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      11-20-2014, 05:25 PM   #1
meehowhow
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e36 m3 driving experience?

Hi guys,

I am looking into purchasing an e36 m3. I currently have an auto 2011 335i e90 and would like to buy a manual bmw.

How difficult is it to drive the 5-speed e36 m3? is the clutch heavy? etc. etc.

This would be my first manual car, but I am a quick learner.

Honestly any help, suggestions, or advice would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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      11-20-2014, 05:39 PM   #2
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It's an easy car to drive. Granted, I've been driving manual for nearly two decades, but I found the car easy to drive when I was looking a few years back. It also feels like a turtle compared to a 335i.
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      11-20-2014, 05:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho View Post
It's an easy car to drive. Granted, I've been driving manual for nearly two decades, but I found the car easy to drive when I was looking a few years back. It also feels like a turtle compared to a 335i.
Thank you for your response! I have an e34 535i for winter right now...I'm deff used to the turtle feel haha.
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      11-20-2014, 06:35 PM   #4
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E36 M3 is a very easy car to drive. And it's also a pleasure. Good luck!
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      11-20-2014, 08:18 PM   #5
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I've always loved the way the e36 cars drive. The M3 e36 is a really nice package. Get a 1996 or later model. The first model year ('95's) had a 3.0l six. Later models had 3.2liter engines. Also check the rear trunk floor for damage. Its very common for the rear suspension to tear/break the trunk floor on e36 and e46's. All in all the e36 is a really nice car to drive. You will enjoy it.

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      11-20-2014, 10:27 PM   #6
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I appreciate all the advice guys! Thank you
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      11-20-2014, 10:58 PM   #7
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ive had 2 E36 M3s. a 95 and a 99. I will vouch for going for a later model. the 3.2 has a little more low-end torque than the 3 liter. but the 3 liter seems a little bit more rev happy. the build quality was better but not by much on the later model.

as far as driving goes, the steering feel is very good and the gearbox is a little notchy compared to the buttery E90 manual gearbox. I think you will be disappointed in terms of power delivery and speed if you compare it to the 335i. A 335i will destroy an E36 M3. but the E36 M3 has a better feel to it, its more connected and more "pure" if you will. theyre lots of fun to drive and i wouldnt mind having another one someday. easy to work on as well.
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      11-20-2014, 11:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus037 View Post
ive had 2 E36 M3s. a 95 and a 99. I will vouch for going for a later model. the 3.2 has a little more low-end torque than the 3 liter. but the 3 liter seems a little bit more rev happy. the build quality was better but not by much on the later model.

as far as driving goes, the steering feel is very good and the gearbox is a little notchy compared to the buttery E90 manual gearbox. I think you will be disappointed in terms of power delivery and speed if you compare it to the 335i. A 335i will destroy an E36 M3. but the E36 M3 has a better feel to it, its more connected and more "pure" if you will. theyre lots of fun to drive and i wouldnt mind having another one someday. easy to work on as well.
Awesome. Yeah my 335i is automatic, that is why I want a fun bmw manual car that is not too difficult to drive. Lots of good points, thank you. Now time to find a clean one without spending 20k on it lol
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      11-20-2014, 11:47 PM   #9
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It's not difficult at all, it's not like it's mechanically actuated. But it does have good feel in that pedal.

I miss mine. Where are you going to drive it though? No offense, but the pure blandness of the roads around here would deter me from getting one to use on a regular basis. When I lived in San Diego, that car had a personality every day. Here in Chicago, not so much. You need fun roads and there are none here.
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      11-21-2014, 12:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ragingclue View Post
It's not difficult at all, it's not like it's mechanically actuated. But it does have good feel in that pedal.

