Agh...E36...or...? - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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#1 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 10:09 PM
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Agh...E36...or...?

Ok I am just so lost as to what car to get, and perhaps this isnt the best place to post this but it IS related so dont jump me too quick. Ok so Im looking to buy a car for oh...say $7000 max...for some odd reason I firstly thought I wanted a small toyota car, perhaps a honda, but then I realized...that I dont really like low power and fwd..so as I look into it more and more Ive narrowed it down to just a few. The main ones were lexus sc300/400, nissan 240sx, 300zx, mitsu 3000gt, and of course, the e36...and later on I came to look at the e34 540i...I dont really want more than 140-150000 miles, as I dont really like to work on cars. I have the equip too, just dont enjoy it. I decided I didnt really want to be a little stereotyped ricer boy, so of course that leads me to a somewhat classy car, no sharp angles everywhere, and glowing pedals in my car, but I want it to perform well too. Must be rwd...I dont really care as to the body style really, as long as it has decent interior room, and Id like a fair bit of aftermarket, although I seriously doubt Ill be pouring money into any cars, so I dont want to mod one car fifteen grand to get it to where a stock car would be where I started off at. I also dont really want under twelve mpg...Im not rich haha....Pretty specific criteria eh? I know...so what do you guys think out of my choices? Reliability is also important...So to the point, your opinions? and any suggestions as to things I may have overlooked? I apologize for the long post, and thanks for your help.
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-17-2006, 10:52 PM
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With all the criteria you gave i'd throw the 3000gt out right off the bat. The 240sx and 300zx are great vehicles. Look great. Can eb maintained. The s13 does have verynice interior room. To be honest its a hard decision between the 240sx, 300zx, and e36. I assume you're speaking of a coupe e36? Is it also safe to assume you weren't considering a TT 300zx? And finally since you dotn want to put a lot of wrench time into mods or money into it, the 240sx might not be very good for you. So it's a toss up between a e36 coupe and a 300zx n/a.


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#3 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 12:18 AM
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Actually I had considered the twin turbo model, due to the advanced tech, the same thing that drew me to the mitso, but Id imagine that in the mitso at least its fairly low grade stuff and Id constantly be working on it...I like the 300zxTT but its unlikely I could easily find one for that price Id imagine, and it would probably need a bit more maintenence, I dont know much about the reliability of them, but a nice light car with three hundred horses is a nice thing without a doubt. I was really going for the two forty for a while, and gone off wild in my mind about who Id put on an IAP turbo kit, making over two hundred to the wheels, put on coilovers, redo interior with racing seats, suede headliner, a million other dreamland things, but I realized that would never happen, Im not going to put that much money into the car, assuming I had the skill to even complete the installation tasks without paying double my base costs in additional labor. So I kinda came to the conclusion that Id like to find a car with a nice interior thats comfortable and luxurious but still have the nimble handling, rwd, and power, that I would try to get out of any car, but if I could get it stock, Id pay much less, and save so much hassle. Coupe, sedan, Im not really concerned with that much, I could live with either one really. My primary concern with the e36 or bmws in general for that matter is reliability. I dont know much about them but I hear all sorts of tales about bmws falling apart. What do you think of the e34 540i? I know its a good bit heavier, but it does have the 282hp engine and a more comfortable interior, but Im not sure how it would really perform against the e36 in a real situation. Being lighter and more nimble even with a smaller engine may make all the difference in the world in that situation, but I have the nagging feeling that Id be pouring in thousands to bring my 189hp engine to even close to 282hp...I notice there are a LOT more e36's around...is it a more modern version of car mechanically than the e34? Any advantages?
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#4 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 12:41 AM
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The mitso is very expensive to keep up. Parts etc are quite costly and reliability is not the best. Also most shops can not work on the 3000gt because of the complicated and unique electronic systems in the car. The E34 540 is a beast of a car. Quite fast and quite fun once you do sway bars, bushings etc, without it if you are used to quick and nimble the car will feel a bit boat like. But with a little tweaking it can be a lot of fun. The engine in the E34 is a bit weaker from a reliablity stand point than the 6cly or 4cly found in the E36/E34. The E36 can hold up very very well if it has been maintianed. These are not a honda or toyota. The mechanical parts are engineered for low tolerances, if maintiance is not done regularly to the car then it can get outside of those tolerances and cause significant damage to the longevity of the car. Whereas with Toyotas and Hondas, the tolerances are much much more forgiving, hence to the average car owner who is not that great about maintianing thier car, a Honda or Toyota will out last an E36. However with an E36 that is maintianed correctly, I'd bet it would last as long as a honda or toyota without a problem. This is why some people complain about being nickled and dimed to death with a BMW, they didn't do the research to get a good, clean well maintained car. Pre-purchase inspection by a competant honest mechanic is always a must, but does not make up for a lack of maintiance records.
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#5 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 12:56 AM
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Well right now, Im driving around other cars like an 03 awd rav4 and an 01 toyota tacoma. Id imagine either of the bimmers would be on par with the rav four...I dont have a problem with bigger vehicles, as long as its not an il 750 or something. How about auto vs manual? man is obv quicker but sometimes it can be a pain in the ass, I can drive an auto fine, but if its not that much of an advantage and I can manually shift the auto then it would be even easier just to do that.
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#6 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 09:09 AM
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Shifting an E34 or E36 manually with an auto on a daily basis is not that great of an idea. An E46 smg or something like that would be fine for that, but that's unnecessarily hard on an automatic.
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 02:23 PM
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Yeah that makes sense...so I've narrowed it down the the lexus sc300/400 and the e34, and e36...can the e36 325i compete against an e34 540i? Im kind of leaning towards the 540i as it seems it'd be easier to get to how I want it, but the e36 is a really nice car, but so are the lexus'...Opinions?
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 04:16 PM
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If you want reliability and fuel economy, the 540i is probably not the vehicle for you. The lexus will feel like a boat. The e36 would give you mroe feel and better handling. With these options id say go e36.


