Models available in the USA: From model years 1995–99
Market value: With a high mileage around 3,000 euros, everyday cars up to 6,000 euros and garage cars 10,000 euros and more.
Why you should choose the BMW M3 E36
Of the BMW M3 E36, the second generation, arose due to BMW’s desire to improve the model and the M variant as a whole. For this purpose, the model was transformed into an ordinary speedster, in contrast to the blatant E30.
The BMW M3 E36 – better drives, less show
A quiet six-cylinder in-line engine with high speed replaced the four-cylinder of the E30 and the slight hum of the engine, as well as the relaxed atmosphere, matched the more inconspicuous exterior and the more comfortable interior. The brakes and suspension were compared to those of the regular 3 Series, but the E36 was a little heavier than the E30.
Which one should you choose
In 1995 the BMW M3 E36 Delivered to the USA with 240 hp and a 3.0-liter in-line engine. This was specially developed for the United States. The interesting thing here is that BMW originally did not plan to export to America, but was ultimately convinced by a petition from fans. In 1996 this engine was replaced by a 3.2 liter engine with a similar amount of horsepower and greater torque at lower revs.
The BMW range
A variety of models of the BMW M3 E36 were introduced, including a track-modified one with less weight, a convertible and a four-door sedan in 1995. The E36 also made the debut of the automatic transmission for the M3. This was a five-speed transmission from ZF. Over 36,000 units were sold in the USA.
Watch out or just buy?
With the exception of the rather rickety convertible and the disappointing models with automatic, there are no bad versions of the BMW M3 E36. The generous production resulted in many color variants and optional packages being available today. Most of the models are also in good condition. For this reason, you can go a little more demanding when buying.
What to look out for
For the BMW M3 E36 there is a wide range of spare parts available as many of them are the same as the standard 3 series. For this reason, it is also the easiest and cheapest to look after.
The problem areas are few
The first BMW M3 E36 had problems with the front strut bridge that were too weak. When buying, make sure that the reinforcements are in place. With the cooling system, you can assume that the water pump and the car radiator have to be replaced every 97,000 km, otherwise, in the best case scenario, you could end up on the roadside and in the worst case destroy your engine.
Under the hood
The cylinder head gasket of the BMW M3 E36 usually decreases between 160,000 and 240,000 km. Cars with high mileage get problems with the differential gear when driving over 160,000 km. Rust can usually appear on the fenders, the bottom of the doors, and the trunk lid.
As with the E30, with the BMW M3 E36 be careful with cars that have been tinkered with. When these models began to appear on the used car market, many enthusiasts installed turbochargers, and unfortunately not always very precisely. Because of its popularity, the consumer types range from BMW fans to housewives who simply wanted the best M3 there was on the market. For this reason, it is not uncommon that maintenance has not been carried out for a long time.
Other models from the BMW M3 caste
BMW M3 Buyer’s Guide – Which modification to choose