Of all generations of BMW M3, it’s usually the E36-generation that’s considered to be the worst. It had the tall task of following the legendary and original E30 M3 but it also, unfortunately, became the predecessor of the E46 M3, which is often considered to be the best generation of M3. However, despite its relative lack of love, the E36 M3 is shooting up in value and becoming more popular. But does it actually deserve that newfound popularity?
In this new video from Doug DeMuro, we get to see the E36 BMW M3 up close, to see why it might be making a bit of a comeback.
When the E36 M3 first debuted it was vastly different than the car that preceded it, the original E30 M3. The E30 M3 was a homologated race car for the road; stripped out, lightweight, and high-strung. However, the E36 M3 was considerably heavier, much more powerful, more comfortable, safer, and far more high-tech. Some enthusiasts saw that as a good thing, as it made the E36 M3 more livable on a daily basis, and some saw it as a dilution of the M3 name. Obviously, in the years since, the M3 has followed the E36’s direction far more than the E30’s, so it’s clear which line of thinking won out.
The specific car in this video is actually a Euro model being sold in America, which means it gets the more powerful engine. All Euro M3s were more powerful than North American models, though later post-facelift Euro models had a bigger power advantage than pre-facelift models. Earlier Euro M3s had a 3.0-liter inline-six, making around 285 horsepower, while the North American car made 240 horsepower. Later Euro M3s received larger engines, up to 3.2-liters, with 320 horsepower. The car in this video is a 3.2-liter Euro M3.
Few BMW enthusiasts love the E36 M3 but it is gaining more and more of a following as it becomes one of the last affordable M3s for most enthusiasts. E30 and E46 M3 prices are getting out of hand, which is causing many enthusiasts to check out the E36, who then realize its charms. This video shows off a lot of what makes the E36 special.