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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 10-06-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
PrecisionX
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E46 vs E36 Enthusiasm thread.

This thread has been done before in some capacity I'm sure but how about a fresh one where we compare/contrast and discuss the pros, cons and enthusiasm for the two generations from those who've driven and or owned both e36s and e46s. Maybe your favorites of each generation, obviously the Ms are included.

I own an 02 330Ci.

Some are so in love with their E36 M3s and others hate the gen. I haven't driven many E36s. We can engage in the reliability, handling, power, mod ability and overall charm and throw some thoughts around, nothing serious. I'm sure there are some that have a soft spot for their 328i or ZHP or maybe their 323 Vert... Anything goes. Post pics if you'd like. This is a light thread, not a pissing contest.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Im just surprised that some 325iS E36 are the same price or more expensive than a E46 325i. What gives?
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #4
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I have both, although i've only had my 36 for a couple of weeks and driven it a couple of miles. The 36 is a remarkably well composed car.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Love both, wish I had an E36 everytime I see one that is kept up with drive by..
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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Im just surprised that some 325iS E36 are the same price or more expensive than a E46 325i. What gives?
The E36 325 is the best model to get aside from the M3 in most people's opinion. It's OBD1 and a lot of them came with LSDs. I had (and now my brother owns it) a 325is from '92 with no VANOS and that thing was/is awesome. Has lots of go to it, feels nearly as fast as my ZHP and it's as reliable as they come. When I sold it to my brother it had 250+k miles on it and never gave me or him a single issue. I sold it to him almost 2 years ago and I owned it for a year before that.

The E36 is one of those cars that I think you need to own to understand. They just drive like nothing else imo. I've basically owned a '91 318i E30 (bought it for my ex-gf so I drove it a lot) and now I own the E46 and I honestly miss my E36's every day. They just feel like the perfect balance between sporty and daily comfort. My favorite thing about them was the amount of confidence I had in them behind the wheel, there was never a question of "is this going to push it to far?" when entering a corner or driving on a wet road, I knew exactly what the car was going to do all the time and it was just awesome to drive. I'm in the market for another one right now

I also think that the E36 is the perfect design balance between elegance and aggression. You can't look at one of the early models (like my old 325) as the pinnacle of the design. When they did the facelift and body color matched bumpers and side skirts they totally fixed the look of the car IMO. I think they're easily the best looking 3 series, it seems though that people either completely agree, or whole heartedly disagree.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:53 PM   #7
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The E36 is too square for my taste. But I can certainly respect what some people do to them.

Seems like E36 owners like to think they're more mechanically inclined than E46 owners for some reason, I remember there was an e-war at BF.c about this very subject, and e36 owners were calling us out on buying scarves that matched the color of our car. Lmao
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:02 PM   #8
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I drive A 325 auto so if I had the chance of getting an e36M manual I'd hop in and not let go unless my 325 was manual
I want a manual so bad but the family maan Fawks all the fun up because no body likes manuals
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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I've driven several E36's and though they tend to handle better and have a more connected road feel, the interior is a major turn off and the styling isn't as clean and elegant as the E46's are.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:08 PM   #10
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I've driven several E36's and though they tend to handle better and have a more connected road feel, the interior is a major turn off and the styling isn't as clean and elegant as the E46's are.
So true my good friend has an 99 m3 and we trade cars pretty often, mainly cause my car gets more girls, but the e36 handles so much better and feels right, you never have to question if the car will be able to handle this. But the e46 interior it's amazing and it's overall styling is better

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Old 10-06-2012, 03:20 PM   #11
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Having driven and spent a good amount of time with both cars, I feel as though I prefer the e36. I like the more chiseled lines and the handling is something you have to experience to understand. The car just goes where you want it to go and responds exactly how you would expect it to. It inspires confidence.

I know many people don't like the more chiseled look, and the stoic interior, but I think these are two huge selling points of the e36. The square body makes it a modern classic, and the interior is rugged, but still functional and at the same time very easy to to clean. When I sit in my friends e36 M3 sedan, everything just feels like it's at the perfect distance and I truly feel as though the car is an extension of myself.



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So true my good friend had am 99 m3 and we trade cars pretty often, mainly cause my car gets more girls, but the e36 handles so much better and feels right, you never have to question if the car will be able to handle this. But the e46 interior it's amazing and it's overall styling is better

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LOL. The e46 with an unpainted bumper and eyebrows pulls more girls
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #12
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Having driven and spent a good amount of time with both cars, I feel as though I prefer the e36. I like the more chiseled lines and the handling is something you have to experience to understand. The car just goes where you want it to go and responds exactly how you would expect it to. It inspires confidence.

