It’s quite amazing how a car made over 20 years ago can still cause such a stir in the online car communities. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s not a vintage Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but rather a car that used to cost a fraction of what the Italian purebreds asked back in the day. The BMW E36 M3 is a car that will soon raise to the status of collectable classic, if it hasn’t become that already. But what is it really like to drive it on public roads?
The guys from Roads Untraveled had the opportunity to drive one and the title of their review kind of says it all. Calling a car a ‘Gift from God’ is definitely high praise, but is it justified? Well, the E36 M3 is that sort of car that flies under the radar. Its looks don’t necessarily scream ‘look at me’ or ‘I’m eating Scions for dinner’. Instead, its classy, elegant, understated design makes it sort of a sleeper if you don’t pay attention.
Compared to the standard 3 Series it was based on, it’s the little details that set it apart, yet it all becomes obvious when you start the engine. American customers were a bit disappointed when it came to the E36 M3. That’s because there were notable differences between the engines used on the M car on the two sides of the Atlantic. The Euro-spec model we’re looking at here came with a bespoke 6-cylinder mill making 286 HP and a beautiful sound thanks to independent throttle bodies, something the US version didn’t have.
On the road, the two had different characters as well, some saying that the Euro version had better throttle response and a better overall driving feel, even if BMW claimed the two should be similar to all extents. What a lot of people are unaware of as well is that the rear axle of the E36 was shared with the iconic E30 model. Leaving all these technicalities behind though, let’s take a look at what the review has to say and some other reasons why the E36 M3 is adored to this day.