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BMW M3 E36



Manufacturer
BMW M GmbH
Production
1982 – 1999 (71,242 built)
Assembly
Regensburg, Germany
Rosslyn, South Africa
Toluca, Mexico
Body style
4-door saloon
2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Engine
S50B30 3.0 L (1992-1995)
S50B32 3.2 L (1995-1999)
Transmission
5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
6 Speed SMG
Wheelbase
2,700 mm (106.3 in)
Convertible: 2,710 mm (106.7 in)
Length
4,432 mm (174.5 in)
Lightweight: 4,521 mm (178.0 in)
Width
1,709 mm (67.3 in)
Sedan: 1,699 mm (66.9 in)
Height
1,336 mm (52.6 in)
Sedan: 1,364 mm (53.7 in)
Curb weight
1,460 kg (3,219 lbs)
Convertible: 1,560 kg (3,439 lbs)
Related
The E36 M3 debuted in February 1992 and was in the dealer's showrooms in November that year; it was the first M3 powered by a straight-6 engine. The engine used is a 2,990 cc (182 cu in) S50, which produces 210 kW (282 hp).
Initially available as a coupé only, BMW introduced M3 convertible/cabriolet and saloon versions in 1994, the absence of any M5 models in the BMW line-up between the end of E34 M5 production in 1995 and the launch of the E39 M5 in 1998 prompting the introduction of the four-door Motorsport model.
Also in 1994, BMW produced the limited-edition M3 GT as a racing homologation special; all GTs were British Racing Green and featured an upgraded 295 PS (217 kW; 291 hp) 3.0-litre engine. 356 GTs were built.
In September and November 1995, the M3 coupé and saloon, respectively, were upgraded to the 236 kilowatts (316 hp) 3.2 litre S50B32engine. At the same time, the cars received clear indicator lenses, new wheels and a 6-speed gearbox. The convertible did not receive these changes until February 1996.
The majority of E36 M3s were produced at the Regensburg factory; however, a small number of detuned right hand drive M3s were assembled at BMW's Rosslyn plant in PretoriaSouth Africa. In total, 46,525 coupés, 12,114 Cabriolets and 12,603 saloons were produced. Saloon production ended in December 1997; the coupé ceased production in late 1998; and the convertible in December 1999.
The E36 chassis M3 was touted as one of the best handling cars of the 90s in independent tests by Car & Driver. Known for its benign handling and balance, the car is popular amongst circuit racers and track enthusiasts. The E36 was also one of the first cars BMW designed mainly with computer aid with the use of detailed Finite Element Analysis and other software.

North American model

The first E36 M3 to be imported to the United States was the 1995 model, which used the S50B30US engine with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS) and 305 Nm (225 lbft), a different suspension setup and a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time in about six seconds. It was available with 5-speedmanual and automatic transmissions.
A LTW (Lightweight) M3 was produced in limited numbers for the 1995 model year:
The 1996–1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, still with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS), but torque increases to 320 N·m (240 lb·ft) which is the same S52B32US engine used in the early M Roadster and M Coupe. The manual gearbox remains a 5-speed despite the European versions being upgraded to 6-speed. It was also available as a saloon starting in model year 1997, and as convertible in 1998. Production of the saloon was halted in 1998, while the other models continued until 1999.
US sales figures include a total of 18,961 coupes, 7,760 saloons and 6,211 convertibles.
Other notable differences between North American and their European counterparts were as follows: Floating rotors were standard on the Canadian and European cars, but absent from the American variations. As well, the differential and rear axles on the North American cars were of lighter duty builds than the Euro cars.
All late model M3's received subframe re-inforcements and more aggressive front end suspension geometry due to the differences in caster and camber yielded by top hat design and lower control arm bushings.

Racing History

Team GotOrgans E36 M3 in the Yukon,
Canada, while on the Alcan Winter Rally
In 2012, an E36 M3 driven by Daniel Merkins and Ryan Smiley of Team GotOrgans? competed in the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally, a rally starting in Seattle to the Arctic Circle and back, marking the first time that an M3 had competed in this gruelling motorsport event. The M3 was an unprecedented vehicle choice for this rally, however, it proved to be one of the most reliable cars competing that year, never citing a breakdown or hard start in the cold, as well as never becoming snowbound.

