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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay... first of all, I only had limited time behind the wheel and am open to changing my opinion over time and especially with a later model of E36 M3. also keep in mind that this is a single VANOS, OBD-I 3.0 and my car is a sedan without folding rear seats (pretty damn rigid) and a Dinan stage-II suspension.

the first thing I noticed was the difference in HP. the M3 felt significantly weaker than my 330 through out most of the RPM range. you wouldn't know that the M3 had 2o or so more HP at the crank. the power didn't really even kick in until near redline. outside of race track conditions, this is a real disappointment. the car has a full cat back system (AC Schnitzer, I think) and that may have reduced the low end and mid range power in exchange for a few HP at the top of the range. anyway, I was unimpressed.

handling seems to be the same but I did prefer my own 330i SP over the M3 because the 330 feels more refined. the M3 held the road better through corners but that is due to the fact that my car has aging contisports on it and his car has new (but scuffed in) yokahama AVS sports. my car would break loose a little where his wouldn't break loose at all. the M3 had HR suspension and upgraded bilstein shocks.

all out performance of these two cars is probably about equal but the 330 has much better manners when you're NOT driving fast so in my book, it's a better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I should probably add that if the clock were rolled back (pre E46) I'd probably feel differently (I WOULD be impressed).
 
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Obviously I have to say something, although I am not in the mood for a long explanation...

The torque went up a good bit with the bump to 3.2L for'96+. (Don't have stats handy.)

I had a 330i when I was test-driving the E36 M3s (all '98s) prior to buying mine. They all felt SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the 330i.

IMO, the 330i is a bit TOO refined.

Take it all for what it's worth. It's just my opinion.

But try driving a '96+ and see if it's any different. I've never driven a '95 so I have no idea.
 

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TD said:
Obviously I have to say something, although I am not in the mood for a long explanation...

The torque went up a good bit with the bump to 3.2L for'96+. (Don't have stats handy.)

I had a 330i when I was test-driving the E36 M3s (all '98s) prior to buying mine. They all felt SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the 330i.

IMO, the 330i is a bit TOO refined.

Take it all for what it's worth. It's just my opinion.

But try driving a '96+ and see if it's any different. I've never driven a '95 so I have no idea.
I haven't driven a 95, either, but I agree with TD. When I went straight from his M3 to CD 55s 330Ci, my first thought was "where's the low end?" The 330 felt good up top (partly helped by CD 55's ECIS), but off-idle the M3 had a substantial advantage. A lot of this is down to gearing; the post 96 M3s had significantly shorter diffs than did either the 95 M3 or the 330 (I think the numbers are 3.23, 3.15 and 2.93, respectively).

I've also got no experience with the Dinan Stage II suspension. I imagine that this would quell some of the body roll that TD doesn't like, and improve transient response. I've never had quite the vociferous objection to the E46 SP that TD has, so I can see why the slightly more refined E46 with Dinan mods might be a better choice than the 95 M3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TD said:
But try driving a '96+ and see if it's any different. I've never driven a '95 so I have no idea.
yes, that certainly needs to be done. getting more time behind the wheel on familiar roads with a later model would certainly be a better comparison.

I knew you'd chime in, though. :D

while a bone stock non-SP 330i might be too refined (and I generally agree with that), upgrading to the Dinan stage-II suspension, getting the steering retrofit and then replacing the steering wheel with the black stitch M3 wheel tweeked it just right and takes some of the edge off of being too refined (at least in my opinion). with the suspension upgrades that my car has, I think it will do anything that a stock or even slightly modified 95 M3 can do. there's no question that the later models are likely capable of outperforming my car (same driver).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
atyclb said:
according to edmunds:

'95: 240 HP @ 6000 rpm, 225 ft-lbs @ 4200 rpm

'98: 240 HP @ 6000 rpm, 236 ft-lbs @ 3800 rpm
the better low end torque and lower gearing is definitly an improvement over the 95.
 
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31st330i said:


yes, that certainly needs to be done. getting more time behind the wheel on familiar roads with a later model would certainly be a better comparison.

