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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 11-30-2012, 04:06 PM   #21
adaseb
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Almost 99% of all Fanatics that buy an E36 M3 always put a supercharger on it.

They are bolt on. and bolt off.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:10 PM   #22
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personal opinion here but id rather have the E46 M3 because of the looks and power output, and ive never been a fan of the e36, id rather have an e30 than e36.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:15 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by adaseb View Post
Almost 99% of all Fanatics that buy an E36 M3 always put a supercharger on it.

They are bolt on. and bolt off.
so there is only 1% fanatic owned e36 m3s that don't have a supercharger on it gotcha
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:19 PM   #24
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Hard to believe BMW styled something as ugly as the E36.


They can be made to look good..but that requires money which is equivalent to, or more than the original price you paid.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:20 PM   #25
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I can't believe all the hate for the e36 M3 on here... Benchmarks for the US and Euro spec M3s are nearly identical. Yes, it makes a lot less power than the European model, it's also more reliable and to answer the OP, they can be boosted pretty reliably.

The E36 M3 4 door is my favorite M3 (flame suit on).

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The euro model is completely different. They also offered a 3.0 and 3.2 displacement for the s50 (euro e36)
Most Europeans have never even heard of the s52
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:29 PM   #26
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^Yes, I know that. My point is that as far as straight up performance, they're not that different.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_M3

Scroll down to E36 performance. .2 seconds extra 0-60 really isn't much for day to day use. Granted, it won't be as screamy or dreamy on the track, but it's also a lot more reliable and fuel efficient.

As for it's looks, that's completely subjective, but imo it's the over all best looking 3-series. There really aren't any "bad" angles of a good E36 imo. They're ugly most of the time you see them because they're poorly maintained. Also, keep in mind plenty of people think Phoenix Yellow is hideous too

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Old 11-30-2012, 04:29 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by PH03NIX46 View Post
Hard to believe BMW styled something as ugly as the E36.


They can be made to look good..but that requires money which is equivalent to, or more than the original price you paid.
I honestly don't mind the e36 looks wise, it's just less curvy then the e46 exterior wise. My dad had a pretty clean e36, entire reason I decided on BMW.

The e90 on the other hand is uglier then both, IMO
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:06 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by EverydayGetaway View Post
I can't believe all the hate for the e36 M3 on here... Benchmarks for the US and Euro spec M3s are nearly identical. Yes, it makes a lot less power than the European model, it's also more reliable and to answer the OP, they can be boosted pretty reliably.

The E36 M3 4 door is my favorite M3 (flame suit on).

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By benchmarks I'm assuming you mean 0-60. Only reason the 0-60s are close is because BMW geared them too tall. 1/4 mile and trap speed will show the real difference. Euro M3 (3.2L version) runs a 13.2ish 1/4 mile. US version runs low-mid 14s.

The euro M3s make 40-80 HP more... That difference is not insignificant. Slap a 3.46 on the 3.2, and it'll probably walk E46 M3s.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:45 PM   #29
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^My point is that for a DD, it won't make a huge difference. I'd sooner turbo/supercharge a US M3 before importing the Euro motor or car.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:50 PM   #30
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^My point is that for a DD, it won't make a huge difference. I'd sooner turbo/supercharge a US M3 before importing the Euro motor or car.
On paper it might not seem like a tremendous difference for DDing, but it is very noticeable in day to day driving. Just because 0-60 times are close doesn't mean 30-50, 50-80, etc... Are all close as well. The more powerful motors will just feel stronger all around.

Granted I never drove a Euro m3, but I'm assuming it'll feel pretty close to an S54 powered car given how close the power/torque figure are.

I too would supercharge an S52 before importing an S50. Not because it's a better solution, but because S50-euro parts are nearly impossible to get in this country. I would sooner do an S54 swap than either (they can be run off Euro S50 harnesses without too much extra work)
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:47 PM   #31
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OP - Drive both cars and form your own opinion; if you do your homework carefully, any conclusion you come to will likely be the right one. The main factor will be money; determine what does your budget will allow, and more importantly, will you have cash reserves on hand to maintain the car and deal with large repair bills in say like the $2,000 dollar range if you are not handy with a wrench so to speak. Think carefully about it then make your move; I'm sure it'll be the right one if you thoroughly and methodically consider all matters.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:02 AM   #32
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I like both, but if you want a reliable, fuel efficient, cheap to maintain DD that also handles well and is decently quick, the US E36 M3 is a hard car to surpass.

the S54 is objectively "better" but the S52 has it's own merits. there's no way you could claim the S54 to be as reliable, and things like waterpumps cost $400. ouch...

