Truly an Excellent Sports Car
This is a car I've wanted to own for years. Handling perfection with just the right amount of power and luxury. Comfortable even on long trips. Reliable when basic maintenance is taken care of. These cars are great bargains at current prices, get one before they're all gone!
Analog In A Digital Age
Cars, much like many other components of modern life, are showrooms for all the latest technology the modern consumer needs. In many ways this is great but at a certain point they lose their car-iness and become tools for abstracting the driver away from the driving itself. I would guess car manufacturers are responding to what the customers are asking for. But I fell in love with cars long ago not because their a tool or a means to an end. I like cars that are meant to be driven and that create a relationship between you and its interfaces. The E36 M3 is a performance car from an era where this relationship still mattered and this is part of why it lured me in in the first place. No WiFi, no Bluetooth, no color touch screen, no digital instrument cluster, no rear-view camera - mine doesn't even have a CD player. But BMW's iconic straight six engine mated to a five speed manual transmission is glorious to drive spiritedly and this is the reason I bought it. There isn't an abundance of assists getting in between you and the driving experience and correspondingly there are less electronic bits to go wrong. The E36 era of M3 is going on 20 years old - even for its youngest model - so a budget for maintenance is something to consider if this car is on your list of possibilities. There used to be chatter of a "$10k rule" on the enthusiast forums, meaning that regardless of whether you buy a $5k E36 M3 or a $8k E36 M3 you'll have to spend the difference between that and $10k to get it into reliable shape. Based on my experience that sounds about right. Problem areas are well documented on the enthusiast forums as are their solutions which make this platform alluring if you're interested in tackling DIY-level maintenance tasks yourself. The E36 M3 isn't for everyone but if you're after an unfiltered driving experience at a somewhat reasonable price it's a strong candidate. Going into it with proper expectations, ownership can be a gratifying experience.
The entire purchase experience was one that you would not expect at a typical car dealership. I dealt directly with the owner who was also the decision maker. What I liked especially was that the entire emphasis of the conversations that took place between the two of us were to address my questions and concerns, to better understand what I wanted rather than the glorification of the vehicle driven by the desire to sell. Also, the handling of the administrative tasks was executed smoothly and I also decided to puchase the extended warranty. I told all my buddies how happy I was with the purchase and the experience as well as the young owner who is also a car enthusiast. I hope you find this review helpful and good luck on your purchase.