Talk to me about BMW M3s

Discussion in 'Other German' started by Texas Forever, May 11, 2004.

  1. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    Are any year or years better than others? Coupes v. convertibles? Problem areas? I'm interested in getting one for a road trip (long story) and maybe flipping it when I get home. Your thoughts?

    Dr "Have you got nuts?" Tax
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  3. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    My friend here has a red convertible, 6-speed. It's pretty fast, sounds good, and is quite comfortable. I've sat in the back, and it's not completely awful, but definitely wouldn't work for a road trip. I haven't driven it but am told it's smooth and powerful.
  4. smsmd

    smsmd Karting

    Nov 12, 2003
    San Jose, California
    Full Name:
    Steven Scates MD
    A close friend has a 2003 Dinan M3 coupe w/ SMG II transmission. I have driven the car frequently and I help him with detailing, etc.

    He has about 8K on the car so far. Has had no repairs at all, just routine maintenance.

    There are several threads on the SMG, but in some ways I prefer it to the F1 in my 360. I like being able to change the shift maps. On the other hand, the paddles are small and on the wheel, so I you move your hands you can lose them and need to use the console shifter.

    The dealer and other M3 owners tell me they have had electrical gremlins, esp with the window motors, but so far no issue with this car.

    The Dinan upgrades to the engine are also quite noticeable, esp with the lower gear ratios. He is still waiting for the suspension upgrades to be done-they are putting on an adjustable suspension, I think.

  5. NoTorq

    NoTorq Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
    My wife's father has a 2002 6 speed with Dinan exhaust and chip. Fun car but he's on his second engine at 12k miles. :rolleyes:
  6. smsmd

    smsmd Karting

    Nov 12, 2003
    San Jose, California
    Full Name:
    Steven Scates MD
    I checked with my friend. He received a notice about some M3s with engine failure. He has had no issue, but he says his warranty was changed somewhat as a result.

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  8. whart

    whart F1 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2001
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    Love mine, 2004 Imola Red convertible with SMG. I also like the software on the paddles better than the one i had in a 355. The car is a superb production car for what it is: a fairly small, nice looking, well built and appointed sports coupe/convertible with great fit and finish and more than adequate performance for street driving. It is also sufficiency comfortable for distance driving. I would suspect used M3's have been thrashed, particularly since the car is more of a daily/younger driver car than a ferrari. Also, i don't know how BMW's really hold up in the long run, but i've never kept one long enough to find out. (Don't buy it if your expectation is a high performanc sports car or luxury car. It is neither. But, for what it is, i can't think of another car i would rather be driving).
  9. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    What about the earlier cars? Say a 1995 through a 1999?
  10. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Early M3's....2001's and some of the 02's....had catastrophic engine failures. Lot's of complete engines were replaced and others had the factory warranties extended accordingly. No big deal....just make sure you get the dealer to research the car for you. It happened to 3 of the 6 used M3 cabriolets we sold last year as an example of how predominant it was.

    I liked the SMG gearbox in the two examples I drove with it....particularily the action of the console shifter.....I can't get into the paddle thingy at all.....
  11. tfazio

    tfazio Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 20, 2004

    Hear is an older article from Autoweek that you should read:

    I also believe BMW has extended the warranty on all M3 Engines built for model year 2001 & 2002 since the article was written but I am not completely sure if that would apply if you bought a used M3 from an individual. If I were you if you I would try to find a 2003 M3. Also most SMG equipped M3 owners seem to love that transmission from what I have read and heard. Let us know what you decide to do.
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  13. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
    Full Name:
    James Dunne
    The 96-97-98 M3's were just about bulletproof. You could thrash them around pretty hard and they still came back rightside up. Mods were easily done, exhausts, chips, etc. Right now you should be able to pick one up at a real decent price. Edmunds is showing a clean 1997 coupe with about 40k miles in clean condition going for between $18K-$20k. You could also get a sedan with the luxury package in 1997 if you need the additional rear legroom.

    I believe one of these years could be a good find if you check the car out real well before diving in. But, I know you would do that anyway. Good luck in your search. I have had several M3 models. Most fun was the 1986 with the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder. Finicky and bouncy but a real blast to keep on the powerband.
  14. pdiack

    pdiack Karting

    Nov 19, 2003
    I've got a '02 convertible and love it. In retrospect, I would have opted for the 18" whelels (vs the 19's I have) and would have taken SMG - haven't heard a negative word about it. Regarding the E36 (<99) vs E46 - you are getting a sportier, less refined car with the E36, IMO. For flipping purposes, seems you'd have better opportunities with the E36.
  15. Forza1

    Forza1 Formula Junior

    Mar 20, 2004
    Let's see, the '95's have a 3.0l, and the '96-99's have a larger displacement engine and a bit more power. Frankly, the '96-99's are absolute dogs as far as power, but they handle incredibly. For those years, they offer a 4-door and a 2- door version, both weighing exactly the same, and having the same weight distribution, so there is really no downfall of either from a performance standpoint. Personally, I would get an '02+ M3. They are an entirely different car from all aspects compared to the older ones. They also offer the famed SMG transmission in '02+ as opposed to the 6spd's. The choice is yours though. Figure 200hp at the wheels(*yawn*) in the '96-99's, and ~300rwhp with the newer ones(not close to fast, but not slow).


  16. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The problems were limited to Oct 2001 for a few months. I bought one of the first off the line. A July 2001 convertible. Yes - I paid over sticker. :( I have had it since new and have now put on 34,000 miles. It has been almost flawless. The ONLY problem I had was an ignition coil that went bad about 2 months ago. It is a fantastic daily driver. I have had an SL500 and two older P 911's as dailies - and this car is more fun and much better IMHO.
  17. rodsky

    rodsky Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2003
    Los Angeles
    May I ask why - 19's vs. 18's. I have 18's - I dont think the 19's were an option when I got mine.
  18. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 5, 2001
    Panther City, Texas
    Full Name:
    Best person to contact is the Maranelloman, Dave has a 1997 M3 & tracks it often.
  19. judge4re

    judge4re F1 World Champ

    Apr 26, 2003
    Never home
    Full Name:
    Dr. Dumb Ass
    I had a '97. It was in the shop so much, it made the then unsorted 365 look reliable. If it is for the road trip I'm thinking of, forget it...
  20. KMS

    KMS Formula Junior

    Dec 22, 2003

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