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The E36 M3 was released in February 1992 with it's S50 engine (282 bhp) & 5 speed transmission. Almost instantly the second-gen M3 was touted by most publications as one of the best handling cars of the 1990s. With just the right balance of power and benign handling, the E36’s accessible nature saw it become very popular amongst circuit racers, flattering track enthusiasts and regular drivers alike.
With introduction of the facelift model in September 1995 the bigger 3.2-litre Evo engine and corresponding increase in power & torque (321bhp and 258lb ft) these larger figures made the then-new Porsche 996 appear as undernourished as a Kenyan marathon runner and to boot there were now 6 speeds to play tunes on the race derived engine.
While the original E30’s sheer impact on automotive history might have convinced you into buying one (if you did before their values went into the stratosphere - well done!), given how expensive they've become amongst collectors, in reality they're nowhere near worth the money in terms of driving ability alone.
Yes, the E30 M3 was undoubtably great, but to be brutally honest the M3 was even greater the second time around. With the E36 came a massive growth in BMW’s M Division, and while the E30 was more a happy accident, the second-generation version recognised the format’s desirability and capitalised on it.
Gerhard Richter, one of the company’s longest-serving tech chiefs and head of chassis development for the E36, said: “While the focus of the E30 was competitiveness, this changed with the E36 M3. Here it was important for us to find a combination of racing technology and an increase in the ability for everyday use. The aim was to exploit the limits on both sides.”
BMW’s aim with the E36’s engine was to give it a very smooth idle position but to maintain the same excitement of a racing engine. Thanks to the marque’s newly-introduced variable camshaft technology, which debuted on the E36 M3, engineers didn’t just achieve this target but excelled it, with Richter describing the motor as “mechanically perfect”:
Known as VANOS, the variable valve timing system changed the position of the engine’s camshaft in relation to its revs and oil pressure, similar in effect to Honda’s revered VTEC technology. At lower speeds, the engine was allowed to idle smoothly and power was applied in a much slicker fashion. As engine speed increased, the cam profile changed to open the engine valves earlier, which enhanced torque and also reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Full-throttle, the cam profile changed again to delay the valves’ opening to allow for full power delivery, all the way up to a massive 8,000rpm - considering the engine's capacity & 6 cylinder (long crank) design.
Visually, while the E36 is markedly more demure than any other generation of M3, it still maintained just the right amount of rowdiness with aggressive side sills and M-badged touches to set it apart aesthetically from the standard 3 Series. “It looks relatively harmless, and when you step inside you find a beautiful and comfortable vehicle. But once you start the engine, you notice this is not a normal engine".
“When you keep your foot on the accelerator and the engine revs up to 8,000 revs you know this is almost like a racing car.”
“Obviously the complete package was perfect. It had the power, the understatement, the comfort and the potential for everyday use,” Richter concluded.
Click here to see the interview with Richter & an overview on the E36 M3 from BMW.
Corrosion resistance is generally poor with these & the typical examples that have been on UK & European roads all of their lives will already have been subject to around 2 decades of annual winter salt, mud & sand as a layer that tends to build up over the years attaching itself to the underside, arches, exhaust, engine bay, etc. This mixture often finds itself mixed with moisture resulting from use in typical weather in the UK. All combined this makes an effective electrolytic substance which is the cause of rust & other problems associated with corrosion. Typically the rear arches, boot seal seams, floor, chassis, engine bay, etc. all corrode horribly. Sadly if you look at a UK E36 M3 that's been on British roads all of its life, chances are if you don't see rust it's either been repaired (& therefore likely to resurface as it continues to corrode from the inside out), or at worst it's got hidden rust hiding beneath a thick coating of underseal.
By contrast, in Japan cars don't corrode in the same way as in UK & Europe. It shocks people when they see how corrosion free a well chosen can from Japan can actually be... Such as this low mileage UK spec E36 M3 Evo, for example. This car was supplied new in the UK and even had a UK registration number. This car was a BMW GB car for 3 months (& therefore well spec'd) before being bought by an International Stock Trading Company in UK. Documentation with this car includes an original delivery letter from BMW UK to the then first driver - owner.
Shortly after buying this M3, it was stored in a garage in London & exported to Japan, Tokyo in early 2001 where the company partner had been transferred to.
Subsequently this M3 Evo was always dry garaged in Tokyo's financial centre where the owner worked and this car was seldom used. It was still regularly & professionally maintained, which explains its impeccable condition and low mileage since new. It's notable that to import cars into Japan in those days was extremely expensive, which would serve to show the owner liked to car so much he brought it with him from the UK in spite of the expenses to do so.
