The BMW M3 changed the game forever. It was exactly the right combination of performance, style, and practicality, and as this 1998 BMW M3 convertible demonstrates, reasonably priced. Hailed as the last of the true driver's machines, the E36 versions like this remain popular year after year for all the right reasons.
Dressed in brilliant Estoril Blue, this is still a fantastic-looking car even 20 years later. Nobody will know how insanely affordable it is thanks to BMW's timeless styling and we're quick to admit that this car looks right. It has led a pampered life with enthusiasts who cared for it rather than using it as a daily driver, and the relatively low mileage reflects this. Yes, there are a few nicks and chips that are inevitable, but look again at the price and realize just how much car this represents. The M3 got subtle body mods that include a deeper front air dam, rocker extensions, and just a hint of a rear spoiler (nothing like the first-gen M3, that's for sure!). The lowered stance adds to the aggressive look, too. You'll note that the headlight covers are still crystal clear (they tend to yellow over time), the special M badges make it stand out, and we'll bet this car still attracts more than its fair share of attention out in the world. This is a very cool piece.
The light gray leather interior is incredibly well preserved. The freshly upholstered seats are still grippy and supportive, although somewhat less aggressive than the vise-grip chairs you get in modern M3s, something I think many of you will appreciate. Slightly darker gray carpets are a nice contrast and everything else is black so it matches the other cars in the BMW family. Big, easy-to-read gauges are a BMW tradition, although you can see where their infatuation with buttons began. And before you decry a BMW M-series with an automatic transmission, take it for a drive and you'll realize it's a mistake to judge it by the number of pedals on the floor. And as the top-of-the-line, it comes with virtually every feature in the BMW arsenal, including cold A/C, power windows, locks, and mirrors, cruise control, and a trip computer with all its pixels still 100% intact. There's a new convertible top overhead and the trunk is outfitted with a matching alloy wheel and a trick tool kit in the lid.
For use with the automatic transmission, the M3's inline-6 was punched out to 3.2 liters to help fatten up the torque curve. The engine bay is still 100% stock save for an aftermarket strut tower brace and a K&N air filter, so you know it hasn't been abused. The clean plastic throughout suggests an owner who cared about the hardware and it still runs superbly with silky smooth torque and a willingness to rev. Don't measure it by the numbers, measure it by the way it makes you smile. The 5-speed automatic transmission has quick reflexes and a sport mode that sharpens things up, and the M3 suspension and brakes are legendary. The exhaust note sounds like ripping silk and the wheels are some of the most attractive you'll find on any car.
This is a heck of a lot of car for the money, one that brings legendary performance and A-list celebrity status. Call today!