I recently purchased a 1997 BMW E36 M3 Sedan in Bright Red (Hellrot) over Black Leather and with just 56,000 original miles, it’s a keeper! Here’s why you should also consider buying an E36 M3 and how the economic climate on 20yr old German sports cars may play to your advantage.
With prices completely bottomed on the E36 M3 and just starting to rise, now is the time to get in while good cars are still available. Other vintage BMW M cars are going up in value — some with fast appreciation curves — but the E36 M3 remains relatively affordable for the timebeing. For less than half of original MSRP, you can find an extremely well-cared for, relatively low-mileage example in the body style and color of your choosing.
I chose the M3 Sedan because I prefer the body style and wanted a sedan in my collection since all of my other vehicles are 2-doors. They also built fewer sedans than coupes and convertibles (around 8,000) and were only available in MY 1997 and 1998. Further, only a few hundred sedans were built in Bright Red, making this particular car less common on the road. While it’s nowhere near as unique as my E46 M3 in Phoenix Yellow, I find the body style and color to be uniquely good-looking and worth owning long-term.
These are not overly powerful cars, but at 240hp, they remain quick and responsive. Outfitted with with a full Koni/H&R suspension, along with StopTech brakes and rotors, this M3 handles and stops as well as it accelerates. Do your due diligence and find an unmolested car with no stories. Far too many of these E36 M3s are purchased second-hand in the used-car market because of temping low prices, but are not properly cared for and when unsuspecting owners realize the maintenance costs of a German sports car, they oftentimes neglect their needs. Don’t buy a problem child!