E36 performance

Version
Power
Torque
0–60 mph
Top Speed
3.0 L-24v I6
Euro
210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp)
320 Nm (236 lbft)
5.4 s
155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)
Euro GT
216 kW (294 PS; 290 hp)
323 Nm (238 lbft)
5.4 s
155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)
U.S.
179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)
305 Nm (225 lbft)
5.6 s
137 mph (220 km/h) (electronically limited)
3.2 L-24v I6
Euro
236 kW (321 PS; 316 hp)
350 Nm (258 lbft)
5.2 s
155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)
U.S.
179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)
320 Nm (236 lbft)
5.5 s
139 mph (224 km/h) (electronically limited)
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 286 bhp (213 kW; 290 PS) (more than the US model by some margin). The 3.2 Evo was introduced with 316 bhp (236 kW; 320 PS).
BMW M3 Cabriolet

E36 special models

There were six special-edition models of the E36 M3 produced: the M3 Euro-Spec (Canadian Edition), M3 LTW, M3 GT, M3 GT-R, M3-R, and the Imola Individual (often referred to as the GT2) (the last of the E36s)
There was also an M3 Anniversary Edition only produced in 1999 for Australia. This was the final year of production for the 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 personalized 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 Euro-Spec (Canadian Edition)

In 1994 agreements existed between Canada and several countries in Europe which allowed any car authorized in one participating country to legally be sold in any of the others. Though BMW had unveiled the next generation E36 M3 in Europe in 1992, the company felt that the production version would need to be priced much higher for export to North America than the market would allow. While the engineers worked on a less expensive North American version of the E36 M3, BMW Canada seized the window of opportunity: 45 numbered European specification M3 coupes were specially produced and imported into Canada.
Even with a base price of $59,900 (a substantial sum for the day given that the standard equipment list did not include forged lightweight wheels, air conditioning, a sunroof or even metallic paint), all 45 cars were spoken for in 3 days. Unlike the other special versions of the E36 M3, buyers were free to choose any colours and options they wanted on their cars. The cars all came equipped with the 286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp) 3.0 L inline 6-cylinder engine, vented brakes with floating rotors, glass headlights and other European standard equipment. They were initially delivered to Toronto, then shipped all across the country to the dealerships where they were ordered.
Canada would not see another E36 M3 for sale until two years later, when BMW finally made the American versions of the 1997 M3 available for sale. Forty five Euro-Spec Canadian Edition cars were built, each one having a numbered engraved plaque in both the glovebox and the custom leather case which holds the owners manuals. Only the Australian M3-R was built in lower numbers.

M3 Light (LTW) (E36)

Beginning with the first E36 M3s delivered, BMW racers began pressuring BMW for a homologation version with which to compete against Porsche 911s in sports-car racing. A homologation version is a car with special modifications from the factory that are allowed in racing as "production" cars, if enough cars are made and sold.
In 1995, BMW relented and offered the M3 LTW. The major changes to the car were to lower the weight for racing. The cars came without a radio (although the speakers were installed and the car pre-wired for the radio), air conditioning (later offered as a dealer installed option), leather seats, tool kit, or a sun roof. The doors have aluminum skins. There is no underhood insulation blanket and the trunk only has carpet on the floor. The under body insulation is thinner and there is special carpeting to lower weight. Overall the changes added up to 200 -300 pounds less than a standard M3.
The engines were specially selected from the assembly line for the highest power. The ECU had the top speed limiter removed. The cars also came with a 3.23 rear axle ratio versus the standard 3.15 of the 1995 M3s. The cars were fitted with a sport suspension with stiffer springs and shocks.
Cosmetically the M3 LTW came only in Alpine White with the Motorsports flag decals on the left front and right rear corners of the car. There is an aggressive wing on the trunk lid. There was some carbon fiber interior trim and the badges (side molding and dash) say "BMW Motorsports International." The seat fabric is black with a red pattern.
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 kit." In the trunk there was a different oil pan with special oil pump, longer oil dipstick tube, front strut bar, lower x brace, spacer blocks to raise the rear wing, and an adjustable front splitter. The oil pump was actually two pumps, one for feeding oil to the engine as normal, the second fed from a second pick up at the front of the pan and pumped the oil back into the sump to prevent build up of oil in the shallow area of the oil pan. Each new owner was given a 1 page legal document to sign stating that any installation of trunk items voided the new car warranty. Later cars did not come with the "trunk kit" in the trunk, but with a form that allowed the owner to order the items at no cost.
Unique forged 17-inch alloy wheels, 12 inches wide in the front and 12inches wide in the rear, mounted with identically sized 235/40-17 tires front and rear were an additional difference from the standard 17 × 12-inch cast alloy wheels mounted with 235/40-17 tires on standard M3s.
Although BMW promised to build approximately 100, BMW never released the number of M3 LTWs built, and because of the peculiar assembly line, to this day may not be known. However, enthusiasts now believe that there exist approximately 125 built, with some 116 sold to the public.
The first two cars, which were used as press cars, are not technically M3 LTWs as they were regular production M3s that PTG made similar in appearance to the not-yet-built LTW. After press duties, those two cars were brought back into the PTG stable.

