After about 5 years of driving a '94 325i, I scored a '99 M3, black on black and it's the best thing I've ever purchased in my life so far. I didn't think it could be this fun driving a car. Plus, it's a manual, so the fun never ends. Can't wait to mod a bit, though I don't want to over-do it. Styling is classic. Simple beauty.
Car is fast! Gets up to 110 without missing a beat, and handles like a champ. Only had it 1 week today!
Suspension concerns still common, rattles a bit but hey,E36s seem to have them. Electronics are iffy too. It rained and I thought I was going to die on I-95, despite new tires, I was still all over the place. Not good, but not bad. Exciting in a way learning to control the beast they call M3.
Owned for over 6 years and drive over 100K miles (163K total). Have only brought it in 3x for minor issues (a/c control, brake noise and steering lock failure). All other maintenance and repairs were done myself or by a friend. Have upgraded suspension components (shocks/struts, lowered springs, sway bars, bushings) resulting in a firmer but way better handling vehicle. My brother has a stock M3 sedan and they feel like very different cars now. Power is adequate. People want more, but this car was not designed for straightline speed - no BMW ever has been. Can push the car to its limits without much drama. Plan to keep several more years and surpass 200K miles. Fantastic car.
handling, braking, understated styling still looks good even though it's over 10 years old, world class engine even though it's a stroked e36 325 motor
rear subframe issues, rear shock mount failures, electronics fail too early
Bought my '99 M3 Convertible 5 years ago (w/25k mi) and still in love; went thru Camaro, Mustang, Vette, Jag then decade w/3 Porsches. Yes the German rides all demand high maint. costs but "Ultimate Driving Machine" is correct for this M3. Nothing is more agile thru turns, it's extremely fast off the line and 2-lane road passing is effortless with breathtaking torque and speed available from 55-90 in a nanosecond. The braking capability is far more pure & sure than any other car I've owned. Top up driving is as quiet as a coupe, and unlike many convertibles, top down is a total joy, not punishing. 2 adults can be comfortable in the backseat for an hour or more. Best all around!
Unmatched handling and joy of driving; faster than hell & stops on a dime; the Teutonic craftsmanship continues to hold up very well (last M3 convertible made in the Black Forest). It remains the only fun, top down luxury race car comfortable for 4 adults this side of Aston Martin. Elegant looks.
Alas, manufactured before glass in conv. windows. It will demand a $2500+ new top eventually. Would have reduced significant ($1000+) tire costs to have same size wheels front & rear for rotation. 2 sets of golf clubs & 2 med. bags is absolute trunk max but it's a sports car.
The car is excellent all around. With this bmw, you get it all - style, performance, luxury, and BMW prestige. You can drive in all types of weather, including snow with snow tires, without any problems (except that you'll find yourself wanting to garage it in the winter!). I drive my m3 hard, and it has always performed flawlessly. I am impressed with all of its performance characterics. Don't let small HP and torque number fool you - the germans really know how to put the power onto the pavement with this car. The trunk is plenty big, the back seats could be bigger. Reliability has been excellent with proper maintenance.
M "clout" - everyone will know you have an M, not just a Bimmer. All the things that come with an M styling, performance, comfort. I've added dinan stage 1 package and the performance is excellent. This is probably the best car for the money these days!!
Interior (visually) is somewhat boring and I haven't found a way to make it more appealing yet. That's it! This car rocks - I really love mine :-)
Needs rear glass window. Plastic fades quickly; my wife hates the faded plastic. Car is expensive to maintain - $1,000 for brakes; $500 for new rim; $220 for performance tires - not good in snow. Have to be very careful with tires - avoid potholes. BMW maintenance is expensive.