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Motorsports & Track Forum
From Auto-X to Trackday to Racing and Professional Motorsports this is the place to discuss making BMWs fast

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Old 04-15-2006, 12:37 AM   #1
FlyingPen
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E36 vs E46 for Auto-x and Track Duty

I'm thinking about picking up a low end E46 323 (possibly bigger engine if I can find one cheap) or a E36 325i (is) for a second car. I'm curious what people think is a better choice for auto-x and the occaisional track day.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:52 AM   #2
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I would say switch it up and get an E36, seems like you already have an E46 M. I see much more competitive E36 drivers at autox's and track's but the E46 is not a bad choice either.
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Old 04-15-2006, 12:46 PM   #3
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the nice thing about an e36 for the track or auto-xing is since the majority of people who have bmw's and are already doing these things, you have a large knowledge pool to pull from when it comes to experience with setups and products.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Will ZCPM3
the nice thing about an e36 for the track or auto-xing is since the majority of people who have bmw's and are already doing these things, you have a large knowledge pool to pull from when it comes to experience with setups and products.
+1, more parts too. But I think in the next couple of years you'll see alot more E46's at the track/Auto-X's since they'll be more affordable.
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Old 04-16-2006, 05:42 PM   #5
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A lot of E46 M3's 01 & 02 are showing up at the track.
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Old 04-16-2006, 05:54 PM   #6
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From what I understand, some of the weak points on an E46, are even worse on an E36, not that it all can't be corrected on one car or the other. But of course you can find an E36 M3 for about the same price as an E46 323with, what 50+ HP more?! I've read that there is some frame bracing that is really recommended on E36s, as well as the whole subframe concern as well so add that to your price. Front tower braces are really a good idea, and a rear one not a bad idea either - when I heard Steve Dinan speak a few years ago, that was a topic, and he went back to E30s and said they needed both for the track (on E46s, the front is a helpful, and the rear looks nice - it should also be noted, that was 3 years ago, and there are a few people now saying E46s should have them both as well).

You've also got a ton of parts for E36s (like fenders!) that would seem a lot easier to find, and cheaper. Not to mention, a bigger knowlege base. No reason not to look for a car already set up (but have it checked out by a really good shop) and you'll save a lot of money. Go to some track days / BMW CCA DEs, and ask around to see what's out there - I wouldn't overlook a nice E30 either..

No matter what you choose, be safe, and have fun!
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:10 PM   #7
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For a track autocross car I would say E36, it will be cheaper to buy cheaper to repair and since it wont be a daily driver comfort is not a factor.

As someone else said you can probably get an E36 M for around the same price as a low mileage 323
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:02 AM   #8
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E36 M3s make great 2nd/track cars.
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