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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,
I just subscribed to this forum. I'm an avid BMW fan and have been waiting to buy one for years. I'm currently graduating college and am going into the USAF to fly. Anyhow I have always wanted to get an E36 M3 due to the beauty of the design and power etc. I have also thought about getting an E46 325 or 330ci but i just don't like how much more luxury oriented the 3 series has become :( I started looking at E36 m3s online just to get a ballpark for what they are going for and have been sorta questioning some stuff. First off most of the ones I have seen have been around high 20s to mid 30s. I'm looking for the lowest mileage possible but have had a hard time finding something in my price range of under 30K. I'm trying to find a car under 50K miles due to the fact that this will be my primary car and will be driving it a lot! So my question is first off.... how reliable are these cars... anything particular to look for or be careful of , and finally do you think it would be worth the money for one over a e46 ?? Thanks so much for anyone that can give me some opinions or advice. I have been on some other forums and people haven't really been that helpful. Anyhow this site looks great and i can't wait to get my bimmer hopefully!

cheers
 

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I'm not an E36 owner, but used to...

So, you're right. The E46 became somehow more luxurious... But IMO, I think that's only when compared to E36's and other older cars... If you look at its competitors today, you'll see that they're all "more luxurious"... I think the E46 (have had 3) is as driver oriented as the E36 (had one). I mean, drive both hard and you'll see... But that's just me. The general consensus is: the E46 is a more isolated platform... "Feel" ain't there anymore (it sure isn't in the '01 MY :tsk: ). Like I said, I've had 3 E46's (including an E46 M3), and out of 3, 2 of them had very decent "feel".

Also, IMO, it's not exactly "fair" to compare an M car to a non-M car. The E36 M3 will "feel" more driver oriented no matter what... Drive a non-M E36 and a non-M E46, and you'll see what I mean... Usually people compare E36 M3's to non-M E46's because they're in the same price range, but again, different cars. An E46 M3 is totally different from a non-M E46 too (had the privilege of owning both for 6 months).

As for reliability, I can't contribute much. Like I said, I've had one E36 and 3 E46's. I put ~50K combined miles on them without any major problems. Actually, the only "problem" I had with them was the battery on my 325i that used to "die" on me every morning and needed replaced...

I think everybody on this board will tell you to drive both and see which one you like better. That's the most important thing. As you said, you'll drive it a lot... However, some people here did dump E46's in favor of E36 M3's, and I'm sure they'll be able to give you great pre-test drive insight. :thumbup:

Good luck with your next car purchase :bigpimp:

Edit1:

Actually, this thread may be helpful... :thumbup:

Edit2:

Oh, I forgot. Congrats on becoming a pilot. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but then found out my vision wasn't 100% and didn't pass the medical exams... :( Ended up in the IT industry... :cry: Just kidding, I actually love what I do, but I'm sure I would've enjoyed being a pilot MUCH more... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alex,
Thanks so much for the input!! As you said it is sorta unfair of me to compare the cars but you are right ... doing it b/c of the price. Anyhow I have driven both but not within the same time span so it is hard to compare from memory which one pulled better etc. Only thing i know is that i felt like i was really driving in the e36 meaning it had the great feel.

as for the pilot thing, it has been my lifelong dream! I can't believe they pay me to do it :)
 

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into things retro
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Welcome aboard . . .

I had a '95 Avus Blue E36 M3 2 door 5 speed that was a beauty until it was totalled by a motorcylce running a red light of all things. Last November in SoCal, the insurance gave me about 27.5K and the car had about 29000 miles on it. I don't know how expensive the FLA. used car market is, used cars in LA tend to go for higher $ than other places.

I loved the way the car handled and mine had no mods. I hear the E46 M3s are even better on the handling. The 240 hp may seem a little slow compared to what's out there now. I guess one question would be: do you intend to modify the car? If so, and you love the E36s, there's mods you can do to help overcome any shortcomings (which won't be many) the car may have. The only reliability things I could mention are: the battery went bad (open cells) and the computer would give me erroneous brake light failure messages. Other than that, the car was flawless. I would suggest checking out the E36 M3 board at roadfly.org.

Oh to be in your place. If you plan to keep the car a long time and not do any mods, I would see if there are any '95 M3 lightweights in your price range. They only sold 125 in the US! :)
 
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DTMfan said:
Hey,
I just subscribed to this forum. I'm an avid BMW fan and have been waiting to buy one for years. I'm currently graduating college and am going into the USAF to fly. Anyhow I have always wanted to get an E36 M3 due to the beauty of the design and power etc. I have also thought about getting an E46 325 or 330ci but i just don't like how much more luxury oriented the 3 series has become :( I started looking at E36 m3s online just to get a ballpark for what they are going for and have been sorta questioning some stuff. First off most of the ones I have seen have been around high 20s to mid 30s. I'm looking for the lowest mileage possible but have had a hard time finding something in my price range of under 30K. I'm trying to find a car under 50K miles due to the fact that this will be my primary car and will be driving it a lot! So my question is first off.... how reliable are these cars... anything particular to look for or be careful of , and finally do you think it would be worth the money for one over a e46 ?? Thanks so much for anyone that can give me some opinions or advice. I have been on some other forums and people haven't really been that helpful. Anyhow this site looks great and i can't wait to get my bimmer hopefully!

cheers
I will spare everyone the details (again) but I had an E46 330i (SP, 5-spd) and ditched it for an E36 M3 sedan for the reaons discussed. I wanted a comfortable, practical sports car not a sporty luxury car. The 330s are sporty luxury cars ("Not that there's anything wrong with that...").

