In this new episode of The Smoking Tire, Zack drives a modified E36 BMW M3 Sedan to find out if he has buyer’s remorse from buying his own E46 M3, rather than having bought an E36. While he might not have buyer’s remorse, I’m having a bit of previous owner’s heartache. I previously had an E36 328i, which obviously wasn’t an M3, but it was also silver and a sedan and just seeing this car makes me miss my E36 so much.
Continue Reading Below
Though, this owner’s E36 BMW M3 is modified a bit. It sits on new two-stage coilovers, bigger wheels with sticky Toyo tires, sports an H&R front sway bar, a Borla exhaust, a short-throw shift kit and a new intake. So it doesn’t really make much more power, as the small gains probably just replace what power was lost over the years, but it does handle a lot better. Zack notices that it rides and handles really well. It isn’t too still, has just enough body roll to let you feel the inertia of the car, has great steering feel and is really fun to drive.
It also sounds good. That old naturally-aspirated 3.0 liter I6 engine might only make around 240 hp (post-facelift versions made 280) but it’s smooth and it sounds great. Even with the Borla exhaust, it’s pretty quiet, which is nice. It just makes a classic BMW Motorsport I6 growl but isn’t too obnoxious.
This E36 BMW M3 build is cool but, even as a staunch E36 lover, I have to admit that there should be no buyer’s remorse for taking an E46 M3 instead. Objectively, the E46 M3 is the better car in every single way. I loved my E36 3 Series and still miss it dearly but I’d take an E46 3 Series over it any day of the week and twice on race day.