Feature Listing: 1995 BMW M3 Dinan S3-spec

It’s interesting to consider how enthusiasts today view the E36 M3. Generally speaking, you’re either a completely devoted fan who insists that the E36 is not only the best M3, but perhaps the best BMW ever made. Why stop there? Why not go straight for best car in the history of the world, ever? On the other side of the coin, detractors love to point out that the second M3 was softened up for the U.S. market, that it wasn’t as potent, as pure, as Motorsporty as the original curb-hopping, box-flared legend.

Arguably, they’re both right. It’s certainly true that BMW made the decision to tone down the M3 for North American consumption. That was a really good thing for two reasons: one, that we got it at all, and two, that it remained affordable. Consider, for a moment, that the E30 M3 had grown quite expensive to sport all of that motorsport heritage. By 1991, the base price of the M3 was $35,900. Of course, it was competing against even more expensive cars like the Porsche 944S2, which was a further $10,000 more dear. While we can talk about driving spirit all day long, if we look at the fact sheets what you got was a bit soggy in comparison to today’s cars. Inflation corrected, the M3 would be around $62,000 – pretty much spot on the entry price for today’s M3. The new car has more than double the horsepower of the original and enough tech to launch all of the Apollo program missions.

So what was really exciting when the new M3 was launched in late 1994 was that price point; $36,000. That was some $14,000 less expensive than the European model, and yet performance was within a few clicks thanks to a revised version of the 325i M50 engine. In fact, many – including notoriously BMW-savvy Car and Driver – suggested that the U.S. spec M3 was a better choice than the more exotic Euro model for our roads.

Today, the E36 M3 remains for many the smart choice within the lineup. Long overlooked as the obvious choice, prices have remained low relative to its predecessor and even its replacement. Modern comparisons often skip the E36 entirely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get exotic performance and looks from the middle child:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1993 BMW M3 iDing Power S3

Looking for a subtle performance sedan? Today’s not your day.

You probably haven’t heard of iDing Power, because odds are that if you’re reading this you don’t live in Japan. And even if you’re an afficiando of M3s, you’d probably dismiss this particular car as a M3 GTR replica for the street like I did. But this car is far more than that, and much more interesting.

The M3 GTR launched in 1994, and the United States did (technically) see it in the form of the Prototype Technology Group-run team in IMSA race series. The same year in Japan, iDing Power revealed the plans for their turned-up E36 M3. They had acquired an early production second generation model; production started for the E36 M3 in February, 1992 – and the particular example you see here was produced on February 3, 1993. iDing then added a plethora of unique touches, from upgraded suspension, wheels and brakes, special interior items, and some body modifications. By “some”, of course it’s hard to look past the W201 190E-Evo inspired rear wing and massive tacked-on flares. iDing also took the S50B30 European motor, rated at 286 horsepower stock, and modified it to a claimed 330 horsepower. iDing widebodies are pretty rare finds, but even among them this one is particularly special. With only 7,600 miles on the odometer, this example appears to be the original prototype and test car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW M3 iDing Power S3 at Cool Running Japan

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Tuner Tuesday: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3

Edit 11/3/2017 – I looked at this Dinan modified M Roadster last August, but there was little information and it hung around for quite a while at $25,000. It has now moved on to a new seller who has taken some more photos and raised the price $4,000. After last month claiming it was an ISR3, the seller has confirmed what our comment from Eric indicated – it’s “just” a S3 Roadster. It has about 1,000 more miles since last year but still looks relatively reasonably priced if you like the color combination and gutsy Dinan modifications – Ed

The other day I was talking with my friend about Turner Motorsports. I first met Will Turner when he was a BMWCCA instructor, just trying to establish his business of selling parts on the side. He and his compatriots all sported E30 M3s; this was, after all, the days before the launch of the U.S. E36 M3. Turner managed to parlay early success in a local modification scene outside of Boston into a countrywide business, and after some time in the club race scene he moved into the major leagues. Success against better funded teams was sometimes difficult, but today Turner is still alive and very much kicking, having become one of the two defacto factory-backed teams running the M6 GT3. To get to that point of factory involvement is an arduous journey to say the least, and few who start out make it.

