The E30 M3 and E46 M3 sit at the top of the car collectors’ list, but there is one M3 that is often overlooked: E36 M3. The neglected child of the M3 family is likely of the most understated sports car BMW has ever built.

The E36 comes from a time when BMWs were known for incredibly precise and communicative steering and purity of driving. With a free revving inline-six engine, 5-Speed manual, a limited-slip diff and rear-wheel drive, the E36 M3 was the car to drive. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the E36 M3 believes the track is its home. The following photoshoot follows an E36 M3 at the Jarama Track in Spain where BMW hosted an event where the main theme was the M3 generations.


The E36 M3, from 1996-1999 has a 3.2 liter I6 engine, making 240 hp, a limited-slip differential and could hit 60 mph in 6 seconds.


Being that the E36 comes from a time with very little electronics, fixing, modifying and upgrading is very simple. All the parts are mechanical and easy to work on and replace. It’s also one of the more reliable BMWs because of this simplicity. While the E36 was never the rocket the E46 was, it’s just as fun. This is because the E36 M3 is lighter and smaller and easier to control, due to its power disadvantage. It won’t light your hair on fire with its performance but it’ll definitely put a grin on your face.


E36 M3 makes a great second car or weekend toy, especially if it’s someone’s first of that kind. It’s a great way to get into cars and BMWs specifically.