VIDEO: Stock BMW E36 M3 on The Smoking Tire

BMW M3, News, Videos | November 17th, 2016 by 4
E36 BMW M3 race track 1 750x500

It’s quite hard to find completely stock, unmolested examples of the BMW E36 M3. Being that they’ve always been quite cheap (even though prices are inflating …

It’s quite hard to find completely stock, unmolested examples of the BMW E36 M3. Being that they’ve always been quite cheap (even though prices are inflating as of late), young enthusiasts and tuners alike have been able to get their hands on them and do all sorts of crazy things. I’ve seen countless LS1 V8 swaps, E36 M3s turned into drift cars and numerous other silly things. What I’ve almost never seen is a completely bone stock E36 M3. However, Matt Farah gets to drive one on this new episode of The Smoking Tire.

Not only is this example almost completely stock, it has very low miles for being a ’97 model year. Only 92,000 miles are on this car, which is incredibly low for a 19 year old car. It’s also in superb mechanical condition, with everything working as it should. The only minor issue is the radio display screen stopped working. It also looks great. The E36 M3 doesn’t get enough love for its boxy, ’90s-cool looks. I’m also a sucker for those soccer-ball M3 wheels, as I had those myself for many years.

E36 BMW M3 race track 7 750x500

One thing I can really appreciate about this E36 M3 owner is that he didn’t change the exhaust. He claims he likes intake noise more than exhaust noise and on old-school Bimmers he’s right. Instead of putting on a boomy exhaust, it’s so much better to just listen to the engine work and appreciate its pure sound. In old-school BMWs with free-breathing I6 engines, you can actually hear them breathe, listen to the intake and the sound of the engine actually working. For BMW nerds like me, this is nirvana. Farah even comments on how good it sounds, which is surprising because he’s used to the extreme noises of exotic supercars and highly tuned sports cars.

Farah is impressed with how tight the E36 M3 feels, likely attributed to the low mileage. E36 M3s tend to feel a bit floppy after a long time, as subframe bushings start to rot and wear away. This can be remedied with new bushings of course, but it’s nice to feel the original tightness of the car. He also notes how it’s fun to drive and is a bit of a momentum car, meaning it can carry good speed through corners and needs to due to its lack of power.

E36 BMW M3 race track 10 750x500

He even appreciates the engine, despite it being the neutered 240 hp US-spec version. He notes how smooth the I6 engine is and how nicely it puts power down. It is hard to beat old-school BMW I6s for silky smooth power delivery.

Overall, it seems Farah liked the stock E36 M3 which is impressive given that he sees such extreme cars all of the time. I know I can certainly appreciate the charms of a bone-stock E36 M3, so it’s nice to see that others can, too.

4 responses to “VIDEO: Stock BMW E36 M3 on The Smoking Tire”

  1. Enrique Inurrieta says:

    In Matt Farah’s video, the car may be the US 240 bhp car you describe, but the pictures of the engine compartment you have posted in the article are not. First off, the coolant recovery tank is sitting just aft of the firewall on the passenger side.That alone is a dead giveaway of a (engine code) S50B32 Euro motor with the double Vanos system.US cars only came with an exhaust cam timing Vanos,whereas the Euro car has an inlet Vanos coupled with the one for the exhaust.The inlet Vanos in the engine pictured takes up the space where the US car coolant recovery tank sits, i.e. just inboard of the windshield washer container and adjacent to the passenger side corner of the radiator.In this picture, you can clearly see the inlet Vanos occupying that (would be) space.
    I believe the engine pictured is the 3.2L EVO motor with 321 bhp (316 PS as per European standards).
    The reason the US did not get this amazing engine is cost, as the US arm of BMW convinced BMW in Germany to build a simpler engine, in order to reduce the price point of the car in the US.
    At the beginning of Matt’s video, you can clearly see the location of the coolant recovery tank at the front of the engine on the passenger side.
    BTW , thanks for posting the picture of the best 6 cyl M engine ever. ( I’m still drooling,LOL).I own 2 US E36 M3s, and I would (well,almost) give up one of my limbs for that engine.
    Enrique. Miami Beach,Florida.

    • We know, didn’t have any pics of the US-spec engine. But you’re right it’s a great one and one of my favorites :)

      • Enrique Inurrieta says:

        Great article,Nick. I’m actively searching the web in Europe to find one For off road use only,of course ! Keep up the great work. Let me know if you’re ever down this way…

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