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M-Series (M1, M3, M5, M6) General M-Series Discussion - If it does not fit into a more specific M Category above, please place it in here. In addition, previously archived M-Series discussion is located in this section.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 04:11 PM
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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.
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#2 (permalink) Old 03-31-2004, 09:53 PM
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I don't think you could go wrong with any of the M class cars. If you like to track your car you can bring the supension up to your requirements without alot of work. You can actually do a little more as far as mods with the earlier models. Good luck. The hunt is part of the fun.

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#3 (permalink) Old 04-01-2004, 12:26 AM
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You, are one of the minute people in this world who will ever say that they don't really like the e36 M look. lol


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#4 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 01:22 AM
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2001 E46 M3s have extended warrantee coverage up to 100k or 6 years from activation date (at least that's what I've heard). Also I'm told that oil starvation issues have been fixed (via recall?). However I did hear that the upkeep on these cars are not cheap. Tires go pretty quickly on these, especially with 19" rims.

M-coupe, I don't believe there's any interior dimensional changes then those that are none M versions. I've heard nothing great things about this car, especially the handling but I've never driven one so I can't really comment.

E36 M3 are the ultimate sleeper cars. If you decide to go with these perhaps a '97 or newer. These cars have more hp then the previous versions.

Since you like to track your cars, perhaps a E36 car won't be such a bad idea. These cars are lighter then the E46 and there's more aftermarket support (probably because its been out longer the the E46). Aftermarket tuners/manufacturers tend to introduce their products as the factory warrantee expires so you should start seeing these products soon. Like others have said, there no such thing as a bad M. Enjoy your search.... I know I am.


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#5 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 11:34 AM
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What you mean by ultimate sleeper car? If you go for the euro m3 as of july 1995 there's 321 HP aboard the car. Comparing it with an e46 it's not a big gap! The e36 is, by the way, almost so fast as the e46, only 0.3 sec 'slower'.

A next point is the money you should saved. You easily can import a euro M3, and even be cheaper. I should consider this possibility

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#6 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 12:29 PM
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yea euro versions. but if u go american e36, go with a 95 if you want to track it. They have OBDI systems which more easily accept engine modifications.


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#7 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 01:16 PM
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Wait a second.... you can import European versions?! I'm like, from Europe, so I have tons of family who can help out with that. It would still be street legal? I could register it at the DMV without problems?

If so.... damn, I might do that.
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 07:08 PM
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I would get a M Coupe! I should of got one instead of my roadster but I wanted a convertible. The chasis is very stiff. Stiffer than any the E46 M3 and E39 M5. The handling is just superb. Especially if you get a 01-02. That thing will just scream.
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#9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 11:41 PM
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That's exactly what I mean by a sleeper car! As in a car that most folks won't know its really that quick. Sort like the M5.... unless you know what to look for (ie. mirrors, wheels, and quad pipes) you can't really tell the difference between a "regular" E39.

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#10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2004, 01:57 AM
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Regular E39's have a way different appearance to me...my 528i looks nothing like an M5, can't mix that up. There is a fake m5 by where I live, the guy put on quad exhaust, body kit, brake and tail lights, and he even put on the shift knob. The only thing that isn't M5 are the side panels, there is no M5 logo there... He said its a 540i.

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