I miss mine. Where are you going to drive it though? No offense, but the pure blandness of the roads around here would deter me from getting one to use on a regular basis. When I lived in San Diego, that car had a personality every day. Here in Chicago, not so much. You need fun roads and there are none here.
I live in the south suburbs so it's better than the actual city of Chicago. I'll always find a place to drive it haha. I'm sure it'll be enjoyable even driving it to my friend's house
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      11-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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Yeah I'm sorry, I should have worded that better. I just miss having great driving roads around I guess. The E36 M3 will be right at home and great to drive no matter the location. It will just feel kinda torqueless if you're used to the 335
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      11-21-2014, 12:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingclue
Yeah I'm sorry, I should have worded that better. I just miss having great driving roads around I guess. The E36 M3 will be right at home and great to drive no matter the location. It will just feel kinda torqueless if you're used to the 335
I don't know. I had my S52 M Coupe at the same time that my wife had her automatic 135i. Sure there's a little less torque under 3k but the fact that it builds rather than being as flat as the N54 just made it much more fun. Not to mention being 400 pounds lighter, having hugely better steering, a limited slip, and just being all around more fun, all of which are still true of the E36 and E46 M3's.

But living in Dallas now instead of Laguna Beach, where we had those two, the boring roads really kill things. I'm driving a Mazda 3 because I just don't really care at the moment. Something fun would be nice, but I really do miss good roads, and yes, Austin and the Hill Country are slightly better, but still not great.
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      11-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #13
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Good points.
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      11-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #14
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you can get a nice, clean one for under 10k. the only thing that commands more money is which color the car is. cosmos black and silver seem to be the most common. ive always wanted a hellrot or estoril blue M3 but those colors are hard to come by and a lot of them are beat to hell.

at this point in the game, id get the best maintained one you can find. inspect the front and rear strut towers if the car has been modded. they have the tendency to crack. the engines are solid but make sure the cooling system has been overhauled recently or else knock $500 off the asking price. its a DIY job if you can swing a wrench. make sure you inspect the door panels since the pockets separate and will rattle. its pretty obvious
when that happens. make sure everything works as well. the glovebox will probably have the infamous "gap" in it too lol.

some have talked about vanos failures but i never experienced that.
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      11-23-2014, 10:01 PM   #15
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E36 M3s are easy to drive.....nice to drive too. I would also suggest looking into E82 135s....both VERY fun cars to drive in 6 speed manual and offer big performance for not too much $
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      11-24-2014, 05:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markus037 View Post
you can get a nice, clean one for under 10k. the only thing that commands more money is which color the car is. cosmos black and silver seem to be the most common. ive always wanted a hellrot or estoril blue M3 but those colors are hard to come by and a lot of them are beat to hell.

at this point in the game, id get the best maintained one you can find. inspect the front and rear strut towers if the car has been modded. they have the tendency to crack. the engines are solid but make sure the cooling system has been overhauled recently or else knock $500 off the asking price. its a DIY job if you can swing a wrench. make sure you inspect the door panels since the pockets separate and will rattle. its pretty obvious
when that happens. make sure everything works as well. the glovebox will probably have the infamous "gap" in it too lol.

some have talked about vanos failures but i never experienced that.
A lot of very important information! Thank you!
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      11-24-2014, 09:52 PM   #17
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Really easy to drive and learn manual on (I taught my wife how to drive stick on the e36). The one thing you'll really love about that car is how capable the chassis is.
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      11-25-2014, 04:18 PM   #18
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Looking forward to purchasing one in the future then!
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      11-25-2014, 09:08 PM   #19
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My first manual car was a '99 MZ3. Different package but same drivetrain as the E36 M3. Very easy to drive as others have said. The most challenging part of the buying experience will be finding an unmolested example.
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      11-25-2014, 11:45 PM   #20
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My first manual car was a '99 MZ3. Different package but same drivetrain as the E36 M3. Very easy to drive as others have said. The most challenging part of the buying experience will be finding an unmolested example.
Exactly. Right now I just gotta focus on getting through the Chicago winter with my 1990 535i I acquired a few weeks ago...after I replace the spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor lol.
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