Similar to the 1997 M3 sedan that Nate sourced a few days ago, here’s a clean, low mileage 1998 M3 sedan over at the BMW Car Club of America marketplace. It’s a rather rare shade – Dakar Yellow. Fear not, enthusiasts, this one has a proper 5 speed manual gearbox.
1998 BMW M3 sedan
The seller’s description:
heated manual seats, a few tasteful mods, all maintenance up-to-date, owned since 6/01, garage kept, superb condition, extremely clean.
Like Nate, I love these cars. Having driven a few E36 M3 coupes and sedans in my day, I can say that it is by far one of my favorites, provided the example comes with three pedals. I was never enamored with the E46 and E90 series M3s, but this kind of reflects my thoughts on most of the BMW lineup as of late. With all the electronic wizardry and added weight, these newer M models have kind of lost the plot. While they are undoubtedly excellent machines, the E36 embodies everything that was right about the old BMW. Crisp lines, legendary powerplants and God’s own handling.
The E36 M3 sedan is the first fast car I drove, and, like a first love, has stuck with me ever since. Unleashing a couple of 16-year-olds in a Dinan M3 was perhaps a foolhardy move by my best friend’s dad, but luckily we kept it in good shape other than a few check-engine lights due to impatience with the M warm-up sequence. It was a dream to drive; every pebble in the road gently communicated to the hands, every gearchange a satisfying snick, and every corner was our own railed rollercoaster. E36s in general are fine, but the 4-door M3 has always struck me as markedly sexier than any of its generational brethren. I tried to buy that Dinan a few years ago at $14k, but couldn’t make the finances work (luckily it’s being saved for my friend). These days its not difficult to find them for under $10k, and this nicely modified 1997 sedan demonstrates the accessibility of clean examples.
1997 M3 Sedan for sale on Craigslist SF
I could do without the Supersprint DTM exhaust (Dinan’s looks almost stock but sounds perfect) and I’d raise the adjustable rear suspension just a little, but this is a very clean example with some nice, simple modification choices (I don’t know of a car that looks bad with BBS CHs). 157k miles is on the higher end, but at $9k it’s still a great value, and if the engine goes bad, spend some money swapping in a Euro S52 or S54 and you’ll still have a performance bargain.
Final Note: Thank god it’s a manual. In my mind, automatic E36 M3s might as well be junked.