Information, Parts, & Accessories for your BMW M3 at M3Addict.com
M3 Generation:
  > e92 BMW M3
  > e46 BMW M3
  > e36 BMW M3
  > e30 BMW M3


BMW News:
  > Motorsport News
e36 BMW M3 (Model Years 1993 - 1999)

Titanium Silver BMW
Titanium Silver BMW
4 Door M3
4 Door M3
Silver BMW M3
Silver BMW M3
e36 BMW M3
e36 BMW M3
Stock M3 Wheels
Stock M3 Wheels
M3 - Rear View
M3 - Rear View
BMW Roundel
BMW Roundel
BMW M3 Badge
BMW M3 Badge
M3 Speedometer
M3 Speedometer
e36 BMW Interior
e36 BMW Interior
M3 Disk Brakes
M3 Disk Brakes
s50 Engine
s50 Engine
History of the e36 BMW M3:

The first E36 M3 to be imported to the United States was the 1995 model, which received a 3.0 L engine with 240 hp (176 kW) and 305 Nm (225 ftlbf) (S50B30US) and a different suspension. An M3 that was sold in the United States in 1995 was one of 2953 '94 models shipped from Europe. This coupe has a 3.0L 24-valve DOHC straight six-cylinder engine. This engine produces 240 bhp (180 kW) at 6000 rpm and 225lbs-foot of torque at 4250. BMW also produced somewhere between 200 and 320 M3 Lightweights also known as the M3 Momentum(only 215 made it to the US).These were reduced weight versions of the model intended to be used on the street or on the track. It was about 100 to 200 pounds lighter than a stock M3 with many of the car's features removed, such as sound deadening, radio, air conditioning, leather seats, and the sunroof. Other extras that came with the LTW version included an extendable front splitter, strut tower brace, x-brace, aluminum Doors and hood. It could also be fitted with a dual pickup oil pan however, BMW AG stipulated that fitting the dual pickup GT oil pan to the car would void the warranty.

The 1996-1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, with 240 hp (176 kW) and 320 Nm (236 ftlbf) which is the same S52B32US engine used in the early M Roadster and M Coupe. The 1996+ model is known for being more difficult to tune for performance, due to slightly smaller intake manifold runners and more complicated electronics (OBDII). It was also available as a sedan starting in model year 1997, and as convertible in 1998. Production of the sedan was halted in 1998, while the other models continued until 1999. The E36 M3 was also available as a saloon in the UK for a limited period during 1995-6, during which around 400 rhd models were sold in the UK. This variation had slightly softer suspension but could be purchased with the firmer coupe set-up if the customer wished. Performance figures did not change with the standard 286bhp ( more than the US model by some margin ) The 3.2 Evo, with 321 bhp (239 kW), reliability is widely believed to became more of an issue, as this model came with the expensive and at times problematic, double VANOS variable valve timing in the cylinder head, which controlled the valve timing on the inlet and exhaust side by electronic solenoids, these tend to rattle in their housings at low engine speeds when not under load and caused some owners to return their cars to the dealers for replacement. A few cars have been known to have the VANOS unit seize but the only effect is that the performance will suffer. The M3 EVO seems forever to be stuck with the stigma of un-reliability by over exaggeration of VANOS problems from some quarters, when in truth the simplicity of the VANOS and related components have no more problems than any other engine components. The general consensus is that the 3.0l model is a better second hand buy, with virtually no power loss in the real world but better reliability.

Special Models

There were five special-edition models of the E36 M3 produced: the M3 Euro-Spec (Canadian Edition), M3 CSL (M3 LTW), M3 GT, M3 GT-R, and the M3-R. There was also an M3 Anniversary Edition only produced in 1999 for Australia. This was the final year of production for the mighty E36, with only 50 coupes and 70 convertibles being made. Furthermore, "BMW Individual" were able to custom design an M3 with specific coloured leather, woodgrain and other personalised options including polished magnesium alloy wheels from the Anniversary edition. Convertibles lacked the sports seats found in the coupe but retained every other feature.

M3 CSL (E36)

Beginning with the first E36 M3's delivered, BMW racers began pressuring BMW for a race-ready version with which to compete against Porsche 911s in sports-car racing.

In 1995, BMW relented and began building batches of the M3 CSL at BMW Individual. Upon completion they were sent to Prototype Technology Group (PTG) Racing in Virginia for final preparation, which included the front and rear Motorsport flag decals, and "trunk goodies." In the boot there was a different oil pan with dual pick up oil pump, longer dipstick tube, front strut bar, lower x brace that owners could install at the risk of voiding the standard BMW warranty. The car also came with the normal M3 low wing mounted but most dealers installed the special high wing when prepping the car for sale. Each new owner was given a 1 page legal document to sign stating that any installation of trunk items voided the new car warranty. The ECU had the top speed limiter removed which resulted in a drag induced top speed. A 3.23 rear differential was installed vs the normal 3.15 installed in M3's.

There is a minor controversy in which some people believe the M3 CSL should not be called an M3 CSL (referring to the famous 3.0 CSL), but rather an M3 Lightweight, as that was the name that BMW advertised the car as.

While it is true that BMW's press referred to the car as the M3 Lightweight, each M3 CSL's build sheet (the instructions from BMW AG to BMW Individual) clearly labelled the car as an M3 CSL, so there can be no doubt that the factory itself thought of the car as a CSL. In addition, the additional manual that came with the car identified it as the CSL.

This controversy can perhaps be attributed to the fact that the English translation of CSL is Coup Sports Lightweight.

Although BMW promised to build at least 85 examples, BMW never released the number of M3 CSL's built, and because of the peculiar assembly line, to this day may not be known. However, enthusiasts now believe that there exist approximately 120 models.

The first two cars, which were used as press cars, are not technically M3 CSL's as they were regular production M3's that PTG made similar in appearance to the not-yet-built CSL. After press duties, those two cars were brought back into the PTG stable.

e36 BMW M3 Performance Figures:

Model
US 3.0L M3
EU 3.0L M3
EU 3.2L Evo
US 3.2L M3
EU 3.2L CSL
Engine
Inline-6
Inline-6
Inline-6
Inline-6
Inline-6
HorsePower (BHP)
240
286
321
240
240
0-30mph (sec)
2.3
2.5
2.2
N/A
N/A
0-60mph (sec)
6.4
5.6
5.3
5.9
5.3
0-100mph (sec)
16.0
13.5
12.0
15.5
14.0
0-120mph (sec)
N/A
20.0
18.5
N/A
N/A
1/4 mile (sec/mph)
14.6 @ 97
14. @ 101
13.8 @ 104
14.5 @ 98
13.9 @ 100
Maximum mph
137
155*
158
137
137
Overall mpg
24/25 US
24/26 lmp
23/25 lmp
22/24 US
21/23 US
Curb Weight (lbs/kg)
3,230/1,468
3,244/1,520
3,236/1,471
3,170/1,441
2,950/1,341
Source
Bentley Publishers
*Electronically Limited to 155 mph, but Autocar clocked an e36 M3 at 162mph