1998 BMW M3 Sedan

1 While the E36 M3 coupe is known to be a relatively quick, dynamic and fun car to drive, it’s often hard to find a good one. That’s largely because so many of the coupes have ended up as thrashed track-rods with dubious modifications. On the other hand when they do turn up for sale, the relatively uncommon sedan versions are more likely to be found in stock, unmolested condition and as such have tended to keep their value. This is probably because they’re more likely to have been used for trips to the organic grocery store rather than to a track. (There’s an Arctic Silver one with Yakima roof racks that I often see where I live in DC, parked near a place colloquially known as Whole Paycheck, and yes, I eye it jealously every time I see it). The two extra doors do not fundamentally alter the M3 package, except to add a healthy dose of everyday practicality, while the M-tech bodykit that distinguishes the Ms from ordinary cars lends the already handsome sedan body shape just the right amount of sporting aggression. I think these cars are well on their way to becoming a bit of a cult classic. This M3 has those two extra doors plus the all important 5-speed manual gearbox, making it an “M3/4/5” in enthusiast-speak.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan on eBay

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1997 BMW M3 Sedan

One of my favorite new search criteria isn’t for a particular model, but I’ve taken to scanning the local Craigslist adds by the term “BMW manual”. It returns an interesting assortment of cars rather than a specific chassis; cars, SUVs, and motorcycles all fit the bill. And while truth told most of the cars that fit the criteria of a manual BMW are pretty tired and rusty E36, E46 and occasionally a 5 series or an outlying E30, once in a while something pretty nice stands out. An “El Corazon” in my Romancing the Stone search this week was this Boston Green M3/4/5:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan on Boston Craigslist

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1999 BMW M Coupe

When it comes to the best of the bunch of very memorable M cars, unfortunately the M Coupe doesn’t seem to rank in the top 5. Granted, with the S54 motor fitted to later examples it should, but enthusiasts rightly lump the first series of M cars as likely the best, and for number 5 you’ve got so many great choices; the stellar and understated E34 M5, the brutal but effective E39 M5, the rev-happy E46 M3. Then there are more recent wonders, such as the 1M and V8 M cars, both in turbo and non-turbocharged forms. But in the middle of these cars lay the cool and unique M Coupe. It wasn’t the fastest, most practical or best looking M car made – but it’s a combination of many factors that make it so desirable as a package – plus, it’s still affordable and a reasonable daily driver. Is there a better package for the money right now?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M Coupe on eBay

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