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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for a fun car. Occasionally M3's are popping up in the area in price range.. but I'm not convinced. I'm in a 3800 lbs 2dr tank of a SUV presently.. 180 hp, 220ish torque. Anything is going to be an improvement as a second vechile. It'll spend most of its time on the road, but it'd be nice to be able to go to the track once in a blue moon with it.

So far I'm looking at several possiblities:

corvette (94 ish)
camaro (98 or newer.. z28)
Kinda sorta still considering a 3000GT..
M3 is starting to sneak into the list..

last resort is to just get a 540..

Anyway. here are my thoughts so far. Corvette will be most expensive and pretty far up on the mileage. Chevy parts, so it won't be expensive to keep.. but the interior sucks and god save me if I have to paint it. Insurance could be lethal.

Camaro... expensive, but only the LS1 body style isn't repulsive to me. Butt still looks pretty tired on it to me..


Both sport large HP and torque numbers.. that are easy to make bigger. Could be a real kick in the pants..

3000GT is heavier than I'd prefer.. but something about TT has its appeal. Questionable transfer cases with little aftermarket puts it at the back of the pack for me.

M3.. I can't find any numbers for the 97-98 years. 20k is a hard limit on price... So, someone talk to me. Educate me.

Whats the stock HP? Torque? Curb weight? How well do they handle? Big enough inside to fit a 6'2 guy with a linebacker body build? Whats the engine and transmission lifespan? Any mods that yeild decent results?

Or, you could just point me to a faq that I've missed..
 

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3.2L 240 hp I6
236 ft-lbs
3175 lbs
might need to look at 97-98 for under20k...i'm sure the handaling is next to god-like
 

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ummm, i dont really think there much of a choice here...M3 without a fuckin doubt B) although I hope you can try and get the E46
 

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Well.. it'd solve my desire for a bmw, plus the sports car. Its different enough in body apperance I wouldn't be kicking myself and uncommon enough for the cops to be able to tell it from most other bmw's.

Hrms.. if its really just under 3200 lbs.. 1/13 hp per lbs..
camaro would float in around 1/10 hp per lb..
corvette should be.. probably around 1/10 as well.


I'm confident its handling will stay with the best of them.. but my gutt is telling me 240 horses is a bit low. Can anything be done, besides trying to find a newer M3 with the stronger engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Combination of both really...

Easiest way to put it I suppose is I don't want a 350z to be able to cut me off on the interstate.

Is the 3.2L pretty much maxed out, or can it be improved on ?


Ok, ok. Real problem is... a friend has a mid 80's 7-series...... with the v-12. I know he's got a half ton of weight over the M3.. but its gotta be a torque monster. If I can't keep up with him across the power band, its going to be mud in my face.
 

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I've never raced a 740...but i think you could AT LEAST keep up...unless you're loaded up and he's not...but i doubt that somehow.

translation : M3 pwns..no fat bitches.

:driving
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hrms... What are the vital stats on the E46?
333hp on a 3400 lbs chasis? '99 models on up? Sounds just about perfect.. price being the only hold up.

Guess I need to call the insurance company and see how much each would rape me for.
 

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Originally posted by primarycolorman@Feb 7 2004, 12:55 AM
Combination of both really...

Easiest way to put it I suppose is I don't want a 350z to be able to cut me off on the interstate.

Is the 3.2L pretty much maxed out, or can it be improved on ?


Ok, ok. Real problem is... a friend has a mid 80's 7-series...... with the v-12. I know he's got a half ton of weight over the M3.. but its gotta be a torque monster. If I can't keep up with him across the power band, its going to be mud in my face.
there's no way a e32 7series could keep up with a e36 M3. the 240hp M3 engine is very strong and very efficient at putting power to the wheels, so it wouldnt be right to call the M3 a slower car just because its hp numbers are lower than others. also no matter what car you have, a 350z or even a kia can still cut you off on the freeway and theres nothing you can do about it :p deffinately test drive an M3 before you make your final decision.
 

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Originally posted by primarycolorman@Feb 6 2004, 11:32 PM

I'm confident its handling will stay with the best of them.. but my gutt is telling me 240 horses is a bit low. Can anything be done, besides trying to find a newer M3 with the stronger engine?
You would think so but really its enough power, it certainly drives like more than 240HP. I am almost a little embarresed when people ask how much HP my car has, but then I take them on a ride and they fell it.

Seriously, my car is faster or as fast as many other cars with more HP.

I've taken

90 300ZX TT - 300HP
03 350Z - 280HP
Mustang GT's, Lexus GS430, 540i, and many more.

Trust me, in this car 240 is enough, but you can always add more if you like.

And yes, handling is GOD-LIKE!!!
 

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540 would be a great combination of luxury and performance with a respectable price. You could always put a supercharger on the 540 and gain a little more HP.
But if you're looking for more HP and performance per dollar then it's hard to look passed one of your other considerations, an LS1 Z28
You could find a 98 Z for around 16K, throw 10k into it and have 500+ hp and handling beyond your wildest dreams. But, you won't have the accomodations and luxuries of a BMW 540.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
EXtech, you do feel my pain :D

An older 540 is going to put me into the naskil engines.. and to be honest, I question putting a SC on a 150k+ motor.. just seems too likely for a seal to blow.

Idea on the Ls1 would be to... ditch the original seats.. get some custom leatherwork done on the interior.. exhaust/intake/headers should get me get me into the 400 hp range. Sway bars, new shocks and maybe springs.. and i'd have a pretty good car. But the body styling is still going to suck.. and large parts of the interior will still scream cheap chevy. (I don't know why.. but the chevy a/c controls.. look just hideious to me)

The corvette already has the handling.. but its a pain to find one in decent shape, and under 120k.

In either event, the T56 trannie is only good for ~380 ft/lbs and the clutch will have to be upgraded before too long.

Which brings me to the M3. better interior, lighter chasis, solid handling, better price / mileage point than the corvettes..
 

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teh e36 M3 is very modifiable. It has a great potential and still awesome starting power

keep ur eye on ebay..find one locally adn go test drive it.. bid and win..enjoy the car....good luck on getting the m3, or never come back here again :wink
 

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The E36 M3 is an absolute joy to drive and as most would tell you, BMW's published HP Numbers are always low. Most of the dynos I have seen on bone-stock E36 M3s have been more in the neighborhood of 250+. There is just something about the way BMW puts the power to the ground. It is extremely efficient and surpassing of what the published numbers state. It is a world-class car that does, and will always garner the respect of true enthusiasts. It was also dubbed the best handling car (AT ANY PRICE POINT) in America, in '97 by Road & Track, I believe - that's one hell of a statement. They were able to feel two stacked quarters through the steering. It is fast ... very fast, and will put a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel.

Honestly - even if you are talking straight-line speed, you will be hard-pressed to find many cars that will run with it. But the E36 M3 really shines in the twisties. That is when you will put the hurt to all but a select few cars on the road. It is a marvelous machine and I would put it before any of the other choices on your list without hesitation.

Edit: Do try and test drive an unmolested specimen. The difference between a previously abused M3 and a tight, well-maintained car is night-and-day.
 
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