I knew you'd chime in, though. :D

while a bone stock non-SP 330i might be too refined (and I generally agree with that), upgrading to the Dinan stage-II suspension, getting the steering retrofit and then replacing the steering wheel with the black stitch M3 wheel tweeked it just right and takes some of the edge off of being too refined (at least in my opinion). with the suspension upgrades that my car has, I think it will do anything that a stock or even slightly modified 95 M3 can do. there's no question that the later models are likely capable of outperforming my car (same driver).
Well I had a SP 330i 5-spd (much like yours) with UUC sways, the steering retrofit and the M3 steering wheel (plus UUC clutch stop and shift knob) and I still thought the car was very numb and soft compared to the E36 M3.

I agree that the 330i with mods you have (or even I had) is a VERY capable car. It's just not nearly as communicative to the driver as the E36 M3. And that's very important to me. It's a feel thing.
 

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JST said:

A lot of this is down to gearing; the post 96 M3s had significantly shorter diffs than did either the 95 M3 or the 330 (I think the numbers are 3.23, 3.15 and 2.93, respectively).
This is EXACTLY the problem.

The 330 has no trouble with E36 m3's on the highway, but forget it from a start. Now if you change out the gears to the Dinan setup or get the step gears installed along with the Stage II suspension, they become almost equal IMHO. :thumb:

Edit: To bad both of those will set you back about $2500!! :yikes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
TD330ci said:


This is EXACTLY the problem.

The 330 has no trouble with E36 m3's on the highway, but forget it from a start. Now if you change out the gears to the Dinan setup or get the step gears installed along with the Stage II suspension, they become almost equal IMHO. :thumb:

Edit: To bad both of those will set you back about $2500!! :yikes:
I think the Dinan differentials are just off the shelf BMW differetnials just from different models. in other words, I don't think that there's any value add by going with the Dinan unless you consider their service and support better than what you would get from someone else installing the same parts.

I almost went for the gearing change but nixed it at the last minute. if I could find gearing that isn't so low combined with limited slip, then I'd reconsider.
 

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TD330ci said:


This is EXACTLY the problem.

The 330 has no trouble with E36 m3's on the highway, but forget it from a start. Now if you change out the gears to the Dinan setup or get the step gears installed along with the Stage II suspension, they become almost equal IMHO. :thumb:

Edit: To bad both of those will set you back about $2500!! :yikes:
I wonder if a limited-slip 3.23 E36 M3 differential would bolt up to a 330?
 

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wait a minute....

the 1995 M3 was the stopgap car.

it is a 3.0 litre (bored out 328 basically) with 225HP (NOT 240HP!!!!) and about 225ft#'s. these are damn fine cars IF you tweak them and take advantage of OBDI mods available. easiest car in the recent history of bmw to get 285hp or so at the crank under $4000 without supercharging.

the post 1995 cars are 3.2 litre motors with said 240hp/236ft#'s. and if they're torquey, it's more because of the rear end (3.23)...i personally find my engine (S52 M3 motor) to be peaky now that i'm used to it. and that makes sense, all it is? a bored and stroked 328 engine from the mid 1990s.

the dual vanos motors suffer because of hte gearing in the 330s but they breathe so much better and have flatter torque curves. unfortunately, they gain about 300 (i think unnecessary) pounds.

the 330 has a lot more upside to it because of dual vanos, though. HP will probably be close to 260hp-270hp when the model run is done. they left themselves lots of room here to get HP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm not sure I'd want to gear my car any lower than it already is. perhaps a little lower like what you'd get by reducing the tire diameter slightly. I'd be more inclined to upgrade the differential just to get the limited slip versus a lower gear ratio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: wait a minute....

blackdawg said:
the 1995 M3 was the stopgap car.

it is a 3.0 litre (bored out 328 basically) with 225HP (NOT 240HP!!!!) and about 225ft#'s. these are damn fine cars IF you tweak them and take advantage of OBDI mods available. easiest car in the recent history of bmw to get 285hp or so at the crank under $4000 without supercharging.

the post 1995 cars are 3.2 litre motors with said 240hp/236ft#'s. and if they're torquey, it's more because of the rear end (3.23)...i personally find my engine (S52 M3 motor) to be peaky now that i'm used to it. and that makes sense, all it is? a bored and stroked 328 engine from the mid 1990s.

