both cars are a joy to drive but both have a very different feel. The e36 is a real drivers car, balanced and attaches its driver to the road in all the right ways. The e46 is just a beast. It tries to be luxurious but thankfully retains that famous BMW cockpit feel. On the road it is just about as close to perfection as you can get, ImHO. It is just right and words can't describe how I feel about the e46 so your just going to have to drive the damn car. Again, in my opinion the E46 M3 is arguably BMWs best ---well a very very close second to the E30 M3. You will love driving both of these machines.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:44 PM
wavewuver wavewuver is offline
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Location: CT
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 368
Mein Auto: 2011 X3
I've owned a couple of E36's. One was an M3. They are fairly easy to work on and the power trains are very solid and long lasting. Just do regular oil changes etc. The E36 M3 drives really nice but the E46 really provides the power that the E36 just doesn't have.
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Old 07-18-2014, 04:47 PM
williamm3 williamm3 is offline
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Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 1995 M3 Lightweight
This is a good check list:

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Old 08-05-2014, 10:14 PM
Josegmoran Josegmoran is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 11
Mein Auto: M3
E46 m3 need valve adjustment at inspection two.

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