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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
I've been contemplating this for awhile. I have always wanted a e36m3 and currently own a 2001 330I. I went to my local BMW dealer and they had a 99 M3 with 25k miles on it. I almost made the trade but did not like the green color. I dont dislike my current car, but something inside of me is telling me to get the M3. What do you think? I may post an ad soon to see if anyone is willing to trade their low mileage 98 and up m3 for my 330I. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks guys.
 

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Do what I did - drive them both, back to back. I did that and decided on the M. Don't make the choice on a whim - you may end up very disappointed. On the other hand, you may love yourself. Here's a thread the describes my decision process:

E36 M3 vs. E46 330Ci
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hey Jetfire,
Thanks for the link. I agree with you on your summation of the m3. Ive driven the m3 many times and like it a lot. My friend has a 95 m3 and I drive it constantly:) Ive been too much of a chicken shit to pull the trigger but feel the time is right now. Im not getting any younger and the cars arent either. The 330I is a fantastic car however, I just prefer the m3. I test drove the 99 on the lot and instantly made my decision. If it wasnt for the color of it, I would have traded on the spot.
 

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Maximus said:
Hey Jetfire,
Thanks for the link. I agree with you on your summation of the m3. Ive driven the m3 many times and like it a lot. My friend has a 95 m3 and I drive it constantly:) Ive been to much of a chicken shit to pull the trigger but feel the time is right. Im not getting any younger and the cars arent either. The 330I is a fantastic car however, I just prefer the m3. I test drove the 99 on the lot and instantly made my decision. If it wasnt for the color of it, I would have traded on the spot.
there are some guys here who went from 330s to e36 m3s. and some more who are thinking about it. the ones that did have compelling arguments, but it comes down to feel. if you like the feel of the m3 and how it drives, etc....
 

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I am surprised TD is not all over this post. Maybe he's too busy straightening things out at the .org (j/k). Anyway, as some of you know I am loking for an E34 as a replacement for my second car and I have been visiting some dealers this week to do some test drives. I also happened to test drive 2 E36 M3s in the process just for the fun of it. You really need to ask yourself what it is that you are looking for in a car. I would not trade my 330i for an E36 M3 and I will give you my reasons. Yes, M3 does handle better, there is less body roll and it feels tighter overall. It feels faster though not overwhelmingly so. But I was in a market for a sports sedan. The thing that BMW does better than any company out there. I can sacrifice this incremental increase in performance/handling for more luxury, better fit and finish (I am sorry but e36 simply looks cheap inside to me - but then again a Porsche does look cheap inside as well compared to say E46 or an Audi...) and the feeling of having a brand new car and last but not least the convenience of a sedan as opposed to coupe (this is not an issue if you can grab one of these 4 door M3s - note to BMW: please start making M3 in a sedan trim again and I will be the first one to trade!)
As you can see it is all about what YOU really prefer. Don't let anyone else skew your decision but really think hard what it is that you are looking for in a car. You just can't go on with the feeling of lacking something with a car you just dumped 40K on. I personally couldn't be happier with my 330i. This is exactly what I've been after. :D
 

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Michael330 said:

As you can see it is all about what YOU really prefer. Don't let anyone else skew your decision but really think hard what it is that you are looking for in a car. You just can't go on with the feeling of lacking something with a car you just dumped 40K on. I personally couldn't be happier with my 330i. This is exactly what I've been after. :D
Exactly. It is not a simple decision - you give up certain things to get other things. Like you said, my M3's interior cannot come close to an E46. The fit and finish is fine, but the materials and design are clearly dated. No doubt about it.

The truth is, you're going to be driving "normally" for the vast majority of your car's life. You'll only occasionally get the chance to really enjoy the limits of your car, so you have to make sure that you are comfortable with more than just the raw performance. I am very happy with my decision, but I can definitely understand why someone may go with the E46 based on interior/comfort issues.
 

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The way I view it is if you can afford the M3 and want a 2 door / coupe, why not get the top of the line model that is offerred.

The key here is that you said you could afford the M3.

If you decided on the 330ci (which is a great choice), you will always think WHAT IF I had the M3.

If you decided on the M3, between the permanent smile on your face of driving such an incredible car (and the looks you get from the many admirers), you won't be thinking.....WHAT IF I had a 330ci............

Go for the M3 for these reasons and more. Heck I would, if they came out with a 4 door / sedan version (but again that is my preference).

Good luck!
 

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bmwguynj, I think you might be talking about the E46 M3. We're comparing the E36 M3 to the E46 330Ci. (Again. :))
 

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Jetfire said:
bmwguynj, I think you might be talking about the E46 M3. We're comparing the E36 M3 to the E46 330Ci. (Again. :))
Jetfire, thanks for the clarification and noted. I think I was so excited hearing about the current M3, that I jumped the gun! However a M3 is a M3, so you can't go wrong with either generation!
 

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I don't have much to add to what has already been said; if you've driven the M3 and prefer it, get it. You won't regret it.

Having said that, there are still quite a few low mileage 99s out there. If you don't like green, I'd wait for a color you like. Contradicting myself completely, when the right car came along I bought it despite the fact that silver was low down on my list of preferred colors (after Estoril, black and maybe even green), but 5 speed convertibles are a lot harder to find than coupes.
 

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JST said:

Having said that, there are still quite a few low mileage 99s out there.
Yup. I thought I was lucky to find one with 18000 miles last month, but then I ran into a neighbor. He's a service advisor at a local dealership, and his wholesaler found him a '99 with 7500 miles on it in February! Be patient, but be a little flexible.
 
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Michael330 said:
I am surprised TD is not all over this post. Maybe he's too busy straightening things out at the .org (j/k).
I'm usually not here much on weekends. I just saw the thread.

And, yup, I am one of the guys who dumped an '01 330i for an E36 M3 (in my case, one of the 4-doors w/5-spd).

I have written MUCH on the subject. Search the archives at the Org (search on "TD" and "E36" and "330i") and you'll find A LOT that I've written on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the opinion guys. They are much appreciated. John Shafer, you wouldnt happen to have any 1999 low mileage M3's in stock, would ya?:)
 

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bmwguynj said:
The way I view it is if you can afford the M3 and want a 2 door / coupe, why not get the top of the line model that is offerred.

The key here is that you said you could afford the M3.

If you decided on the 330ci (which is a great choice), you will always think WHAT IF I had the M3.

If you decided on the M3, between the permanent smile on your face of driving such an incredible car (and the looks you get from the many admirers), you won't be thinking.....WHAT IF I had a 330ci............

Go for the M3 for these reasons and more. Heck I would, if they came out with a 4 door / sedan version (but again that is my preference).

Good luck!
E36 M3 is going to be actually cheaper than new loaded 330i/ci so it is not a question of money.
 
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