Last edited by hassmaschine; 12-03-2012 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:26 AM   #33
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I like both, but if you want a reliable, fuel efficient, cheap to maintain DD that also handles well and is decently quick, the US E36 M3 is a hard car to surpass.

the S54 is objectively "better" but the S52 has it's own merits. there's no way you could claim the S54 to be as reliable, and things like waterpumps cost $400. ouch...
Just replaced my water pump....from the dealer I don't think I paid more than 250. Hmm have to check again.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:29 AM   #34
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Almost 99% of all Fanatics that buy an E36 M3 always put a supercharger on it.

They are bolt on. and bolt off.
:wave: that'd be me lol

Loving the 360whp. And yeah its that easy.

Mentioned earlier stock internals on the e36 can handle good amounts of boost. 500 whp easily. Just need to lower compression a little bit and youre good to go!
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You sir, just thread jacked the sh!t out of OP.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:50 AM   #35
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Just replaced my water pump....from the dealer I don't think I paid more than 250. Hmm have to check again.
wow, really? I searched everywhere and maybe saw one for $350. if you only paid $250 you got a good deal. want to share?
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:36 AM   #36
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Background:
I current own an e46 M3 and e36 M3 track car with the 3.2 L european engine (S50B32). I previously owned a US spec e36 M3 that I used as my work car.

Completely different cars (US spec e36 M3 vs US spec e46 m3). The 46 is stiffer, more raucous, begs to be revved out, and has a far better interior. The e36 is more fun when going closer to the speed limit.

The S52 feels fast when not pushed, but when you actually try to drive fast it runs out of putt above ~60 mph. There's the effect of torque for you. The aggressive gearing makes it acceptable at low speed, but the car killed me on the highway. I like to cruise at 100+ on long trips, and in the 36 that puts you ~5000rpm... with a redline that comes on before 7. Every trip was constant engine noise.

I don't think either is particularly cheaper to run than the other, they both have their laundry list of issues you need to address. To the poster above, yes, the 46 water pump is more expensive, but you only have to do it half as often as the e36 water pump. Net wash. You can do the steward water pump on the e36, but then you're at e46 water pump pricing.

I think the euro e36 was likely the overall best M3 in it's day. The interior is still... not great (especially the vaders! Worst BMW seat ever?), but you get nearly S54 performance in a lighter package. Plus, its contemporaries were not nearly the cars the e46's contemporaries were. But to me the US spec car feels more like a 332is than an M3. Still a really fun car, just not an M car.

The US spec e36 exhaust note sound worlds better than the e46 exhaust note. Euro spec exhaust note is very similar to the e46, which makes sense given the similar engine.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:38 AM   #37
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Another person who currently owns an e36 m3 and e46 M3 said this on M3forum recently, which rings very true to me:


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Originally Posted by EricSMG View Post
Good points, although I'd argue that the in addition to being the prettiest, [the e46] is also the most hardcore M3 to date. It's the most exciting, high strung, hardest riding, loud, exotic sounding, in-your-face M3.... while at the same time looking like a high-end luxury car. The E30M is too slow, E36M is too mellow and E9XM is too refined. The 46M is just plain badass.

That's why I love/hate it so much - it doesn't make any excuses. It just flat hauls ass in a nasty sort of way but looks hella good doing it. Can't think of another car like it.
Driving the e46 is much more of a fight/event than the 36 or the 90. It's a very visceral car.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #38
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^^^ I completely agree with his assessment of the E46. My feeling exactly.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:14 AM   #39
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the water pump was just one example. main bearings, valve adjustments, VANOS, etc etc. the M52B32 (haha) isn't without it's problems, but they're generally less expensive problems.

I like both as I said, and I'd prefer the S54 anyway, even with the costs associated with it. I'm just saying, even though the S54 is better, the S52 is not without merit.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:21 AM   #40
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Quote:
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the water pump was just one example. main bearings, valve adjustments, VANOS, etc etc. the M52B32 (haha) isn't without it's problems, but they're generally less expensive problems.

I like both as I said, and I'd prefer the S54 anyway, even with the costs associated with it. I'm just saying, even though the S54 is better, the S52 is not without merit.
S52 has oil pump nut resulting in complete engine failure (my brother lost his s52 that way) and failing VANOS seals. But I really meant total cost of e46 M3 ownership vs total cost of e36 ownership rather than engines specifically.
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