I know many people don't like the more chiseled look, and the stoic interior, but I think these are two huge selling points of the e36. The square body makes it a modern classic, and the interior is rugged, but still functional and at the same time very easy to to clean. When I sit in my friends e36 M3 sedan, everything just feels like it's at the perfect distance and I truly feel as though the car is an extension of myself.





LOL. The e46 with an unpainted bumper and eyebrows pulls more girls
I just did that the other day. Before when my oe bumper was still in good condition. Before it got messed up by road hazards.

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Old 10-06-2012, 03:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by tock172 View Post
Having driven and spent a good amount of time with both cars, I feel as though I prefer the e36. I like the more chiseled lines and the handling is something you have to experience to understand. The car just goes where you want it to go and responds exactly how you would expect it to. It inspires confidence.

I know many people don't like the more chiseled look, and the stoic interior, but I think these are two huge selling points of the e36. The square body makes it a modern classic, and the interior is rugged, but still functional and at the same time very easy to to clean. When I sit in my friends e36 M3 sedan, everything just feels like it's at the perfect distance and I truly feel as though the car is an extension of myself.

LOL. The e46 with an unpainted bumper and eyebrows pulls more girls

Interesting. I will agree with you that an E36 handles great, I drive my friends 1995 m3 every once in awhile. It is pretty modified, and handles/sounds/pulls awesome. That being said, even the M3 to me looks just bleh. I have not seen an e36 in person that had made me say 'wow, that is a nice looking car'. The E30 and E46 makes me say this however.. and that is what I believe is the difference in the looks department. Interior is no contest, the E46 interior is just perfect in every way to me, while the e36 is like you said, 'rugged and stoic'.

I have an offer to buy his M3 right now for a great price (less than I could sell my 323 for), but I would honestly rather have my 323 right now, can't really explain why, just like it more.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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Interesting. I will agree with you that an E36 handles great, I drive my friends 1995 m3 every once in awhile. It is pretty modified, and handles/sounds/pulls awesome. That being said, even the M3 to me looks just bleh. I have not seen an e36 in person that had made me say 'wow, that is a nice looking car'. The E30 and E46 makes me say this however.. and that is what I believe is the difference in the looks department. Interior is no contest, the E46 interior is just perfect in every way to me, while the e36 is like you said, 'rugged and stoic'.

I have an offer to buy his M3 right now for a great price (less than I could sell my 323 for), but I would honestly rather have my 323 right now, can't really explain why, just like it more.
The rugged and stoic elements of the e36 interior are what makes it attractive to me. It is utilitarian and serves it's purpose well. The e46 interior is good, but there are simply too many things which scratch and become worn over time that really accelerate the overall aging of the vehicle.

If I were you, I'd jump on that M3 and run.

I know the trunk is open, but damn

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Old 10-06-2012, 03:49 PM   #15
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I'd let my 330 go for a nice e36 M. A big part of it is the LSD to be honest. BMW really dropped the ball by not having an LSD option for non M e46.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:12 PM   #16
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If I were you, I'd jump on that M3 and run.
Yeah, I consider it. But having 40k+ miles more than my 323 and a bit of body flaws, I just cant justify it, even with the extensive mod list.

Plus, its dark blue
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:18 PM   #17
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I had an E36 M3. When I was younger (a few years ago) I really, really missed it but with a little tweaking and a LSD the ZHP is just a better car, not to mention it's way safer.

I can see why some would desire the E36 M, especially coming from a non-sport E46, or a 323/325. A well optioned non-M E46 (with the addition of a LSD) is a better car than the E36 M3, period. I believe Mango and maybe SeanC will agree with me, they've both had E36 M3s and E46s.

My E36 was gorgeous though, and I'll never forget it!

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #18
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I had an E36 M3. When I was younger (a few years ago) I really, really missed it but with a little tweaking and a LSD the ZHP is just a better car, not to mention it's way safer.

I can see why some would desire the E36 M, especially coming from a non-sport E46, or a 323/325. A well optioned non-M E46 (with the addition of a LSD) is a better car than the E36 M3, period. I believe Mango and maybe SeanC will agree with me, they've both had E36 M3s and E46s.

My E36 was gorgeous though, and I'll never forget it!
Purely out of curiosity, what year and how many miles were on your e36 when you sold it? It looks eerily familiar.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:50 PM   #19
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I owned both. Had a 328i before. For a short while I've even had both at the same time and getting out of the 330ci and into the e36 328i was like getting out of a luxury car and into a sports car. The e36 was so raw, everything about it was firmer and crisper. I'm sure I'll say the same thing about the e46 when I eventually get an e92
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:54 PM   #20
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The e36 is the better "Ultimate Driving Machine", but the e46 is the better car overall.

IMO I can't stand how the e36 looks, it's very dated. And stotic is a nice way of euphemizing that the interior is crap
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