1998 BMW M3 Sedan

This ’98 M3/4/5 sold for $19,750.

So the E30 M3 is probably out of your league, and clean examples of the E46 generation are getting more expensive by the day. The solution is still the E36. The Internet will make arguments all day long about how this car isn’t as special as the ones that came before and after, but the reality is that it’s still a M3. And you could make a compelling argument that it did (and still does) a better job of bringing sports car performance to a practical package that’s affordable to almost everyone. The S52 3.2 liter inline-6 doesn’t sound as great on paper as the race-derived S14, but it had two more peak horsepower than that strung out 4 we looked at yesterday. More telling was torque; 236 lb.ft at 3,800 rpms versus the Sport Evolution’s 177 lb.ft at 4,700 rpms. Yes, it was heavier; the curb weight of the M3 Sedan you see here was about 3,200 lbs. But the additional power made up for it, and the results should be no surprise. 0-60 was dealt with over 1/2 a second quicker than the Sport, a gap that was maintained right through the quarter mile.

And practicality? It’s no contest, really. Not only is the E36 safer, but the E36 added 4-doors to the recipe. Not to mention the costs to keep one running – check out the price of a S14 rebuild today, for example. Owning a legend often doesn’t come cheap, and in this case you the current bid on this 48,000 mile 1998 M3 is cheaper than what a proper rebuild of the race motor will cost you.

Then there’s the driving experience. Downgraded ///motor be damned, these cars are absolutely stellar to drive. I’ve driven each of the first three generations of M3 on track in anger, and the second doesn’t give up much to the bookends. It’s not as toss-able as the original nor as powerful as the third, but overall it’s right there. The steering is near telepathic, the shifting precise, the power band broad. It’s a deceptively good car and deserves far better than the treatment it’s currently getting, which is to mostly be ignored in the marketplace:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan on Bring a Trailer

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1994 BMW M3 Euro-spec – REVISIT

Hot on the heels of Craig’s Mugello Blue RS4 Cabriolet, I spotted this Mugello Red M3 that looked quite familiar. A 1994 model, it’s a full European specification 286 horsepower car, meaning it’s the E36 that you wanted but BMW decided was too expensive to import. Back in 2014 when I first looked at this car was it a reserve auction, but as of now the first bid at $12,500 will get it. The current seller has taken a gamble with the no reserve auction format, but no information provided means the buyer would also be rolling the dice if you didn’t have the earlier description we do below. With only 4,000 more miles accrued, this hotter M3 is in above average condition with below average mileage and quite desirable package overall that is very affordable.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Euro-spec on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site October 12, 2014:

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Tuner Tuesday: 1995 BMW 318ti Club Sport Supercharged

What’s the perfect commuter car? Well, that varies by your definition of commuter, how far you need to drive and how much traffic you encounter, and what your goal is – do you want high mileage, or perhaps you want extreme comfort and isolation. But I’d like to think that a fair amount of our readership would love to have a dual purpose car. It would be something that wouldn’t be a collector-status car, but yet one that was unique and not often seen. It would combine comfort and affordability. While some would opt for automatics, I’m sure a larger percentage would choose to row-their-own boat. Fuel mileage, while gas is cheap now, would probably still be a consideration, as would maintenance. And finally, when the traffic cleared and there was a empty bit of road, most of us like to squeeze the pedal down that bit further and be rewarded by and entertaining push in the back. That’s a difficult grouping of characteristics to achieve in one package, but I’d like to suggest that this 318ti might just be the car.

The Club Sport was the answer to the question that effectively no one was asking in 1995; depending on the source, BMW sold a reported 200-300 of them in 1995 only. What the option 9530 got you was a 318ti hatchback that had been breathed upon by BMW Individual. Added were 16″ sport wheels, M3 front bumper, rocker trim and mirrors and a special rear bumper. But it was more than an appearance package, because it also received a M-tuned suspension, special steering wheel and shift knob and uniquely trimmed Millpoint M-cloth sport seats. The seller of this car has brought the performance up to M levels, though, with the addition of a PSS9 coilover suspension, double spoke M3 wheels and supercharger to the M42 inline-4:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 318ti Club Sport on eBay

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Teens Well Spent 2: 1994 and 1995 BMW M3 Coupes

A few weeks ago I wrote up a lightly modified 26,000 mile Dakar Yellow M3 coupe; in that post, I said that the $25,000 asking price was out of line with the market in my opinion. Perhaps it was the mods that really threw me off, but I set out to prove my point the following week by showcasing two original M3s that I thought were better propositions in my “Teens Well Spent” post. Both cars were available in the mid-teens and both highlighted how for about $10,000 less than the asking price of the 26,000 mile example you could get a neat, original M3 still with low miles and in great condition. Well, this week I have two more to once again underscore that point – as the 26,000 mile example continues to languish on eBay with no bids and an unchanged $25,000 asking price, I have a stellar original Dakar Yellow example and a mysterious ’94 Canadian one to consider:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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Well Spent Teens: 1995 BMW M3 and 1996 BMW M3 Euro Convertible

Last week we featured a string of E36 M3s, culminating in a very low mileage but high priced, lightly modified Dakar Yellow priced at $26,000. To me, it was a strong as considering there are many other very good E36 deals in the teens that would be equally striking and potential investments down the road. So, today I’m taking a look at two other E36 models, both priced about $10,000 less than the low mileage example, that I’d jump into first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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1990 BMW 325is S52 Swap

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The S52-E30 swap makes a lot of sense to me, and I hope to some day try one out – if not own one. We’ve seen examples that range from Eastern Europe-y to So-Cal slacker, but today’s silver 325is takes a decidedly more subtle approach. Yes, it’s modified, but the E36 DS2s look good, as do the Alcantara centers on the seats. Overall it’s a pretty great package that, if the seller’s claims of no issues at all hold true, make this an exceptional E30. My biggest issue with this sale is that the motor came from an M Coupe, which makes me sad. Maybe that M Coupe got was totaled… but let’s just pretend it got an S62 swap. Either way, this seller took an opportunity and did an E30 swap right.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 325is on eBay

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10K Friday: E36 or E46? 1998 M3 Sedan v. 2002 M3 Convertible

Last week’s M3 v. S4 10K showdown wasn’t particularly a success, I’ll admit. No one wanted the question marks behind those two modified cars that were arguably overprice and too-high mileage. I’m back today with another duo, and as always I’ve tried to spice it up a bit. Today we’re going to look at a E36 M3 Sedan versus a E46 M3 Convertible. No brainer? Ah, but the sedan has an automatic and is the semi-polarizing Techno Violet. Not to let the E46 run away with things either, the E46 is the less-desirable convertible with the less-desirable SMG transmission with many, many more miles. Yet, they’re offered around the same price, which begs the question “Which would you choose”? Let’s look at the sedan first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 on eBay

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