There are a number of board members who now drive E36 M3 after having owned E46s (myself, JST, SteveMD, JD). We should be able to field any specific questions you have.

As for advice, it's no different thatn for any other car. Have it checked out by an independent mechanic and, when test driving, pay attention to overall "tightness". And compare the car's mileage to the wear levels on it's tires and brakes to get an idea of how hard it was driven.

The E36 M3s are largely bulletproof so, be picky, but don't worry. Get the newest, lowest-mileage copy you can find and afford.
 

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Hey DTMFan,
I recently drove both cars over the same weekend. I put some hard miles on both of them, in an effort to find out which one I like better. For me, the decision was obvious. The M3 was immeasurably more exciting to drive.

It's a matter of what you want. The M3 is the driver's car and the non-M E46 is more of a "get there" car. Either one is fantastic.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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The M3 is a fantastic car; there's nothing else like it. In addition to everything else that's been said, I wanted to add that you shouldn't necessarily be afraid of a higher mileage car. For example, an M3 with 45K miles that has just had the c. $600 Inspection II and has been driven mainly on highways on the weekends might be a better buy than one with 30K miles that has been driven 2 miles back and forth to work every day.

Here is a FAQ for the car: http://www.eurospeed.org/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the replies keep em coming!! Im sure i will have more questions in the future to ask.

JST, ignore my ingnorance but why would a car with higher mileage be better in this case as compared to a low mileage weekend car per say??
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
also i know this should probably be in another thread but what is this that i keep on hearing about an M Sport Package that can be ordered on non M cars (e46)
 
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DTMfan said:
also i know this should probably be in another thread but what is this that i keep on hearing about an M Sport Package that can be ordered on non M cars (e46)
It's mostly a cosmetic package, consisting of sort of M3-lookalike parts. Only available in Canada and overseas from the factory, but you can order the parts and have them installed. Here's a pic of the front bumper (also known as M-technik)



(the painted headlight trim isn't part of the package)
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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DTMfan said:
thanks for the replies keep em coming!! Im sure i will have more questions in the future to ask.

JST, ignore my ingnorance but why would a car with higher mileage be better in this case as compared to a low mileage weekend car per say??
I was comparing a higher mileage freeway use car with a lower mileage daily driver.

Basically, I'm just saying that all miles are not created equal. A daily two mile stop-and-go slog is probably harder on the car than a 20-30 mile run on the highway. The other point I was making is that, since these cars periodically require expensive maintenance checks, a car that has had one of these done recently may be a better buy than one that has one coming up soon, since a) problems will have been identified and, presumably, resolved, and b) you don't have to plan on forking out $600 in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
JST said:


I was comparing a higher mileage freeway use car with a lower mileage daily driver.

Basically, I'm just saying that all miles are not created equal. A daily two mile stop-and-go slog is probably harder on the car than a 20-30 mile run on the highway. The other point I was making is that, since these cars periodically require expensive maintenance checks, a car that has had one of these done recently may be a better buy than one that has one coming up soon, since a) problems will have been identified and, presumably, resolved, and b) you don't have to plan on forking out $600 in the near future.
thanks for clearing it up for me!
 

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DTM-

Drive both cars and you will know which you prefer within 5 minutes. I ditched my e46 for an e36 without a second thought. I like my M3 so much that I will probably do anything I can to keep the car as long as possible (new engine, repaint, ect...whatever it would possibly need to keep the car looking and driving new).

As to ther mileage question....I bought my car with 28,000 miles. And it has taken the engine about 6,000 miles to loosen up. I don't think the previuos owner ever red lined the car. I have routinely red lined the car and engine performace has seemed to have improved. Lower miles does not always=better. Good luck!
 

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Re: Re: Re: Re: All E36 M drivers in here please

TD said:


I still love you, Ryan. You never miss a chance to take a shot.
Ryan MUST be another member on the board also. There's just no way he can catch so many of your posts to insult by lurking. That would be impressive though. :confused:

You 2 are pretty funny to watch though. :p
 

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M3

I used to drive a 99 323 and recently my lease ended and I was going to buy a new car. I was at first looking at a new M3 and really liked it and I drove a new 330 as well and that was fun too but as soon as I got into a '97 E36 M3 I was totally in love. I love the rougher feel. If I want luxury I would have gotten a mercedes but I wanted a real sporty feel.

Good luck! :thumbup:
 
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