For some time, there was a giant gulf between European-spec cars and US-specification cars. Granted, part of that divide still exists today if the large assortment of cars that do not make it to these shores, but at least enthusiasts can rejoice that at last – for the most part – performance versions that are available in Germany are very close to the same that we receive here. One of the last notable cars to exhibit the large divide was the E36 M3; while Europeans enjoyed over 280 horsepower from the individual throttle body S50B30 in 1992, the later-released US-specific M3 carried an entirely different motor with some 40 horsepower less. Though the S50B30US is certainly a great motor by itself, the knowledge that the “better” version existed across the pond somehow took a bit of legitimacy away from it. Also differentiating the European versions were better floating rotor brakes, better glass headlights, better lower and stiffer suspension, and some neat interior options. Later Euro E36s got even more power and the optional SMG 1 transmission or a 6-speed manual – none of which came here.
But if you fall into “the US version of the E36 M3 is garbage” camp, you don’t have to scream at the internet for “forum cred” anymore as early versions of the Euro cars are now fully legal for import – though, that does not mean they are inexpensive. Today’s example goes to 11 with its Dakar Yellow paintwork, forged Style 24 wheels, Amaretta M cloth upholstery, manual Vader seats, and “slicktop” roof – enough to make most E36 fanatics weak in the knees: