Produced between 1992 and 1999, the BMW E36 M3 is available as a 4-door saloon, 2-door coupé, and 2-door convertible. The E36 M3 has the honour of being the first M3 to be powered by a straight-six engine.
The 1992-1995 models were fitted with a 2990cc S50B30I6 engine, while models built between 1995 and 1999 had 3201cc S50B32 I6 engines. Models built between 1996 and 1999 were fitted with 3152cc S52B32 I6 engine, but these models are no longer available. Transmission was available as 5-speed automatic, 5-speed or 6-speed manual, or 6-speed SMG.
Production of the saloon and the convertible versions started in 1994, in conjunction with the production of the limited edition 3lt M3 GT, a racing special. In 1995, both the coupé and the saloon underwent an upgrade, and were fitted with 3.2lt engines and 6-speed gearboxes. These upgraded models could produce 239.4kW of power.
In 2012, Daniel Merkins and Ryan Smiley, drove an E36 M3 in the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally, as part of Team GotOrgans. This rally, which is a roundtrip from Seattle to the Arctic Circle and back again. This marked the first time that the M3 was driven in a taxing motorsport event. Although the choice was questioned, the M3 proved to be one of the most reliable cars to participate, not susceptible to breakdowns, and able to manipulate the snowy, icy terrain.
A number of special models were also produced, including the M# Lightweight, M3-R, the M3 Compact and the M3 Evolution Imola Individual, which is an M3 GT2. Besides being impressively fast, and sturdy, the M3 is as reliable as they come, with a chassis which, and according to Car & Driver, made it one of the best handling cars of the 90’s.
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