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Old Wed, Dec-30-2009, 09:15:14 AM   #25
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Good post, but I feel like it's a little bit scary. As a person fairly experienced with working on cars, I didn't look too far into the m3's maintenance needs before I bought one. I've had no problem addressing them, but if I would have seen this post I would have probably test driven another S2000 before really going with the m3. I guess what I'm trying to say is it needs more praise.

I will post, if I may, a post I found on a different forum.

Price: Cars worth buying can be had for $6000-14000. This is pretty cheap

Parts: Readily available and inexpensive. BMW has a stockpile of 50 years worth of e36 parts.

Working on it: Very easy car to work on. Every thing is laid out logically and is easily accessible. It's not a very high tech car and its engineered to be worked on with hand tools.

Reliability: It's very reliable. They can last well over 200,000 miles. What problems they do have are mostly avoidable by performing proper preventative maintenance. 99% of issues they have are easy to fix and extremely well documented. All parts that usually fail can be upgraded in one way or another. Be prepared to replace bushings and wear items more than most Japanese cars, but note that maintaining the e36's rubber parts will keep it driving like new and the difference between old and new bushings is VERY noticeable (so it's worth doing).

Economy: It gets good gas mileage for a sports car. low 20's in town and around 30mpg on the freeway.

Handling. It's well known that the e36 M3 is one of the best handling cars ever made. They can be upgraded to be complete MONSTERS, although in stock trim (with a fresh suspension) they are already extremely capable. It does not feel like a 3000lb car. They all come standard with an LSD.

Acceleration. Not the fastest car ever made but 14.0 +/- at about 100mph is not slow. The motor is torquey and smooth so the performance is easy to extract in all situations. They are geared very very well and can use 100% of the power they make, which is why it's relatively fast despite only having 240-250 crank hp.

Braking: The m3 was the fastest stopping production car ever tested when new. The brakes are excellent even by today's standards. They are track worthy with a simple pad upgrade.

Upgradability: It's expensive to get a lot of power (250whp+) out of the engines. Don't buy one for straight line performance. That being said, they take well to forced induction and can make a lot of power with a turbo. For tracked cars, stick to NA for better reliability. It's easy to shift the powerband into the upper RPM ranges and gain 30whp over stock with minimal modifications.

Usability: It's a fairly small car but you CAN fit adults in the back seat when you need to. The trunk is decently sized. 4 door models are available as well. Much more room than other cars like an s2000 or 350/70Z.

Interior: There are better interiors but the M3's is well equipped and very driver oriented. It's fairly upscale for a sports car and is definitely more upscale and comfortable than most Japanese cars like the STi or evo.

Styling: The e36 is a classic and timeless design. This is subjective but most people think they can look good.

Cliffs: Excellent overall package. Isn't the best at any one thing, but does everything well, especially for the price.

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