BMW’s Individual department really hit its stride in the F8x series cars, with a tremendous amount of custom-painted M3s and M4s streaming into our country alone. A claimed 1,193 M3 sedans were specified through BMW Individual before making their way to the US; to give some perspective, that’s only slightly less than the entire North American E28 M5 run. 96 of the F80s run through Individual were finished in today’s shade of Ferrari Red, but this one also has a special surprise inside:
While the E30 320is was the defacto M3 Sedan of the first generation, it was not until the E36 generation that fans finally received a full-fat four-door small M. The sedan was then skipped on the E46 generation (I can hear ZHP fans shouting that their car is a real M right now), returned for the E90 generation, and then became the only body style thereafter as BMW introduced the new 4-Series nomenclature. Since its launch in the US for the ’97 model year, the M3 Sedan has been a niche model within a niche lineup on performance cars; practical and good-looking in a way that the long-door coupe sometimes lacks proper proportion in. Indeed, to me the most recent three generations of M3 Sedans look better than their two-door counterpart. While I’m not sure I feel the same way about the E36 generation, it’s nonetheless great to see one surface in a nice color with lower mileage, as many were loved well and driven hard. This Estoril Blue Metallic example I’m looking at today sure looks the part; but I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan on eBay
Update: This car sold for an impressive $48,500 on May 30, 2021.
Okay, I know it hasn’t been very long since I took a look at a few M3 coupes in Phoenix Yellow Metallic:
But today I had to come back with another. Late PYM coupes are a rare thing, and this one is spec’d in a pretty interesting configuration. Unlike a majority of the PYM cars that were more or less fully loaded, this one has no sunroof, gray leather upholstery, no Park Distance Control, and manual seats. Unlike the last pair it’s a manual, and it has under 60,000 miles. You can guess what all of these factors add up to in today’s market…
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay
While it was the E30 M3 that I lusted over as a young teen, I came of driving age with the introduction of the second generation E36. I still remember the first one I sat in; a 1995 Avus Blue with gray manual Vaders. At nearly $40,000, it was about as far away from me as the moon landing, but it was my dream car. I didnâ€™t really care that the engine wasnâ€™t the special individual throttle body motor Europe got, or that the headlights werenâ€™t as nice. I cared that it was in the U.S., it was a great color, and because they were being sold that meant that I might be able to get one some day.
Fast forward to today, and if Iâ€™m completely honest Avus Blue isnâ€™t my favorite color from the early M3 lineup anymore. Given the option, Iâ€™d take either a Dakar Yellow or Daytona Violet example. All three are fairly rare to see among the first 10,000-odd 3.0 M3s brought in before the light revision to the 3.2, when the color pallet changed. And of the three, I’m pretty sure Daytona is the one I’d seek out. Today’s car reminds me why
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay
Phoenix Yellow Metallic could go down as the most polarizing color offered on an M3, ever. In fact, the only thing perhaps more hated than the color on this car (by some, it’s worth noting) is the optional SMG transmission offered at a substantial premium (a $2,400 option) on the E46 M3. Spoiler alert, trigger warning, notice of action – what have you – today’s duo of ’04 M3 Coupes are BOTH Phoenix Yellow Metallic and BOTH have SMG sequential manual gearboxes. Hey, I like a bit of controversy! And, since I own one just like it, I feel like I’m probably better equipped to weigh in than…say….all of the internet armchair warriors.
As for the percentage of U.S. Coupes ordered in PYM: 514 were bought out of 26,202, meaning your chance of running across one when new was only about 2%. Most of those were early examples as well; the color was phased out of the color pallet before the end of production, and along with a bunch of LCI changes that means you’re pretty unlikely to roll across a post-‘03.5 in PYM. So let’s take a look at this duo and see if either is a smart purchase: