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JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
8/16/11 9:16 p.m.

So I retired the Smart, I picked up an E36 M3 and away we go.

My initial impressions.....

Everyone should own one of these cars at least once. It's not the most powerful thing I've owned but the power is in all the right places and very usable. Its comfy, its fun and after a smart oddly enough it flies under the radar.

I'm still in the "new" used car paranoia mode where every noise, vibration, oddity is suspect but I've racked up 500 miles and its all good. I love driving it.....but

It requires being driven....its not a transportation appliance and you have to interact with the car, this is not bad, just different.

WHO THE HELL puts the cup holders under the armrest?? I miss my morning bottled water because I have no place to put it.

Unlike the smart which got attention all the time when someone notices this car and talks to me about it its a real "car guy" experience because they know what it is.

If I can keep from playing with the fun pedal its not terrible on gas.

Its hard to keep from playing with the fun pedal.

For a 12 year old car that probably cost less than that new Hyundai next to me everyone sure does think you are special.

It's not particularly luxurious. My smart was definitely optioned better by a long shot, but it was also 10 years newer. It is definitely a great drivers car.

I didnt buy it with the intent to track it but its getting tempting, this car begs to be driven harder than I dare on public streets.

Just random thoughts as I adjust to the new ride...I love it but it's different than I thought it might be. Having spent 3.5 years with the Smart, the longest I've ever had a DD this is the first time I've really had such a sharp transition in DDs and its taking some adjustment.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
8/16/11 10:01 p.m.

I was surprised at how slow the steering was and how long the gearshift throw. I remedied the gearshift with one from a z3, but the steering definitely could use some quickening.

I agree with about all your other observations though.

pigeon
pigeon Dork
8/16/11 10:07 p.m.

Ultimate cup holder - it's expensive but fixes the stupid cup holder location that BMW continued on the E46. If I DD my E46 M3 I'd invest in one. And you are special, you drive the E36 M3!

nderwater
nderwater Dork
8/16/11 10:29 p.m.

If you think the E36 cupholders are inconvenient, you should see the flimsy pos's in the E39's. After replacing the broken ones in my wife's car a second time ($90 a pop), she mounted a Fisher-Price/Brica 'snack pod' to the parking brake handle. Cheap, clamps on tight, and no more spills. Find it at your local Target or Wal-Mart.

BoostedBrandon
BoostedBrandon Reader
8/16/11 10:44 p.m.

My camaro had no cupholders, I just place my beverage between my legs. You can place a napkin below it if you're worried about condensation. As far as switching DDs, its amazing how much cars change in ten years isn't it?

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy Dork
8/16/11 11:00 p.m.

Cup holders! Bah! We don need no steenking cupholders!

HiTempguy
HiTempguy Dork
8/16/11 11:34 p.m.

I thought that the passenger seat was the cup/garbage holder? It's not like I have passengers that often anyways, they all seem to exit as quick as possible when I take on/off ramps at 120km/h

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
8/16/11 11:37 p.m.

thanks for the link to that cupholder. I agree that german cupholders for the most part suck. Mine hold change

mr2peak
mr2peak Reader
8/17/11 1:58 a.m.

The best cars only let you fill the cups half way, all the g's make the liquids disappear!

Luke
Luke SuperDork
8/17/11 4:59 a.m.

What's the difference between a BMW and....you probably know this one already .

JThw8 wrote: For a 12 year old car that probably cost less than that new Hyundai next to me everyone sure does think you are special.

^^That's one of my favourite things about depreciated "prestige" cars.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed HalfDork
8/17/11 6:26 a.m.

I think this is one of the few boards that someone would go from a Smart car to an M3 as a daily driver. That's not an insult, that's a compliment........the search for automotive nirvana is long and endless.

Also, how about a pic for a visual? Good score.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
8/17/11 6:38 a.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I was surprised at how slow the steering was and how long the gearshift throw. I remedied the gearshift with one from a z3, but the steering definitely could use some quickening. I agree with about all your other observations though.

The steering doesn't bother me that much but you are definitely right about the shifter throw. Once I address general maintenace a short throw shifter of some type is on the list. You like the Z3 unit?

Feedyurhed wrote: I think this is one of the few boards that someone would go from a Smart car to an M3 as a daily driver. That's not an insult, that's a compliment........the search for automotive nirvana is long and endless. Also, how about a pic for a visual? Good score.

I've given up on automotive nirvana, I'm just trying to own one of everything at some point :) At least that's what my wife thinks. If I had the means I'd keep them both. I still find myself hopping in the Smart if I have to take a quick trip to the store or something, its just very familiar and therefore comfortable.

Posted elsewhere but always happy to postwhore out more pics.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
8/17/11 6:56 a.m.

Ha! Slow steering?? ...and to think... E30 guys put the E36 rack into their cars because it's an improvement.

Don't talk to me about slow steering... It's not quite as bad when I go from the TDi to the E30, but going from the MINI to the E30 is almost painful.

Sonic added a nice dealer/aftermarket arm-rest/cup holder assembly to the E30. I'm pretty sure cup-holders were an after-thought to German interior designers well into the '00s. The MINI still has crap cup holders...