In Japan salt isn't used on plains areas, only in the higher altitudes (mountains areas, etc). where people rarely go during winter due to difficult driving conditions and so even there, salt is rare. Japan's roads are well drained and protected from debris falling onto them since there are frequent earthquakes and typhoon rains can also occur. This means mud, etc. isn't to be found on roads, unlike the UK and for this reason, this example is completely rust free. For someone wanting the very best example available, it'll be hard to beat this one.
Equipment includes: M-Technic Double Spoke Forged alloy wheels, LSD, ABS, M-Sports SRS leather covered steering wheel, factory fitted tinted glass, unmarked grey leather with Vader optional front seats, fine wood trim, climate control air conditioning, adjustable rear head rests, cruise control, trip computer with remote control, Hifi, fitted floor mat set, warning triangle & first aid kit (unused since new), remote controlled Evo door mirrors, heated mirrors & door lock, central locking, deep front spoiler with integrated driving lights, rear spoiler with integrated 3rd brake light, rechargeable battery in glovebox, etc.
Condition Report: This example finished in beautiful Estoril Blue metallic is clearly an example in unique condition throughout. Despite being of full UK spec it has been owned & used since new only on Japan's salt-free & pristinely maintained roads. Paintwork is visibly stunning on this example. Highly reflective with a deep glossy shine, its evident this M3 has always been kept garaged by its previous mature owner and was cared for throughout it’s time in Japan. The Estoril Blue paintwork suits this car very well and is probably the most desired colour of all too.
It's completely rust free throughout. Underneath its like new (See pictures of the underside condition & rust free nature of the original - standard exhausts) and even the wheels (with original finish) have ZERO corrosion on them. They're fitted with quality sports tyres in good condition too. Whilst detailing this car, we noticed 2 pin dents which have been removed - bodywork is now flawless. The owner was clearly fastidious about how well he kept this car. Being regularly washed & polished, the paint remains superb. Even small wheel scratches or tiny paint chips were carefully touched in with well-matched paint. The result is a car so well preserved throughout, it still looks near new some 20 years after it rolled off the production line.
Inside the engine bay it's similarly in undeniably as-new condition. We noticed (After shooting pictures) that the plastic strut top cover is missing. Naturally we'll be replacing this missing item with a new one as part of preparation & servicing in UK.
Interior as pictures show is in fantastic condition throughout showing minimal wear and a great patina. The leather seats are in superb soft & supple condition, there are no cigarette burns or stains either. Steering wheel is unworn, as is the shift lever - similarly near new. Ashtray has had virtually no use at all so we believe this was a non-smoker's car. Floor mats are also in excellent condition too, which indicates to us that this car was mainly used in the city and the carpet on the boot floor is still like new, indicating this car wasn't used for load carrying much - if ever.
Test Drive: We test drove this example at length and are pleased to report it is a delight to drive! The charismatic B50S32 engine is smooth and powerful and provides plenty of overtaking punch when summoned with a soundtrack too! A usual thing with these is the VANOS. This oine is relatively quiet and certainly isn't in any need overhauling, but in search of perfection we've come across a specialist that can make these tighter tolerance than BMW original and really make them even quieter, which is desirable - so we've opted to include this as a service along with a full inspection & service prior to completion in UK.
The 6-speed gearbox shifts smoothly and precisely and is a real pleasure to use. No clonks or rattles at all from the drivetrain, just smooth refined progress. Interior has factory integrity about it with nothing showing signs of abuse. The whole feeling is of a car that is incredibily solid and fresh. Make no mistake, this is not a car to be compared with examples that have been on UK roads all of their lives. That would be a mistake.This E36 M3 Evo comes with original manuals and service history. The overall condition of this example is fantastic & as clearly shown in pictures. We are confident this car will go to someone who truly appreciates the E36 M3 Evo and wants the very best.
This is the first and possibly the only E36 M3 we will ever stock, as those usually found in Japan are LHD and not attractive for the UK market. It took countless months, or not years of searching to find this stunning example. BMW Registry shows production figures for UK S50B32 engined coupe models as follows: BG92 (ECE-spec coupe, RHD): 2,845 produced from 01/1996 through 12/1998.
With so many abused, rusted, stripped and used on tracks, etc. its clear these are rare cars on UK road nowadays. Currently held in Japan this unique E36 M3 Evo can be reserved with a deposit of £1500 for prompt shipment to the UK.
Price: £19,995. Full UK OTR (on the road) preperation to include UK registering, 12 months MOT, 12 months warranty, full service (Incl. VANOS overhaul) & full detailing service.
If enquiring about import to another country other than the UK ask about our FOB package.
Contact us to secure this example from our stock or source an alternative top condition quality modern classic Performance Import to order.
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