The BMW E36 M3 (1995-1998) is the second generation of the M3. It’s well balanced and great fun to drive.
The handling characteristics of the E36 M3 make it desirable for both street and track use. Specifications vary depending on the motor, and whether it was a Euro or US model. Keeping the car clean is rewarding, especially when I get comments on the engine bay. It does have a few door dings and other signs of age.
I love driving the car on twisty roads, especially with the exhaust and suspension upgrades. I even get off on details like the M color stripes on the seats and M colors in the stitching on the steering wheel. The modest 240 HP is enough to enjoy, especially with the manual 5-speed gearbox. I can do without the sunroof and the aftermarket spoiler installed by a previous owner.
Wikipedia offers detailed information on the history of the M3 here.
- Build Date: February 1997
- Color: Arctic Silver, Black Leather Interior with “Vader” front seats
- Weight: Approx, 3,220 lbs
- Engine: Inline 6-Cylinder, S52 – 240 HP
- Options: Heated Front Seats, Sunroof, Cruise Control, On-Board Computer
Here are a few photos. More and better shots are in a Flickr album.
REPAIRS/MAINTENANCE – Because I am the third owner of this car I don’t have the complete history. I bought it from a reputable BMW dealer. It only had 58,000 miles on it and they had just performed Inspection II. I had the catalytic converter replaced with a used one from a wrecked car. I’ve replaced many parts myself including the power steering hoses and fluid canister, the belts, tensioners and pulleys, the radiator and other cooling system parts.
MODIFICATIONS – There are some weaknesses that should be addressed if an E36 sees much track time. There have been reports of the oil pump gear nut backing off, which can result in a catastrophic engine failure. Another complaint is that the front sub-frame can deform a little with heavy track use and sticky track tires. My car has only seen a few track days on street tires. I’ve had the following work performed, although my plans to do more track driving have not materialized.
- Oil pump gear nut fastened down
- Turner oil pan baffle welded in
- Turner front subframe reinforcements welded in
- Stewart high performance water pump and aluminum thermostat housing
- KW Variant 2 shocks/struts
- AKG trailing arm bushings, suitable for street use
- Vorshlag camber plates
- Turner Motorsports shock mounts
- Rogue Engineering DMS Exhaust