We’ve featured some of CarThrottle’s E36 M3 videos on here before. If you haven’t seen them, Alex from CarThrottle owns a 20 year old E36 M3 with over 120,000 miles on it. In a recent video, Alex learned that his M3 has lost about 30 hp in its 20 years. Unfortunately for us Americans, that still makes it more powerful than the version we got.
Since then, the only things done to “Collin” have been a new oil change, new rear dampers and new air filter. So it’s a very stock vehicle. Which means that it likely won’t be able to hit its original 155 mpg top speed claim, considering its horsepower deficit, right? Well, Alex decided to find out on an unrestricted section of the German Autobahn.
With an iPhone GPS speedometer app (which we don’t know how accurate it is), Alex sets off on three runs with his M3. In fifth gear, on the first run, he’s able to top out at 151 mph. That’s impressive for its age and hp loss. It’s also very close to the original top speed claim by BMW 20 years ago. This naturally gets Alex pumped to try again.
On the second run, he doesn’t even get to hit 150 mph, due to traffic. However, on the third run, Alex hits an iPhone-indicated 159 mph. That’s mega, as it’s four mph over the original claim, after 20 years and 120,000 miles. What’s also impressive is that it did three consecutive top speed runs and the aging engine help up with no issues. It also looked pretty stable at 150 mph, which is impressive for a 20 year old chassis. It must have been kept up very well over its two decades.
Now, top speed numbers from manufacturers can be a bit conservative, especially knowing BMW. But it’s still impressive that this old E36 M3, with considerably less hp than the original car had, was able to break the original claim.
Now, I’m not sure if any of you have done that sort of speed in an old car on public roads before, but if you have, you’d know it isn’t necessarily fun. Old cars have old bushings and ball joints that can make high-speed driving pretty damn scary. This E36 chassis seems to have held up very well over its years. Props to Alex and his old E36 M3 for handling this sort of speed three times in a row.