Bought it new and haven't regretted one day of ownership. Tracked it a Buttonwillow in California and that was what made me a believer. Before that I thought I just had a nice coupe. It has unbelievable handling.
As the driving instructor said, don't change anything on the car. What needs to be modified is the driver. Been very dependable overall, but there have been many owner fixable repairs, if you are handy. Door panels will need to be regaled if left in hot climate, cooling system is actually not bad IF you change the cooling fluid every three years. Warning! If you put Bilstein shocks on, yur spouse may think the ride is too harsh.
Have no plans to sell.
This car is simply amazing. I have driven it for ten years and loved every day of it. I am still excited every time I get in the car to drive. Although not a "beast" as far as power is concerned, the '98 M3 can out-handle just about any other car on the road. The ride is adequately comfortable, yet the suspension gives every turn a sporty feel. For the most part, this car has been trouble-free (albeit only 55kish miles; water pump, clutch replacement). Some minor complaints: wish there was a 6th gear, fog lights seem to crack easily, poor air conditioning.
Dakar yellow color - absolutely stunning. Performance. Traction control system makes the rear wheel drive very manageable in snowy weather, especially with all-weather tires. Traction control can also be turned off for sweet burnouts and donuts :) (and hence, my clutch replacement).
Besides the minor complaints listed above, I think BMW pretty much perfected the E36 M3.
I bought the car from a dealer on a lease return 5 years ago. It had 23,000 on it so I had the car three years before I even needed to pay for an oil change. No problems other than a sticky door lock. It is now an 8 year old car and people still say "great car" when I stop for gas or the store. The styling is so good and the look is so ageless, even my friends ask me if I bought a new car every once in a while. 31 MPG regularly on freeway. So much fun to drive I have never been tempted to "upgrade" since I can't imagine liking it more. Once had a cop tell me to take it esy since the car looked like it was going 100 in the parking lot!
The way it cruises on the freeway and accelerates when you need to.
Car is awesome to drive, Dinan stage 4 pushes natural aspiration to the edge. Handling is perfect, onboard computer keeps current diagnostics, power band is perfect, can keep up with if not surpass e46 M3s in power (with upgrades to intake, exhaust, CPU...) and surpasses easily in handling. Steady drive all the way to 135 mph (never tested at higher speeds) and always fun to drive.
No major mechanical problems at all.
The handling in this car is unsurpassed
and inspires driving confidence.
Despite entering curves at very high
speeds I have never felt the car
couldn't handle it. The only minor
criticisms I have is the rather bland
interior and the ridiculous cup
Handling, Handling, Handling. This car
will go exactly where you point it and
provide plenty of feedback. You feel
connected to the road. Acceleration is
fantastic, especially when you get into
the 2-3K rpm range. Pulls all the way
to redline. Great brakes stop the car
on a dime.
Improved interior layout. Not enough
storage. Cup holders don't hold much of
anything and are placed right where you
will knock your drink over when you're
shifting. Trunk storage is limited, but
you're not buying a car like this to