One other who did was Steve Dinan, who took a niche tuning business from the 1980s into a factory option today. You can walk down to your dealer and order up a fully backed, Dinan modified car. That took a tremendous amount of work and is a testament to the quality of the products on offer from Dinan. They truly take the well-engineered BMWs to the next level, but modifying them to do so can be quite pricey. Take today’s M Roadster, for example. While it wasn’t exactly a cheap car to begin with, with entry level prices in 1998 starting around $42,000. This M Roadster, though, went on to get a further $36,000 in modifications from Dinan:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 Sport 2.5

Though ultimately not as well known as Alpina, AC Schnitzer replaced the more famous brand a the defacto factory race team in the late 1970s and 1980s. To capitalize on their success at the race track (including the successful campaigns in the DTM), in 1987 AC Schnitzer launched their first brand-specific model based upon the new E32. That was followed by a more sporty E30-based model, dubbed the ACS3 Sport in 1989. It was available based upon either a normal 3-series, or those with a bunch of dough could opt to allow Schnitzer to modify their prized M3. And modify it did; subtle changes outside included revised mirrors, a light change to the rear end and a single-wiper conversion to really channel the DTM spirit. Wheels were either 17″ multi-piece Schnitzer design, or the ever-popular BBS RS model in 16″x8 or 9. As Alpina did, Schnitzer included their own steering wheel (4 options available), a numbered plaque, bespoke suspension 20mm lower than the standard ride height, and a unique rectangular-tipped exhaust. However, the real treat was the full 2.5 conversion, which really packed some extra power in the S14. Schnitzer brought the total displacement to 2,431 cc – just shy of the 2,467 BMW themselves would produce in the 1990 Sport Evolution. Coupled with a revised DME, the S3 Sport 2.5 produced an impressive 245 horsepower. They are exceedingly rare to come across, but our reader Daniel spotted this fully converted 1988 example for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 2.5 at Garage Current

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2004 BMW M3 with 16,000 Miles

I think it’s safe to say that I don’t drive my car very much. We live in a city and walk most places, and even when I do drive it’s generally less than 15 miles away. Yet, despite my car sitting weeks at a time and the very short drives that I do take, I’ve managed to put about 3,500 miles a year onto the car since I’ve gotten it. To be honest, sometimes I can’t even figure out how I’ve even put that many miles on the car, but they sneak up on you. I really enjoy driving my Passat, too – so it’s not a case of “I hate driving this car” either. That’s why I find today’s M3 particularly puzzling – here’s a car I’d really, really love to drive and own, but it’s only accrued an average of 1,598 miles a year for ten years. How is that even possible?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1998 Dinan S3 BMW M3 Sedan

If earlier’s Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 911 Turbo didn’t quench your lust for all things purple, I’m happy to offer another Barney-colored treat for you. However, unlike the friendly and more than somewhat irritating children’s star, the object of interest here is the very popular and quickly become a classic E36 M3 sedan. Offering practicality, a stiff chassis with lighter weight than the coupes, this car has turned into one of the more sought after BMWs in recent history. This is especially poignant considering the current state of the rest of the 1980s M market; if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now, you’re likely to miss out. Further heightening the appeal of this sedan is the more rare shade of Techno Violet; a polarizing but popular color, and of course the full spectrum of Dinan S3 upgrades. Take a look at this purple people eater:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Dinan S3 BMW M3 Sedan on eBay

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1995 BMW M3 Dinan S3

MA_640

The E36 M3 was lauded as one of the greatest handling cars of all time, but those of us in the US were always a little disappointed that the M3 made due with 240hp here throughout its lifespan, while the Euros ended up with a 321hp beast that makes the E46 seem like a lot less of a leap than it was here. There were many ways to go about fixing the lack of power, but few are more reputable and holistic than Dinan’s packages. With just an intake, chip, and exhaust, the first M3 I drove had a healthy dose of aggression. Today’s comes with the full meal deal, earning the Dinan badge and a Euro-shaming 340hp out of the supercharged 3.0l. That’ll be plenty for me, and it carries the bigger stick without raising its voice, just some Dinan blocks at each corner. This example is cherry in color and condition, having covered just 38k miles. With BMW’s endorsement of Dinan, examples like this may well become the most sought-after, especially when they are this well cared for.

