As you’d already know, if you’ve read our site before or seen Car Throttle’s YouTube channel, Alex from CT has been living with an E36 M3 lemon for about a year now. He’s documented all of the great things about it, all of the terrible things about it and how much money he’s spent keeping it running over the year. So what’s it like to live with an E36 M3 for a year? In short, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it, according Alex.
First of all, it isn’t easy to buy and live with an E36 M3. When it comes to buying one, you must first give it a proper inspection and don’t get caught up in the excitement of buying such a cool classic. Make sure you give it a thorough look, checking everything from the engine to underbody rust, or you can end up with massive headaches later down the line.
It also takes a lot of time away from you and possibly your significant other. Many weekends will be dedicated to wrenching on the E36 M3, keeping things in working and replacing what isn’t. It’s an old car and there are going to be things that stop working and will need to be replaced. So be prepared to spend money and time working on your car.
There are also some improvements that should be made and invested in. Suspension parts are almost necessary to have a great driving E36 M3. The old shocks, struts and springs are going to be worn out and a new set of coilovers can drastically improve the overall feel and handling of the car. As Alex says, it makes a 20 year old car feel like a 5 year old car. Plus, a lower ride height improves the looks and keeps it looking more modern.
It isn’t all bad though. With everything in working order, the E36 M3 is a great GT car. While people don’t typically associate the BMW M3 with being a good grand touring car, the E36 M3 was capable of quite a few long-distance road trips throughout Europe without issue and kept Alex in complete comfort.
It was also fun to drive and pretty quick, even by modern car standards. With 280 or so horsepower, which is down from its original 321 hp, the E36 M3 was capable of 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. That’s around modern day MKVII Volkswagen GTI speed, so it isn’t a slouch. Alex also managed 159 mph on the Autobahn, so it’s still got the punch to handle high speed.
Overall, owning an E36 M3 for a year was something Alex would do all over again if he could, despite the trouble it gave him. He was able to own his dream car and a car that providing great fun and a ton of adventure. He had to endure some difficulties, but it was all worth it.