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Looking to get a new car: E30 vs E36

Discussion in '3 and 4-Series' started by Fishayyy, Dec 21, 2016.


If you've owned both cars which one did you like the most?

  1. E30 (non-M)

    1 vote(s)
  2. E36 M3

    1 vote(s)
  1. So I'm looking to get a second car to keep some miles off my 335i and also so I can take on more lengthy projects without having to worry about needing my car for work the next morning. I'm not really a brand loyalist but it's hard to beat how much performance you can get out of an E30 or an E36 for what they cost now-a-days.

    I'm not necessarily going to be dailying this car I just want to have it as a reliable backup car that I can do some suspension mods to and keep the engine mostly stock. However, it seems like the biggest problem I run into when trying to decide between the E30 325is and getting an E36 M3 is the limitations on the suspension geometry for the E30. So I'm looking to hear some experiences from people who've owned both cars and why you liked one over the other or some sensible solutions to the E30's suspension problems. I've done a little research, but I'm sure there's projects that I haven't seen yet.
  2. doublespaces

    doublespaces Administrator

    2009 E93 335i
    Well I have a 96 328i so I can't really comment directly on your post, but I'm kind of in the same position but I'm getting an SUV instead of another car. I appreciate a little bit of hauling capability.
  3. Here's some of my pros and cons. I feel like I would easily pick the E30 if I can find a feasible way to fix the suspension geometry problems.

    Pros: My favorite looking car between the two, much cheaper to buy and insure, easy to work on, light weight
    Cons: Suspension geometry (Lowering car negatively effects handling) and the only way to fix the geometry is with fabrication work, potential for hidden rust, oil pans break on speed bumps, most E30s require some love to be back in acceptable condition :D

    Pros: Handles better stock, has more headroom for improved handling capability due to superior suspension geometry, stronger motor, I personally like the interior better.
    Cons: More expensive to buy and insure, parts are more expensive, a lot of the more reasonably priced M3s have been thrashed, creaks and squeeks
  4. Aaron

    Aaron Sergeant

    Silver 2013 335is 6MT
    I'm looking for something similar actually, but mine is going to be a good daily since my E92 is a very nice, low mileage car. For me I'm seriously looking at an E46 330ci. Reliable, fun to drive, good on gas, looks classy still. But the prices go up pretty steep once you get to the 46 series.
  5. Ric in RVA

    Ric in RVA New Member

    I have never owned or even driven an E36 but I have had several E30s and LOVED all of them. 2 M42 powered 318's and 2 325's. The most recent 325 has an M50 swap and makes for a very modern feeling car with lower maintenance and more HP and torque.

    You do feel more vulnerable in the much smaller, lighter, less airbag laden car. The E30 almost has a vintage feel compared to the 135i....but that is part of the fun. Honestly my 135 would be my winter beater over the E30!!!! Just mount something other than summer tires.
  6. I think I'm going to go for the E30 just because it's the option that makes the most sense in my opinion. If the suspension really bugs me enough I'll just fab something up or figure it out when i get to it lol
  7. Stück

    Stück Private

    Houston, TX
    14 535i, 13 X3 35i
    Unless you are dropping an E30 through the ground there is no problem with the suspension. A ~1.5-2" drop is great. Garageistic has a ready built adjustable rear subframe if you absolutely must dial out come camber gain you get with a semi trailing arm rear suspension.

    I just restored, built and sold one of the cleanest E30's in North America.

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  8. Ric in RVA

    Ric in RVA New Member

    The Spec E30 set up is a bit stiff for a DD but if your roads are good it is livable and cheap. S&T bars front and rear, HR Race springs (HR sports are an option but the car NEEDS rear spring rate..probably more than the race set up), Bilstein sports, M3 offset front CAB, Poly rear CAB and subframe mounts. I drove my SpecE30 on the street before I caged it. Never had the geometry issues on the SE30 car. Enjoy the car for what it is. Light, simple, analog.
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  9. Ric in RVA

    Ric in RVA New Member

    Holy crap that is awesome!!!! http://s1279.photobucket.com/user/JSarette/library/91-318iS-EE72454?sort=3&page=1