Click for details: 1995 BMW M3 Dinan S3 on eBay

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2005 Dinan S3 BMW M3

When I wrote up yesterday’s 2002 Dinan S3-R M3, I wanted to find an equivalent model to it for sale for value comparison. Naturally, I think the best counterpoint would be a lower mile late build E46 M3 equipped with the ZHP competition package, the hardest-edged M3 available without modification in the U.S.. To my surprise, I found an even better comparison; a ZCP equipped M3 with enough modifications to get a Dinan registration, but without the supercharger and suspension rework of the S3-R. Today’s example looks ready to race in Imola Red:

Year: 2005
Model: Dinan S M3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed SMG semi-automatic
Mileage: 39,003 miles
Price: $35,991 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 BMW M3 Dinan S on Ebay

2005 BMW M3 Coupe w/ $20K in DINAN upgrades!
1 Owner! – Low Miles! – Never Raced! – Creme Puff!

Call Laurel BMW Sales – 630.537.0311

Over $20,000 in DINAN upgrades include:
— Performance Exhaust
— Air Package
— Throttle Bodies
— 3.9 Rear End
— Additional Oil Cooler
— Water and Oil Guages
— Stainless Stainless Steel Brake Lines
— Stiffener Braces front and rear
— Cam Shaft
Dinan Registered
 
VIN:   WBSBL93495PN62120
  Chassis Number:   PN62120
  Line Make:   01 – BMW 
  Model Year:   2005
  AG Model Code/Desc:   BL93 – M3
  NA Model Code/Desc:   0537 – M3   

Exterior Color Code:   405  (Imola Red)
  Interior Trim Code:   N5SW (Black Leather)
  MSRP:   $59,740.00   

Vehicle Production Date:   2005/02
  Motor Type:   S54 
  Platform/Engineering Series:   E46   
        

   
   Original Options
   0ZCP  Competition Package 
  01CA  CO2 relevant vehicles
   0403  Moonroof
   0459  Power front seats 
  0473  Center armrest
   0494  Heated front seats  
 0508  Park Distance Control
   0521  Rain sensor and auto headlight
   0522  Xenon headlights
   0640  Phone preparation 
  0650  In-dash CD player
   0676  Hi-fi sound system 
  0692  CD changer preparation
   0793  SMG-Sequential Manual Gearbox  

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The ZCP Competition Package on the M3 added some nice details, but in my eye the best of those is by far the wheels. Those BBS 19” wheels transform the car’s look to be both prettier and more aggressive at the same time. There are some modifications to add some power – the exhaust sounds great, the throttle bodies add a few horsepower, and the 3.91 rear end gives you a bit better acceleration, but to me these modifications don’t really alter the M3’s basic characteristics, unlike the supercharger addition in the S3-R. Imola Red fits the character of the M3 well and is one of the prettier reds available on any car, although I still don’t understand why anyone would spec a car with black leather. This car with caramel leather, or better yet Imola leather, would just put it over the top in my opinion. As is, though, the car presents very well and looks to be in fabulous shape.

Both the 2002 Dinan S3-R M3 and this car are priced right at the top of the E46 market. One of the long term benefits of not having the supercharger is less wear on the transmission (in my mind, a big benefit with the SMG) and perhaps a less expensive engine rebuild/replacement if you owned it long enough. To me, that’s probably a good enough trade off for the loss of acceleration. I don’t think the Dinan registration helps the value short or long term on this vehicle, but I also don’t really think the modifications detract from the value and are pretty easily reversible if you wanted to revert to stock specification. Which would you rather have?

