Hearing modern turbocharged engines for so long, sometimes we can forget just how good old-school, naturally aspirated BMW inline-sixes sound. Even with the best aftermarket exhaust systems, modern turbo’d engines don’t sound as good as the E36 M3 in this new video from Misha Charoudin.
The Euro-spec E36 M3 uses BMW’s S50 engine, which in later model, post-facelift M3s was a 3.2 liter inline-six with around 320 horsepower. However, this one is modified, with an E46 M3 CSL carbon fiber air box and upgrated Schrick cams, so it makes around 360 horsepower. It might not be the most powerful E36 M3 build we’ve seen, nor is it the most radical looking. However, its combination of an impressive power-to-weight ratio, a stripped out interior with racing bucket seats, and that killer induction/exhaust noise is just delicious.
Charoudin gets to drive the slightly tuned E36 M3 and comes away surprisingly impressed. The E36 M3 isn’t always known as being an overly special feeling car. It’s decently quick and it handles well enough but, from the factory, it’s sort of just OK. However, this modified one, that’s on coilovers and features a big brake kit, seems to be significantly better. Charoudin himself claimed it to be… let’s say it rhymes with “clucking good.”
The best part about it, though, is its noise. The free-breathing BMW inline-six sounds good from the factory. However, give it a carbon air box and the induction noise becomes next level. There’s so much more soul and character in its noise than in something like a modern BMW M4. And I don’t blame the M4 too much, as turbocharges inevitably sap some of the joy from an exhaust system. But not this one. The intake/induction noise is incredible stuff, the sort of noise that makes your hair stand on end.
It also just looks like great fun to drive. Despite only having 360 horsepower, its light wight and compact size mean that it’s still seriously fast. And because it’s so small, and its steering is so precise, it flies through corners with incredible precision. With Charoudin at the helm, that humble E36 M3 looked immensely capable.
After the drive, Charoudin offers some advice on how to perfect the old M3 but the changes required for that are minimal. A tweak or two here and there and that E36 M3 will be spot on. Aside from those things, it’s just really flipping good.