the dual vanos motors suffer because of hte gearing in the 330s but they breathe so much better and have flatter torque curves. unfortunately, they gain about 300 (i think unnecessary) pounds.

the 330 has a lot more upside to it because of dual vanos, though. HP will probably be close to 260hp-270hp when the model run is done. they left themselves lots of room here to get HP.
yes, I've heard this as well and think that it's common knowledge that OBD-I cars are easier to tweak. but I think their easier to tweek because there IS room to tweak. the OBD-II cars seem to have more fuel and ignition maps to cover the best air fuel ratio for any given condition. that's the real reason that they're harder to tweak (because they are already maximized from the factory) not because the OBD-I is necesarily any easier to tweak in the first place.

yeah, I'd buy the whole 225 peaky horsepower idea. that's exactly what it felt like.

I don't know how BMW is going to get 260-270HP out of the present motor unless they do it by bumping the compression, changing the cam timing or playing with the displacement and or bore and stroke. the intake and exhaust already flow pretty well to begin with. they're not gonna get it from software alone.
 

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well..................

there's no doubt in my mind that when people smell the 2005 3 series redesign, they're going to have to do something to spur sales since the 3 series is their bread and butter.

and i wouldn't put it past them to bump compression. we already have to run premium anyway. and more aggressive cams. and a tad up bore. they might even play with the stroke, but right now the 3.0 litre engine is undersqaure, so if they square out the engine plus bump compression, HP comes really easily.

just my 0.02.

tangential side note: anyone drive the new audi 3.0? it's amazing how gutless that engine felt to me. of course i'm biased, but still. oh yeah, and the new a4's are true pigs. oink oink. i think the 3.0 quattro is close to 3700 pounds. that's how much the e46m3 convertible weighs. yeck.
 

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Re: well..................

blackdawg said:
there's no doubt in my mind that when people smell the 2005 3 series redesign, they're going to have to do something to spur sales since the 3 series is their bread and butter.

and i wouldn't put it past them to bump compression. we already have to run premium anyway. and more aggressive cams. and a tad up bore. they might even play with the stroke, but right now the 3.0 litre engine is undersqaure, so if they square out the engine plus bump compression, HP comes really easily.

just my 0.02.

tangential side note: anyone drive the new audi 3.0? it's amazing how gutless that engine felt to me. of course i'm biased, but still. oh yeah, and the new a4's are true pigs. oink oink. i think the 3.0 quattro is close to 3700 pounds. that's how much the e46m3 convertible weighs. yeck.
The throttle body free system from the 7s (why can't I remember the name?) should be good for 15-20 hp, easily, when it's applied to the M54. Electronically actuated valves are supposedly in the works, too, but I doubt those will trickle down to the 3 before the replacement arrives. Stroking the M54 to 3.2 liters is as easy as swapping the S52 crankshaft for the S50 derived unit already in there. I doubt you'll see a bore increase, though; the block is pretty close to the limit (look at what they had to do to get the S54 to 3.25 liters). Changes in the intake and exhaust can probably yield another 10-15 hp.

I'd say 260 hp is possible with the basic M54 architecture, 3.2L, throttle-less fuel control, and intake/exhaust tweaks.
 

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So THAT was the problem!

I drove a '95 M3 (Dakkar Yellow!) on the same day as a 97 540i6. I got into the M3 first 'cause I had *always* wanted an M3 and felt like the yellow would compliment my really really green 2002 nicely. Not mention the fire engine red 6. I wanted to have a bimmer stop light!

I figured it felt sluggish 'cause the sales guy was +250llbs and I'm no slouch, either. I was *really* dissapointed in the car. I mean, I left the dealer scratching my head and wondering what all the fuss was about.

I went to another and drove a 540i6 just minutes later. I was doing 80 in third with loooong legs to 6th. I fell in love.

Of course, NOW I have to drive a 98 M3 to see what THAT'S like. :rolleyes: Thanks for nuthin, fellas.:mad:
 
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nate328Ci said:
Despite the 100lb disadvantage that the 330 has...
Nate playing fast and loose with the facts again... 100 lbs. HA!

250 lbs of heft and 30 lb/ft less torque plus the higher diff gearing makes for a SIGNIFICANT difference in speed between the two.
 
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