-Carter

2002 Dinan S3-R BMW M3

Tuner cars can be the stuff of dreams when they’re done right, and the subject of nightmares when gone wrong. Many tuners bolt of ton of parts onto a car, slap some stickers on it, and to be damned with what happens in 10,000 miles – they’ll be onto the next photo shoot. Some select tuners, though, are so good at their craft that the German factories recognize their work as up to their standards. Most of these tuners reside in Germany, but a few have popped up in the United States. Dinan is one such company, good enough at their craft to be recognized by the factory and have the modifications available directly from the dealerships. To be that good requires massive trial and development which comes at a serious cost – fully spec out a Dinan S3-R, and you more than doubled the original list price. The results were as impressive as the list price – 460 horsepower pumping out of the 3.2 M3 inline-6 put the M3 into 911 Turbo speed territory. Today you can pick up one of these rare rockets for about a third of the original asking price – such as today’s Topaz Blue 2002 model:

Year: 2002
Model: S3-R M3
Engine: 3.2 liter supercharged inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed SMG semi-automatic
Mileage: 55,993 miles
Price: $37,950

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Dinan S3-R at Park Place Ltd.

About this Vehicle
This 2002 BMW M3 is a full Dinan S3-R E46 in Topaz Blue with over $68,000 in Dinan upgrades on top of the original $56,195 MSRP. The S3-R package adds to the famed S54 inline-6 an intercooled supercharger, high-flow throttle bodies, cold air intake and free-flow exhaust, pumping out 462hp and 328lb-ft of twist. In addition to the engine upgrades, this E46 also has a Dinan Stage 3 suspension (JRZ remote adjustable damping, lowering springs, camber plates, 27mm front anti-roll bar) and is set off by gorgeous, lightweight 19-inch forged Dinan wheels backed by a Dinan/Brembo brake kit and 3.91 differential. Other upgrades include LED tail lamps, Bluetooth and 6-disc CD changer in addition to factory Premium and Cold Weather packs, harman/kardon audio and adjustable lumbar support. Included with this M3 is a meticulously organized and categorized binder of information and records for every upgrade and service work performed, as well as a spare key, owners books, CarFax and 71-point inspection.

Options and Equipment
Exterior
BMW LED Tail Lamps
Lightweight 19-Inch Dinan Wheels
Optional Topaz Blue Metallic Finish
Power Sunroof
Yokohama Avan Tires
Interior
AM/FM radio
Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirrors
Automatic climate control
Black Nappa Leather Interior
Cruise Control
Dinan E46 Floor Mats
Dinan Pedals
harman/kardon Premium Audio
Heated Front Seats
Keyless Entry
M Sport Seats
M Sport Steering Wheel
On-Board Computer
PlainTalk Bluetooth Kit
Power Windows
Premium Package
Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Mechanical
$68K in Dinan Performance Upgrades
450+HP
Auto Head Lamp Control
BMW Battery Charger
Dinan 3.91 Limited Slip Differential
Dinan Brembo Brakes
Dinan Cold Air Intake
Dinan Free Flow Exhaust
Dinan High Flow Throttle Bodies
Dinan JRZ Supsension
Dinan Stage V Software
Dinan-Tuned Supercharged 3.2L I6 Engine
New Dinan Radiator at 49623 Miles
New Dinan Supercharger at 48864 Miles
Safety
Park Distance Control
Rain-Sensing Wipers
Traction control w/Dynamic Stability Control/M-variable differential lock

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You read that right – $68,000 in modifications on a $56,000 car. It’s hard to imagine anyone would tick all of the option boxes as that puts you into some rarified pricing, but a few brave individuals with deep pockets did. The build sheet reads like a racer’s Christmas wish list. While some cars can really look over the top, Dinan has stuck with an understated look – from the outside, it’s just about impossible to tell that this car has nearly 50% more power than a stock model. The Dinan alloys are very pretty and suit the design well, and Topaz Blue is one of the more rare colors to find on the E46 M3. The car appears to be well cared for and in fantastic shape.

