When it comes to E36 M3s, Dakar Yellow gets my blood pumping. Grey M-Cloth interiors only amplify the effect further. This is a very cool car, with an unexpected (and super rare) sport cloth interior beneath its Dakar Yellow flanks. The Motorsports wheels and largely stock appearance (save for a slight drop) add to this car’s seemingly honest presentation, but the rear M3 badge is tweaked just enough that I wonder if part of the car was repainted at one point. Still, that interior is very much sought after and could be worth the price of admission alone. But while updates like the Depo headlights are welcome, some details on this S52 M3′s maintenance history would be appreciated more.
All posts tagged e36
Welcome back to Week in Review. We apologize for not getting this out sooner, but with GCFSB staff on the move with summer travels and your managing editor dealing with a move, we were a bit tied up. But let’s take this chance to recap the last month of vehicles we have featured:
Well, I hope this will stir some interest, as I think this is a bit of an interesting comparison. What level of performance can you buy for $10,000 (give or take) these days? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options – and those options vary pretty seriously in their execution and packages; there’s a wagon and a sports car, two sedan-based coupes and a hatchback. Engines range from a 2 liter turbo to a V8, with a bit of everything in between. Yet, what appears to be a very strange comparison linked only by price is revealed to be much closer when you look at performance figures:
E36 M3: 240 hp, 0-60 6.0 seconds, 3,200 lbs
944 Turbo: 220 hp, 0-60 5.9 seconds, 2,900 lbs
CLK500: 302 hp, 0-60 5.7 seconds, 3,800 lbs
S4 Avant: 250 hp, 0-60 5.6 seconds, 3,700 lbs
GTi: 200 hp, 0-60 6.6 seconds, 3,200 lbs
The range is much closer than you’d expect – especially when you consider that these figures could easily be equaled in margin of error, driver skill and reaction time. In the twisties, the lower powered cars like the GTi catch up to the higher power CLK and S4. All are, in one way or another, practical choices. Some are destined (or already) classics, while others will likely fade away. So what would be your choice? Let’s start with an M3 we’ve already seen:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay
There are plenty of people that think that the E36 M3 came to the U.S. in neutered form, but if you drive one you’ll realize that they’re pretty capable cars right out of the box. But BMW knew that the M3 would be hitting the track, and right out of the box they offered a more track-focused version. Stripped down and with extra aerodynamic equipment, the Lightweight was an instant hit with club racers and track addicts, but many enthusiasts still felt that they deserved the full-fat M3. However, if the recent trends with the E30 have taught us anything, it’s that even the less-special versions of the special cars will still command stronger money, and the Lightweight is certainly one of the more special E36 cars. Details like the moveable splitter and stackable rear wing, along with those great Motorsport-colored flags and forged wheels; I’ve loved this car since the first time I saw one pop up at the track in late 95:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight on eBay
The E36 model range can be seen as somewhat plain-jane at times, with even the IS nomenclature losing a bit of the allure it held with the E30 lineup. Still, they were reliable cars with fairly straightforward construction and affordable maintenance schedules. The 318is featured here is a clean Canadian car, still in stock configuration. When faced with having to purchase a commuter vehicle, I’d gladly put my money towards an economical 4-cylinder E36 than a comparative Honda. And while many will likely say the E30 is a more entertaining driver, the E36 really did move the needle forward in terms of creature comforts and pleasantries like sound-deadening. Still, they’re about the same money and neither generation of the 318is is a bad choice.