Racing History

Outside of multiple cars raced in the BMW CCA Club Racing series (an amateur series specific only to BMW models) PTG had between two to four models that they raced in IMSA. It seems that one of those cars was sold to Jeff McMillian, in which he won the SCCA World Challenge series, without winning a single race. One was raced in the SCCA's Touring 1 class by John Browne. The now defunct team Massari Muller won the 1998 Motorola Cup "Grand Sport class" championship with drivers Terry Borcheller and Andy Pilgrim in an M3.

M3 GT

1994 BMW M3 GT
The M3 GT Coupe was a limited-edition mainland Europe-only edition of which 356 were made; 50 were made in right-hand drive for the UK market and were built in 1995 February–June. Six prototypes were made in December 1994.
Famous for being British Racing Green (#312) with a Mexico Green interior – a peculiar choice when the traditional German national racing colour is silver.
The BMW M3 GT was a homologation series special built to allow the E36 M3 to compete in the FIA-GT class II, IMSA GT and international long-distance races.
It differed from the standard M3 with a deeper, adjustable, front spoiler with corner splitters, higher rear double wing, doors in aluminium. Forged BMW Motorsport wheels, 17x7,5 in front and 17x8,5 in rear, stiffer suspension in front, x-brace and strut brace. Engine had raised compression (10,8:1), slightly changed intake and camshafts (264 deg duration), motorsport oil pump and double oil pickups in the special oil pan as well as special software for engine and VANOS, producing 295 bhp at 7100 rpm and 323 Nm at 3900 rpm. The M3 GT was around 30 kg lighter than the standard M3 and had a derestricted top speed of 275 kmh.

M3 Evolution Imola Individual (M3 GT2)

The M3 Evolution Imola Individual was a limited-edition (200 units for Europe with part VIN WBACB5103-AN307--, 50 for the United Kingdom) car sometimes referred to as the M3 GT2. The engine and performance characteristics of the car were unchanged from the 1996+ euro M3, and a special exterior and interior colour combination was once again chosen by BMW; Imola red (405) paint with Nappa leather & Amaretto seats in Imola red and anthracite seats. It also included side airbags, the M3 GT Class II rear spoiler, front class II corner spoiler extensions, electric seats, and double-spoke polished alloy wheels.
Prior to the release of the Imola Individual there was a pre-production model made which was used as the basis of the special edition, it featured the Class II front and rear spoilers, special order Imola red Paint, special order Nappa + Anthracite Amaretta interior, SMG gearbox, GSM Phone Kit, headlamp washers and double-spoke polished alloy wheels.
This car is believed to be the car BMW used for the Imola individual advertising, though not officially confirmed. The car was professionally converted to a 6-speed manual in June 2010 when the SMG Gearbox failed.
1998 BMW M3 Evolution Imola Individual number 42/50 Shown here

M3-R

Fifteen M3s were ordered by BMW Australia in 1994 to race in the Australian Super Production series. All were delivered to Tony Longhurst Racing for final preparation by the Frank Gardner run team. Eleven were made available to the general public, (who have to possess a CAMS license to be allowed to buy one), four were retained for the race series, the M3-R had locally sourced King springs fitted to Group N adjustable struts and rear perches, AP Racing twin plate clutch and four piston brake calipers, dual pickup sump, an oil restrictor in the head, A C Schnitzer cams, a 3.25:1 ratio medium case diff and M5 driveshaft, cold air snorkel into air filter box replacing left hand fog light, non functional rear seat, air conditioner delete and more aggressive tune, GT front splitter and rear spoiler with extensions and gurney strips. This was the most powerful production E36 made with 240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp). A bolt-in FIA approved roll cage was also a factory option (locally produced by Dencar) there were several differences between the cars depending on customer requirements, early numbers had non-staggered BBS wheels, later had staggered BBS wheels (individually numbered plaque fitted to centre console below emergency brake lever).

M3 GTR

The E36 M3 GTR is the road-going version of the competition machine built to compete in the 1994 ADAC German GT Cup Touring Car series. Essentially a race car with license plates.

M3 compact

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the German automobile magazine Auto Motor und Sport in 1996, BMW M GmbH hand-built (at least) one official BMW E36 M3 compact. The car was tested and described in the June edition of the magazine.
The car embodied all the mechanical (engine, driveline, suspension) and visual (bumpers, wheels, mirrors, dashboard) characteristics of the stock E36 M3. It was powered by the 321 DIN-hp 3.2-litre engine, and its colour was red with a black cloth/alcantara interior. It had the forged Styling 24M 5-doublespoke wheels that came standard on the M3 cabriolet, an exhaust with fairly centered quad exhaust tip, Recaro sports bucket seats, red four-point seat belts and an alcantara wrapped steering wheel and gear lever.
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Last updated on 27 August 2013 at 20:52.

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