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#9 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 04:38 PM
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Ya guys think the bmw would handle a lot better than the lexus huh? Yeah...probably built for a bit better handling...Fuel economy isnt a 'huge' issue but I dont want too low. I like the 540 because it comes with so much power stock. My concern with the 325i, is that I think I'd probably end up putting so much money into it to get it to where the 540 would be stock, and at that point, Id be without a doubt running prem and probably close to the 540 mpg. Does the m3 have any better power than the normal 325i? Id love to have that...or an m5...probably not going to happen though .
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#10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrine40
Does the m3 have any better power than the normal 325i? Id love to have that...or an m5...probably not going to happen though .
The M3 comes stock with 240 hp. The 325 is in the 190ish area.

You also get all of the M suspension equipment with the M3, which will cause it to out-handle the 325, assuming no suspension mods on the 325.

You also usually get a nicer interior and more things as standard that would be options on the 325.

On the other hand, you probably won't get a decent M3 for $7K.



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#11 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 07:26 PM
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Haha yeah, I looked and wow, m3's or even m5's are few and far apart under ten thousand. I think I found one m5 for nine but thats it. So were down to-

Lexus SC-Does it really have poor handling compared to the bimmers? I know its reliable and has about the same power, or at least relatively, depending on the model, but hardly any aftermarket, and they seem pretty boatish, especially for a two door.

325i-Is 189hp adequate? Does tranny diff make a big diff on these cars? what about with a tranny chip? How would a six footer fit driving? 0-60 times? I think its about 8?

540i-Im sure 282hp is adequate...how about tranny diff on these cars? Im sure the interior is fairly comfortable. Could it handle akin to a 325, m3, m5, etc. with shocks, sway bars and braces? I looked at the 525 and 535 but why would I really want less hp? I dont think the 535 makes too much less though...has anyone put an e34 up against an e36 in any sort of event?
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#12 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 07:51 PM
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The e34 540i isn very reliable. Other than that the e34 has pretty decent handling for it's size and im sure you wont be disappointed at all. I'd still rate it better handlign than the Lexus SC.


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#13 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 09:43 PM
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Ugh just read about the whole nikasil issue...good reason to steer clear of the 540's, dont need that nightmare, so Ive reconsidered that to the 535i, instead of the 540. What are these cars like interior wise? Comfortable for big guys?
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#14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2006, 01:32 AM
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Ample room in the 5er up front.
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#15 (permalink) Old 09-19-2006, 01:49 AM
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535i is a great car, about equal real life gas milage as the 540 though.

I had a 533 before, currently have the 540. Suspension is vastly more complex and easier to screw up on a e34 then a e36... e36 is simple as simple gets compared to the multilink front suspension on the e34.. but if properly done up will out-do anything an e36 can throw at it..

if gas milage is a concern stay away from e34's in general.. the m30 (535) motor is not a gas mizer, nor is the m60(530/540) i avg 18mpg on my 540 in mixed driving, not super heavy on the pedal.. easily get 12-14mpg if i push her like she lovessss to be pushed.

if modding on a budget is your concern, get a 535i, it has rack and pinion steering vs recirc ball in the 530/540 and is VERY turbo-able, esp with the TCD turbo kit (like, 3500 or something, amazing kit too)

plus the m30 is one of the motors that made bmw famous for their reliability.

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