When I came across this image from our friends at eGarage.com I stopped and thought for a long while pondering which car I would choose. Each car is a god to so many in their respective camps, individually there isn’t a single enthusiast among us that would turn away either car from our collection. As different as they are to each other, they’re equally as competent, making the decision even more difficult.
On one hand the E30 M3, arguably a motoring icon of the sports car world, has a near perfect weight distribution with a slight bias towards the front-end, leaving the rear-end to drift out perfectly with a slight lean on the throttle. The heavenly mechanical noises coming from the S14 is all the excuse a true gear head needs to pull out the stereo, something BMW has recently forgot with their introduction of the F10 M5 and now other models.
On the other hand the E36/8 Z3M Coupe is more powerful than the E30 M3, especially the S54B32 powered 2001 and later version packing 315 horsepower and with an almost identical weight distribution makes the Z3M coupe a bit more fun to drive both on the street as well as the track.
Each car also brings some intangibles to the table that you can’t quite place your finger on, something that only owners of these magnificent cars understand. Is it the 90s era DTM look of the E30’s boxed fenders that sets your heart ablaze or the Shooting Brake design of the Z3M affectionately dubbed the “Clown Shoe”? The decision to choose one over the other becomes even more difficult when driving each car.
Aside from the fact the E30 M3 has a rear seat; both cars handle almost identically. They can both step the rear out at the limit but are so manageable that there seldom comes a time when you fear for your safety or the well being of the car. It’s that neutral handling that defines a BMW. Something both of these cars exemplifies. Having spent enough time at the track and on the street in both of these cars I can honestly say that a decision based on handling is a toss up.
But alas, a decision needs to be made. Sadly I’d love to be able to have an E30 M3 residing in my garage one day but they are so rare and a clean example is becoming nearly impossible to find. It’s not to say that finding a 2001 or newer Z3M coupe will be easy, but given the fact that it’s a newer car, there are more examples still on the road to choose from.
Sound off in the comments section as to which one you’d choose.
Have a Super Bild? Send it to me at Manny@BMWBlog.com[Image courtesy of eGarage.com]