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
8/17/11 7:14 a.m.

Slow Steering? The M3 and Z3 have the fastest ratios in the E36 line up. The rest of us are still faster than the E30

T.J.
T.J. SuperDork
8/17/11 8:01 a.m.

I would like to own one of these someday. I guess I should get off the fence and get one before they are too old. My BMW doesn't have cup holders at all.

dj06482
dj06482 HalfDork
8/17/11 8:14 a.m.

I'm not sure on your car, but on my former E36 ('97 328is), I could re-arrange the cupholders so I had one useable one that wasn't under the armrest. Just squeeze and lift...

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
8/17/11 9:30 a.m.

If you look on realoem.com (your new best friend as an old BMW owner) there's a variety of snap-in modules for the center console. I put the cup holder at the front and cut the bottom out so it would hold a 20 oz. paper coffee cup. I bought one of the tiny parcel compartments and modified it for a place to park an iPod with the cable to the Dice interface routed through a hole in it's end. I've removed the armrest when I installed the roll bar/harnesses/fixed back seats/QR smaller wheel so it's all unobstructed, but it does make the existing cup holder useful.

BTW - if you ever consider a Dice iPod interface; bear in mind there's a reason people say the name is an acronym for "Doesn't Initialize Correctly, Ever". I bought a BMW-Rover CD/Radio which has text display and even with that the Dice interface is counterintuitive and mostly a pain in the ass unless you have a small iPod and use random play only. Selecting a specific album for example requires countless scrolling, entering, advancing and selecting steps. Skip it!

docwyte
docwyte Reader
8/17/11 10:45 a.m.

The large steering wheel in the E36 M3 is what makes the steering feel so slow.

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
8/17/11 10:48 a.m.
motomoron wrote: BTW - if you ever consider a Dice iPod interface; bear in mind there's a reason people say the name is an acronym for "Doesn't Initialize Correctly, Ever". I bought a BMW-Rover CD/Radio which has text display and even with that the Dice interface is counterintuitive and mostly a pain in the ass unless you have a small iPod and use random play only. Selecting a specific album for example requires countless scrolling, entering, advancing and selecting steps. Skip it!

Yeah, I've definitely seen alot of complaints about that unit. Right now I'm just rockin it old school with a cassette adapter, haven't decided on what upgrade path to take with the audio yet.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
8/17/11 11:25 a.m.
docwyte wrote: The large steering wheel in the E36 M3 is what makes the steering feel so slow.

Not to mention the stock E36 wheel is ugly. While the same size, I swapped mine to a euro-airbag unit

Josh
Josh Dork
8/17/11 11:46 a.m.
JThw8 wrote:
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I was surprised at how slow the steering was and how long the gearshift throw. I remedied the gearshift with one from a z3, but the steering definitely could use some quickening. I agree with about all your other observations though.

The steering doesn't bother me that much but you are definitely right about the shifter throw. Once I address general maintenace a short throw shifter of some type is on the list. You like the Z3 unit?

Here's the budget fix for the shifter: Modified M Roadster shifter from understeer.com:

http://understeer.com/onlinestore-shifters.shtml

Add the UUC delrin bushing. I also replaced the selector rod coupler, rubber buffer, and pins at the same time:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/ksearch/PEL_search.cgi?command=show_part_page&please_wait=N&make=POR&model=BE36&section=Pcable&page=1&bookmark=1&part_number=25-11-1-222-688-M9

After this, and adding a weighted shift knob from the 330 ZHP for around $45, it shifts like a whole different car. It's no S2000, but after the changes I have no complaints.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
8/17/11 12:01 p.m.

E39 cup holders are hilariously bad. The best part is that they're also right in front of the temperature sensors for the automagic HVAC system, so if you put a cold drink there on a hot day it'll make the HVAC think the car is cool inside...

I've got a DICE adapter for my iPod. It's usually hooked to a current-gen Nano that is attached to the dash beside the radio. I do my song selection through the Nano screen, and when I'm not prodding at it the Nano works as a clock. But yeah, most of the time it's just set on random. Accessing particular tracks through the interface is awkward. I can say the same for the iPod integration in a 2010 Dodge.

E36 M3s really are good cars. The boss used to have one (it was his gateway BMW, followed by an E39 540i Sport, an E39 M5 and now a 2002 that's now stripped to bare paint). I was very impressed with the E36.

Vigo
Vigo Dork
8/17/11 12:59 p.m.
The best part is that they're also right in front of the temperature sensors for the automagic HVAC system, so if you put a cold drink there on a hot day it'll make the HVAC think the car is cool inside...

SupraWes
SupraWes Dork
8/17/11 4:28 p.m.

After a slew of 80's Toyotas with ZERO cupholders, the ones in the E36 are a godsend to me. I guess it just depends on your point of view. I have no armrest though and don't really care to have one.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
8/17/11 4:46 p.m.

Here's the E39 version. Two little claws that swing out and hold your drink right at the bottom as it perches in front of the HVAC and stereo, ready to tip and flood your hazard light switch. The E36 ones must be better!

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