Why the E36 is the best M3

Why the E36 is the best M3

Every car enthusiast can appreciate the E30. It’s boxy, fast and has a sublime inline four under the bonnet. They’re sought after by every collector which explains why their price has rocketed over recent years. There’s no denying that if you owned one, you’d love it. However, if you were offered an E30 M3 to drive daily you’d be stupid to pick one. Regardless of how advanced a car is, in 10 years’ time it’ll no doubt feel massively outdated. The E36 is newer, so there’s no denying that it’ll be comfier to drive and live with, it features appealing styling with a classic 90s look and it’s still very fast.

The newer M3 could also be bought as a convertible, who wouldn’t want to feel the sun on their skin and the wind in their hair as you carve through country lanes on a sunny Sunday afternoon? The E36 had a tough act to follow with the E30, but the exhilarating handling of the E36 made it a great choice for any petrol head. It had a tendency to understeer and then snap into oversteer, but with a careful hand it was never too hard to control.

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The E30 was a happy accident; BMW’s M department didn’t really come into its own until around the time that the E36 was debuted. This meant more focus was given to making the car faster, while this did add weight, the car still handled like a dream. Opinions can differ massively depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside on. The US- spec M3 received an E36 with 80 less horsepower than its European brother.

Martin from Southern Commercial Sales said ‘Everyone has a soft spot for the E30, but when you take the rose-tinted glasses of you realise that the cars from our generation just aren’t capable of competing with their newer counterparts. It’s great to see how far cars have come in such a short space of time though!’

The introduction of VANOS in the E36 variant was a huge step forward, it works in a similar way to Honda’s VTEC, allowing the cam shaft profile to alter to allow for enhanced torque whilst reducing fuel consumption in the process.

The E30 will always be considered the most iconic M3 and that’s understandable, for its age it’s an incredibly capable car and will go down in history for that reason. However, the E36 deserves far more praise, it’s much quicker than the subdued styling lets on and it functions perfectly as a daily driver; with the added bonus of potent performance on tap!

Categories: Automotive

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