The earlier M3s also had black high-gloss plastic trim which I thought was a bit cheap for a near $50k car (alum was optional). This was rectified with a better looking dark gray trim, and alum became N/C I believe.
I like the 2004s since that was the year they put LEDs in the taillights but was the last year they had Leguna Seca Blue.
I think the high gloss looks like crap. I have brushed alum, it looks awesome but does scratch easily. As far as im concerned, the best year is the newest year...LED tails look good, and comp. package is sweet if you want to go that route.
I could give a crap about the color of the trim I'm looking for cars that where built that had good reliability....I know with older BMW's transition years where the ones to avoid....In some cases I like the 1997 and 98 before the new body in 99 and 00
new body was in 01. I dont see the reliability as being all that different between e36 and e46 aside from the rod bearing recall. If you can afford an e46 i wouldnt let reliability influence ur decision to get an e36 instead...
I don't know if rust would be a concern for the E30 M3 (1987-1989), but I'm pretty sure it is not with the newer generation cars. They have galvanized bodies - and besides, few people drive M3s in the winter... but even if they would, it's not like they don't have winter/salt in Germany where they make'em - quite the contrary. :yikes:
As a general rule with bimmers, buy the newest model you can afford.This advice is valid for daily drivers. If you want a collector's item, the E30 M3 is the only way to go.
Other than that, the E30 and E46 are more maintenance-intensive than the E36 (no hydraulic valve actuators, more finicky engines), some E36's have been known to tear the rear subfloor (rare?) and have cooling issues, and the early E46 have had a major engine recall. Also, if you want to keep it for a long time, avoid the SMG - I'm 100% convinced it's a disaster waiting to happen. :dunno:
For me personally, it would be an 03 in Steel Gray, or an 05/06 with the Competition package.
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