Hi everyone! My current car's lease is up in a few months, and I'm looking to replace it with a used M.... something. I'm still on the fence between a lot of them.
I'm currently looking at either an E46, an M Coupe, or an E36... in that order. What are the major differences between them, from your experiences? Here's what I've gathered... tell me how spot on I am.
E46: I'm a little concerned about being able to truly afford one. It'd have to be a 2001 model, and I worry about expensive maintenance, and more frequent maintenance from a first year vehicle. I know about the bad engines from late 01 to early 02, so I can look out for those. I've heard there's a ton of body roll in these. I like to track my car when I get the chance, and excessive body roll would make me skittish. Nothing some good suspension mods can't fix, yes, but I hope in stock form it would be acceptable.
M Coupe: I love the styling of this thing. Having sat in a normal Z3, it was really small and cramped. How much more spacious is the M Coupe version? I've heard horrendous reports of it's handling and it's braking, but the handling has been denied by other sources.... so I can't really tell. It's hard to find one to test drive to really tell for sure. Were the Coupes built in Germany, or were they taken from the Spartanburg plant and shipped over to the M factory (is
there even an M factory?) to get beefed up?
E36: Not too keen on the styling, and the wimpy US engine difference is annoying. This is probably my last choice, if the other two don't work out. Is this really a gem of a car, and I just don't realize it? How does it handle, and perform at a track? Is it easy to recoupe the differences in power from the Euro version without resorting to FI? Can you get the badass Evo versions here in the US?
What insights can you folks offer between the three? I've been in love with German cars forever, and I think I'm really going to enjoy owning an M once I make up my mind. It's time to upgrade to a GT car that I can throw around the track with the big boys, and then cruise home in comfort.