Rightly so, I’ve been accused of comparing everything to BMWs – so for today’s 10K Friday, I thought why not compare BMWs to BMWs? Part of the reason I compare various cars I write up to the alternative BMW products is because for some time they have been considered the benchmark, and their popularity from new to the used classic market means that they set the pricing trends against which others can be judged. That’s especially true of the 3 series; for some time, the go-to performance product from Germany, increasingly many earlier generations of the 3 are being viewed as not only collectable, but indeed as investments. So, what does your $10,000 budget buy these days? I’ve rounded up five examples from the first five generations, covering nearly every configuration the small executive platform has been available in. Which is the winner?
All posts tagged 3er
As E30 Touring imports pick up some steam, we get to see a wider variety of the wagon offerings the rest of the world has known about for over 25 years. We’ve seen the base-model 318i up to the rare all-wheel drive 325ix, each providing a sharp package with fun driving dynamics while enabling hauls that a standard trunk could never hope to handle. With many examples coming from the right-hand-drive UK, you have to decide if such a great overall package is worth the brain reorganization necessary to appropriately traverse our LHD roads.
This is one of those bassackwards drivers but brings a very distinct look thanks to a rare (especially on wagons) M-Tech body kit normally present only on the ix models, complementing the E30’s clean top lines with fender flares, exaggerated front and rear valences, and side skirts. 16″ Style 5 wheels help fill those enlarged fenders resulting in an overall package that looks both clean and aggressive. The automatic transmission is the other main detraction besides RHD, but we’ve forgiven autos on great-looking E34 wagons in favor of good looks and utility, so why not do the same here?
Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i Touring on eBay
While the BMW E30 M3 is experiencing epic levels of popularity, for yours truly, it’s not my favorite of the lot. No, my favorite would be the E36 M3. I’ve always had a thing for this car, even if it’s heart was based on the M50 inline-6 found in lesser E36 models. There is something about the crisp lines of the E36 that grabs my attention, as the E46 which followed was a bit softer in appearance. Today, we no longer have a two-door M3. Instead, we’ve moved up a number to the M4. Even though it’s “technically” an M3, I’m not too keen on driving a car with the same name as a motorway in the United Kingdom. So let’s take a look at this 1997 M3 for sale in Illinois. Finished in Estoril Blue, this one has yet to cross the 70,000 mile mark.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW M3 on eBay
As I look forward to the next few years and what kind of car I might move into next, the BMW 3 series coupe is always up there on the list. This is a car that seemingly has it all, such as practicality, performance and the availability of a manual gearbox, which, sadly seems to be waning with the newer models. There is also a huge aftermarket for these coupes as well, from mild tunes to wild M3 clone iterations. This 335i Coupe for sale from our friends at EuroWerkz has been treated to some Dinan modifications, inclusive of Stage II software and camber plates.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan at EuroWerkz
Most of our recent BMW E30 posts have centered around the loss of the affordable clean examples. Those that weren’t turned into LeMons toys or smashed into trees by stock traders’ children are usually hoarded and overpriced. Well our patience has paid off, loyal GCFSBers, and we have a clean, mid-mileage example for less than ten grand! It isn’t 100% stock or original, but pretty close; this is no track rat or dorifto thrasher. A short-shift kit and Bilsteins are the only mechanical changes, with a shift knob, aftermarket stereo, and interesting vinyl/cloth interior overhaul the only things separating the interior from its 1988 birth. As clean examples become the stuff of rose-colored dreams, someone should wake up and buy this sweet little legend.