Now, the price is admittedly pretty steep, but the performance level puts you into another level entirely. The big question is would you pay the best part of $40,000 for a 11 year old tuner car? The price compares similarly to B7 RS4 or late build Competition Package E46 M3s with low mileage. Is this the car to buy? I guess that depends on your goals buying a used M3. Want to slap a bunch of modifications onto an E46 M3? This is a better way to do it, because it’s got all of the right and well developed modifications. Want a more reliable mostly stock M3? Than no, this isn’t the car for you. You could easily drop $10,000 – $15,000 into a $20,000 plus M3, and not have a car that is as nice as this. But most people looking to modify the car look for lower priced examples, and most people looking to collect or drive long-term look for more stock examples. I’d be worried that the SMG wouldn’t be up to the task of dealing with the power long term. The future will tell if collectors will be pining after Dinans like they currently do for clean Alpinas and Rufs. What do you think – is the S3-R worth the purchase price?

-Carter

2008 Dinan M5 S3 628 horsepower beast

We’ve seen how the market treats previous generation factory Dinan M5s well, here is a chance for a more recent take. You’ve seen it all before, someone selling a “Dinan” BMW, when really all the car has is maybe a couple bolt on bits the owner slapped on in their driveway along with a Dinan badge. This however is what happens when the work is done by professionals paid for by someone with deep pockets.

This E60 has Dinan’s S3 stroker kit under the hood. Which takes the 5.0 liter V-10 up to 5.7 liters and 628 hp and 482 lb-ft of torque. This upgrade will set you back a cool $40,000. This particular M5 also has another $30,000 put into Dinan intake, suspension, and exhaust work. So what you have here is an owner who wanted an ultimate 4 door sedan and was comfortable dropping around $200k to get there.

The car does look good in its Indianapolis red paint scheme (and I’m not a fan of red cars), the body color matched red line wheels are a nice touch.
Built in radar detection is clearly a must. What really set this car into the drivers category is that the owner decided to go with the 6 speed manual instead of sticking with the more popular SMG transmission. True enthusiasts will really find this a plus. I can’t help, but think that with all that extra power the SMG might make life a lot easier if this was to be a daily driver as opposed to weekend escape car.

The dealership selling the car, Chicago Motor Cars has all the receipts for the work done which should help the sale. With a buy it now price of $89,800 a new owner can take home this under 20,000 mile car and basically get almost $100,000 of top notch custom parts and labor for free. The only slight draw back is unlike some other Dinan parts the S3 kit does void the factory warranty and the Dinan warranty only provides two years of coverage. Still with a well established company like Dinan and reputable installers Performing Imports out of Alpharetta, Georgia, you can be assured that the intention was for this vehicle to have a long life if maintained and not abused. Be advised though in terms of maintenance, one of the receipts shows that just a simple oil and filter change cost $239.

Partial List of costs for the upgrades:

DINAN HIGH FLOW COLD AIR INTAKE WITH MASS AIR METER FOR DINAN STAGE 3 HIGH PERFORMANCE ENGINE $2499.00
SOFTWARE UPGRADE $100.00
DINAN STRUT TOWER BRACE $2500.00
DINAN 5.7LITER V10 M STROKER MOTOR! $39995.00 + $4000 INSTALL
DINAN HIGH FLOW THROTTLE BODIES $2999.00
DINAN FREE FLOW EXHAUST SYSTEM $2599.00
DINAN STAGE 2 SUSPENSION SYSTEM $972.00
DINAN FRONT MONO BALL KIT $699.00
DINAN STAGE 2 BRAKE SYSTEM $7190.00
HEADER GASKET $149.40
LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL $2999.00 + INSTALL $3717.00
RACE PIPE $1500.00
HIGH FLOW CUSTOM PERFORMANCE HEADERS WITH CATS $3499.00 + LABOR $2397.00
STAGE 2 HIGH PERFORMANCE ENGINE SOFTWARE $1999.00
M CARBON FIBER LOOK 5 SPOKE WHEELS $2500.00
AC SCHNITZER ALUM PEDALS $800.00
PASSPORT BUILT IN RADAR SYSTEM $2600.00
LABOR FOR ALL PROFESSIONAL WORK PERFORMED $15000.00

Fantastic car.

Here is a video from the folks at Dinan showing the V-10 Stage 3 kit and what it can do:

~Evan