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Same issues/questions arose over E30 M3 vs E36 M3 (archive)

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Posted by Rick Key on July 28, 2000 at 11:00:43:

In Reply to: How much better will the E46 M3 be than the E36? posted by Craig on July 27, 2000 at 23:08:52:

I currently have a car that I LOVE!... an E36 ///M3, (lux pkg., 5 spd. 2-door, techno-violet/mulberry). This is, unquestionably, the BEST car I have ever owned. I love the way it looks, the way it drives, the way it handles, the way it accelerates, the way it turns... and the way it turns heads. I love almost everything about this car! There are only two things I can think of that I would like to change... I wish it had a 6th gear and I wish it had a little more power.

I have the opportunity to upgrade to and E46 ///M3, but I'm not sure if I want to. I don't know if I like the "look" of the new M3 better than my current car, (i.e., I like my current wheels (///M Contours) better than the new wheels, I like the "lines" of the the E36 better, and I like the color of my car better than any of the colors I've seen for the new car).

More important than the "look" of the car is its drive-ablity. In this respect, I'm not sure I'll like the new car better either. It will certainly have more power, and the higher red-line sounds really cool, but will the new car handle better??? I'm concerned about the weight and the suspension. Will the ///M engineers be able to improve chassis dynanmics enough to overcome the additional 300 to 400 lbs of weight the new car will carry? I LOVE the way my E36 ///M3 handles now. It's nimble and lithe, like a well-trained athlete. Will the E46 handle as well, or will it feel obese? I guess nobody can answer this question until they get behind the wheel and drive it, but I would love to hear some educated guesses.

To use a football analogy, my E36 is Barry Sanders, quick and strong with some unbelievable moves, while the E46 is Terrel Davis, powerful and agile, but much more "straight ahead" than Barry Sanders. Which running back would you rather have?

'97 ///M3/2 Lux. 5 Spd.
#1 @ $tealer for E46 ///M3

If you change the E36 and E46 to E30 and E36 then these questions look very similar to the concerns people had about the new E36 model back in the early/mid 90s (except the color/wheel stuff).

Rick Key

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