The E36 M3 has a curious reputation. NotÂ quiteÂ aÂ legendary track machine likeÂ itsÂ predecessor, the E30, and not quiteÂ aÂ sublimely complete driver’s carÂ like its successor, the E46,Â the E36 is the awkward middle childÂ of the M family. EvenÂ BMW themselves seemed only half-heartedly committed to the car in America, choosing to offer it here withÂ a less powerful engine than its European cousin. The resulting antipathy felt toward the car byÂ some M-purists, who regard itÂ as little more than aÂ 328i with M-badging, has kept values low on these for quite someÂ time. As a result, many of theÂ used examplesÂ you find on Craigslist have been bought cheaply and thrashed, crashed or otherwise abused.
Still, they are very good cars – torquey, well-balanced andÂ offering a dynamic drivingÂ experience. It’s always nice to come across a low mileage exampleÂ inÂ mint condition that has beenÂ kept in stock form.Â This convertible in stunning Techno Violet is such a car.