E36 M3

The basics
  • 1998 E36 M3 sedan with 5-speed manual transmission
  • VIN WBSCD9328WEE08868
  • Clean NYS title, recently passed inspection
  • 164k miles
  • Alpine white exterior
  • Dove gray interior
  • “Vader” manual sport seats
  • Recovered M-Tech II steering wheel — nice and chunky, looks and feels superb
  • Two sets of OEM wheels: staggered forged M Double-Spoke “LTWs” on Hankook Ventus V12s (255 section in the rear gives it an aggressive appearance) with plenty of tread remaining, square M Contours on brand new General winter tires
  • Corsa RSC36 exhaust. Outstanding sound, but very civil when you want it to be.
  • OEM roof rack (base bars)
  • 95% stock/unmolested. Enthusiast owned since 2007, but by responsible adult types, not kids. Maintenance records documented in an Excel file going back to that date, along with receipts. Used as an occasional family car during my 16 months and 4,000 miles of ownership. Garage-kept.
  • Cooling system done at 98k miles
  • Approximately $5,000 in parts/labor spent on beautifying, upgrading, and maintaining the car during my ownership, including recent $1,100 in maintenance
  • Engine compression just tested at 205-210 PSI all around
  • Very reliable car, has never left me stranded. Wouldn’t hesitate to drive cross-country in it today with wife and kids in tow. Perfect candidate for flying in and driving home.
  • Shifter doesn’t return to center. This is an issue I inherited from the PO, and initially I had vowed to address it immediately. In reality, though, it ended up bothering me a lot less than I thought it would, and I got used to it pretty quickly.
  • Climate control makes an intermittent buzzing noise. Based on my preliminary research, I am led to believe that this is fairly common in the E36 chassis, but haven’t had a chance to track it down.
  • PO’s DIY suede headliner is presentable, but aftermarket and not exactly done to factory fit and finish (e.g., there are staples visible in some areas).
  • Headliner was also installed in such a way that it doesn’t open when the sunroof is in tilt mode (it opens and closes no problem in standard mode).
  • Wiper fluid hose has a pinhole leak that’s currently plugged using tape.
  • Rear bumper has some touch-up paint that is noticeable from close up.


In the interest of full transparency, in December 2013 the car was involved in a minor weather-related parking accident in which the front bumper, radiator support, and associated hardware were damaged (no other body panels were affected). These were professionally replaced with new OEM parts. The repairs cost approximately $4,000 and were paid for by the insurance company.

The car looks and drives as well as it did prior to the incident.

Fresh battery with July 2013 date of manufacture:

Further reading:

Road Tests » 1997 BMW M3 Sedan

1997 BMW M3 Sedan: A sports sedan that defines the genre

BMW M3 Vs.Mercedes-Benz C36 – Road Test: Battle Of The Two Quickest Compact Four-Doors On Earth

The Best-Handling Car for More Than $30,000

Automobile Magazine: 20 Greatest Cars

The Motoring Con Brio 1998 BMW M3/4/5

3 Responses to “E36 M3”

  1. Great car, look, feel and sound for the money. I have owned several and loved every one. GLWS.

  2. Looks to be in great shape and the price seems right. Wish I could swing it right now. GLWS.

  3. It’s lovely to stumble on this post.
    I still do miss my E36. Nothing makes me recall memories like sitting in one of these. What a great machine!

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