This is one of the best cars on the planet! I used to have a supra turbo '97 but this BMW kicks its backside. With amazing handling on the track and outstanding acceleration, all in one daily driving car.
Moved to this car from a 1991 E30 M3 and very pleased with the GT car performance and agility of the 3rd generation of this vehicle. I thought the E36 was lacking in horsepower where the E46 does not. It's practically a race car in it's stock form and not much room for adding more in bolt on improvements. If you can't keep up on the maintenance on this car yourself look to spend a lot at the dealer or private shop. If you want the sexy glamor of a 911 buy one of those, if you want to carry four passengers and walk around a 911 buy this. Suggest getting a rare color other wise it just looks like another 3 series, mine is in Laguna Seca Blue and I get tons of complements on the color...
Engine, the 6-speed manual, the brakes are nice... Cinnamon leather is supple with seat heaters to take off a chill. I like pressing a button on the key and seeing all the windows drop automatically on a hot day.
Speakers squeak on high bass songs, interior trim around window was replaced cause it was falling down. Other interior items seem durable for little wear and then show scuff marks or scratches... Needs alignments often, burns through rear tires
Bought used at 35k mi, now have 48k mi. I drive my M3 daily mostly city on the weekdays and occasional highway on the weekends. Since then I've had to replace a battery, driver side mirror slightly discolored on the edge and when it's really cold the passenger side door doesn't unlock on the first try. Besides that the car has been very reliable, even after being to a couple of weekend track events. The only casualties being the tires, brakes and fuel. Great track car that you won't feel guilty driving everyday. Service is expensive, quoted $2k for Inspection II at the dealer, but did myself with $500 in parts. Inspection II is every 35k mi or so.
Steering feel is the benchmark of all sports cars. The handling is excellent and power is plentiful & smooth. At hard accel the exhaust note is just music. Good trunk space & mileage. It's a driver's car that not everyone will appreciate but for the few it's just what we're looking for.
If you don't work on cars, it'll get a little expensive for upkeep. Ride is really rough on bad roads, got adj coilovers to smooth it out on commutes, helps a lot wish I had done earlier. HK sound is just okay, seats are not good for long drives. All goes away on smooth twisty roads.
Purchased my 2002 M3 used and it has been fantastic to drive!! Came with the SMG tranny and its a blast to have in the city. Very reliable and the handling characteristics are unbelievable. The 19" wheels are a must have. Currently looking for a convertible model.
The BMW M3 is a true BMW enthusiast's must-have. I bought this car at 90k miles and have driven it 30k more without many major issues - just one dead gas pedal which cost me ($120, 5 mins to replace), four oil changes ($70 each), air filter, and a few other small repairs (window regulator $200, convertible top sensor $300). If you can even remotely work on cars, you can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the cost of ownership and heighten its reliability. I commute with this car everyday and it's fast, fun, practical, and great in stock form.
What else do you buy this car for besides its handling, performance, and prestige? It hides its weight very well. Short of the Ducati 999, it's the funnest, most exhilarating toy in the garage. Oh and I commute with it too.
Where am I going to hang my coat? And tell BMW dealerships to lower their prices - it is far less expensive than they charge you to take care of this thing.