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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 04:53:12 AM   #11
I M Legend
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

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Originally Posted by MrMark View Post


Unfortunately owning both wouldn’t work for my situation. Just don’t have enough money, time or space to house them on top of other vehicles.

Then I would highly recommend getting the E46. It is a much more "modern" car. The beautiful interior, steering wheel controls and xenon lights make it a much more comfortable daily driver.
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 12:48:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

I’d buy the E46M3 or a E92 335i or 135i or an E90M3. E36M3 is great if you want what will soon be a classic car. For a driver, I’d go with something from this century.
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 10:58:23 PM   #13
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

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The E46 is a better car in every aspect, but I will second owning both if you can handle it.

The E36 will be cheaper to maintain and the US motor lasts forever. E46 has some big repairs every 60-100k miles of use (be careful getting caught in the “bulletproof” S54 nonsense). These aren’t so bad if you can DIY.
If you are willing to deal with S54 engine moments of stupid, buy E46. If you want a car that will be fun and run forever, long after the interior adhesives have disintegrated, keep your E36. If you want to hate yourself whenever you aren't driving the car, S54 swap your E36.

My solution to this problem is to sell my stock E36. I just haven't driven it in months.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 12:39:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

The times I’ve seen people getting back to E36’s when they ‘upgraded’ to an E46 or any other car. It’s funny how good the E36 still is considering it’s nearly 30 year old tech.

Also, imo, the E36 has aged considerably better than the E46.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 02:16:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

The e46 has a nicer interior, for sure, and I think overall would make for a more enjoyable daily experience. The e36 has a very nice usable power band for daily driving, while the e46 really needs to be driven aggressively to take advantage of that extra power. I love driving my e36 around town, just enough power to keep me entertained while not an excessive amount that I need to break the law to exploit.

From a financial standpoint, I don't think moving to an e46 is going to be cheaper at all. They are considerably more expensive to upkeep, not to mention have some big ticket items for "peace of mind." You know your e36, what it needs, and I imagine could put a +/- 10% figure on how much this refresh will cost. It would be much harder to nail down a good number of what an unfamiliar e46 would need.

If you have intentions of going to the track, the e36 would be much cheaper to run, while obviously being slower down the straights.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 03:32:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

I just spent 1,000 miles in a low mileage 00 323 Coupe. I also have a 128i, and had a E36 M3, and E36 330CiC.

They are all the same, they are all different. I feel the DNA in the 323Ci and the butt dyno definitely feels the family resemblance to my M Roadster and the E39 540i 6M I sold to a friend. If you are chasing the numbers at the back of Road & Track you wont be happy with the E36 or E46. If you are chasing visceral enjoyment then only you can make that decision. For me, my stock 128i with R comps turned the same/slightly better time on the track as my slightly modified M3 with R comps, and both are consistently faster than my 944S. I don't drive the 128i as hard as I drove the M3.

Given the choice of what car I would want to drive on the track all day it would be the slowest of the three. Given the choice of the car I would want on a 1,000 mile drive again it would be the 323Ci (but I will have to wrestle the keys from my daughter). For every day I would keep my 128i which has only been modded with Koni Sports and a factory sport seat (so far).

Note the facts posted - cars I own/owned that I am comparing the E36 to. Then note the results are based on my butt dyno. Unfortunately with a decision like this, that's the best you can hope for unless you are chasing 0-60 times, and skidpad numbers, which in the real world are irrelevant. Sorry if that doesn't with your thought process?
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 04:43:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

It really depends if you love your E36 or not.

In a sort of funny, comical and light-hearted way, let's use a funny metaphor to think of this situation:

If your wife needed a lot of maintenance, would you dump her and get the hotter and younger girl? Or do you take those difficulties in stride and work on them and enjoy a long and fruitful relationship?

Anyways. That's probably not helpful at all.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 05:43:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

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The e46 has a nicer interior, for sure
Matter of personal taste.

Materials maybe, although all these rubber/soft to the touch surfaces that all get sticky. Not so much.
Very bad wearing door/dash/center console trims.

Even the E36 holds up better without all the fancy stuff.

E46 you sit in, E36 you sit in.

An as-new E36 interior with full extended leather package, I prefer that over any E46 interior.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 06:04:19 PM   #19
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

You can’t sit there and pick on the E46 wearing poorly and compare that to your as-new E36 interior. The E46 holds up better all things equal.
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Old Sun, Jan-14-2018, 06:06:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

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while the e46 really needs to be driven aggressively to take advantage of that extra power.
No, it does not. It isn’t an S14. The S54 is quite fantastic everywhere.
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Discussing Need Practical Advice in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)