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1998 BMW M3 2dr Convertible
I bought a used M3 after shopping it against the 328 and 330. All of them do 0-60 pretty quickly, but after 60 only the M3 keeps on going, going, going. This car almost never fails to put a smile on my face. It looks great, handles smartly, and accelerates quickly. Drop the top and crank the tunes, and life doesn't get much finer. The back seat makes it a fairly practical car -- it'll carry 4 adults in a pinch, or 2 adults plus a week's worth of bags. It won't carry a family of 5, tow a boat, or haul sheets of plywood home from the hardware store, but it does just about everything else.
M acceleration, M handling, M braking, heated leather seats. The hedonism of ripping along at outrageous speeds with the top down and A/C blasting on 100 degree days. Stability control is subtle, effective, and can be switched off for tail-wagging fun. Gets 25 mpg highway even with a lead foot.
6th gear for cruising, more power, slightly roomier rear seats. Got more money? The e46 M3 ('01-06) has these.
1998 BMW M3 4dr Sedan
This car is great fun to own and although we've strongly considered the purchase of a newer E46 or E90 3 Series, we couldn't do it, this car is too good. Our E36 M3 is an automatic (so wife could drive comfortably, too), would've preferred manual, but no danger of the expensive missed shift that many seem to report with the stick. Automatics seem less likely to have been flogged, as well. Our's was in excellent shape when purchased with 50K on the clock and remains so with 64K. Extreme fun in the twisties and very efficient on the freeway. If you've got one, keep it.
Handling, build quality, appearance, acceptable mileage for performance car (28-30 highway), usable real world performance (E46 M3 is too much most of the time), great seats, fabulous brakes. Very well balanced car.
Keep an eye on the cooling system, it can fail on any E36 at around 60K. Preventative maintanence should include: thermostat, thermostat housing (change to aluminum from plastic) water pump, fan clutch, radiator and hoses. Ride "very firm" on bad tarmac. Use independent service.
1998 BMW M3 2dr Coupe
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.
Make this model again so I can buy another one.
1998 BMW M3 4dr Sedan
I took delivery new USA model 11/7/97 in Europe. It took a week to get broken in and then it ran 148mph on the 'bahn with euro chip. Mine is a stick "all real BMWs.." But I spent a day on the track with an automatic and was very impressed. I have added the Dinan Exhaust and Chip so 255hp likely 150mph or maybe more? Dealers are really expensive/greedy, but basic maintainence is pretty easy, you save $100 an hour. If you need help there are lots of talented/reasonable independents who are passionate about the cars. Once I wanted a convertible, but after driving the more flexible and heavy, (fat) chassis I became truly happy with my sedan. Will keep it until it is worth 40k again.
Road and Track named the M3 the best handling car under 100k. No argument! This car is about balance, brakes, handling and power. Sure 5.8 or so to 60 is not worlds fastest, but not slow. More than enough for all but drag racing. Tight and no nonsense. Timeless styling. Classic sports sedan. Fun!
Could use 6th gear for the slab and better ecconomy. It sure has the motor to handle it. Some kind of tranny lock out on manual tranny to prevent accidently over reving, have heard some sad tales of 3rd instead of 5th. For this reason nobody drives mine. Rate it using Japaneese Horses, 325 maybe?
1998 BMW M3 2dr Convertible
I just purchased this car in Sept. of 2005 and I love it. It really does handle well (can't seem to squawk the tires no matter what I try). It's a real headturner and you get a lotta people saying "Nice Car". I get about 27 MPG on the highway (not bad). Not a cushy ride so you'll feel the bumps but plenty comfortable. Seems like the best torque is at mid-range (30-60 MPH). The brakes are impressive (you stop like 'right now'). No leakage with the ragtop at all. Harmen/Cardon sounds great. Yes, you can get groceries with it too. I even get two sets of golf clubs in the trunk. No problems as of now.
Handling, Brakes, Power and of course, the looks. I love the dash. It must be put together pretty good because it's not a cushy ride and everything seems tight and solid.
Brake Dust! Goin through a lot of rags wiping that down every other day. (They say it's normal for great brakes). More power coming off a stop. I guess I could upgrade some things to help that out though. Put some luxury in the inside door panals. Keyless entry would be nice also.