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newbie help!!!

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  • newbie help!!!

    Hi, Im in the market for a new car and I have an infatuation with the E30 M3 (or maybe its love), so i have been thinking about buying one, but i wanted to ask you how is it like to have one, how's the maintenance on it? is it reliable? it would be my daily driver, i don't mind working on it, I actually enjoy working on stuff, but I'm no expert(but im willing to learn) and I don't have a lot of money to take it everytime to the mechanic. Also do you think it would be better to find one with decent mileage (80k-90K) and pay more, or get one with higher mileage and cheaper and spend the rest of the money in a rebuild and fixing whatever I can?. You see I have been driving cars most of my life that don't make me feel anything, I just want to get a car that I can enjoy driving and owning, however i am a man on a budget and i know bmw's aren't cheap, so I just wanted to know your opinion if i should get one or consider something else, if something else what would be another fun car to own? Thanks

  • #2
    Use the button. You'd be surprised how many people ask this question.

    "Unlike the latter day E36 and E46 M3's, the
    original E30 M3ís main purpose in life was to
    win races on the track, not the street. It
    got the job done."


    • #3
      EDIT: I reread your post and realized I read 80k/90k as $8k/9k... so perhaps my judgment isn't entirely accurate of your financial situation. Also, a quick tip, a 90k mile car is coming up on needing a lot of maintance work at the 100k mile mark - especially if you're in England

      I'll jump in first (since I'm avoiding homework) and say first, that my immediate reaction is that an M3 is not for you. HOWEVER, don't lose hope. Many of us on the board started with a different E30 (that's the chassis name) and the moved on to an M3.

      So, you want an M3? At $8k/9k you've got to be lucky to find one that won't need $5k worth of stuff over the next year or two. I personally drive one of the cheapest aquired, Barry did pretty well with his, and another guy just nabbed a sick deal... but other than that most of the M3's on this board represent a base $15k investment. Someone will explain the "$15k Rule." Then you've got the crazy guys who are probably pushing or exceeding $30k after modifying, for their totally stupid-hooked rides (and the won't stop). Back to the topic; if you're on a tight budget, and think you're going to run an E30 M3 daily for $10k invested... you might get yourself in trouble, but it can be done... especially if you're willing to eat peanut butter sandwiches in a pinch.

      They are an absolute blast to drive though, and fully rewarding. They are finicky in some ways though, mostly because of the high-strung 4 banger (designated S14! - sorry if I'm being to newbie-oriented) SO, yes parts and reliability can be an issue. M3 sometimes is referred to as Money X Three... you figure it out. I drive mine daily during fair whether, and with the exception of my stupidity, it hasn't left me stranded, nor would I consider it prohibitively expensive, then again I'm used to it -- she ain't no Ford.

      If you want a rewarding fun loving car, that isn't an M3, I'd steer you towards a '91 318is. They're becoming some what of a collector car too, since those in the "know" are chasing after them. It's sort of the same spirit of the M3, just toned down in a less expensive, less flashy package. If I had the money, I'd actually rather drive a 318 or 325 daily and leave the M3 to be used for "real drives." It's not healthy to drive an M3 as a grocery getter. Frankly, I think anytime it starts, it should go a minimum of 5 (really I want to say 10) miles, but that may be derived from my recent issues with fouled plugs.

      I can't believe I'm borderline talking you out of buying one, because I think mine is my most cherished possession (dare I say I'd chose it over my girlfriend?). Anyway, that's a quick look into the world of M3's. There's so much more to be said, and others will surely chime in... but my opinion is that you'd probably be better off with a different 3 series - I had a 325is that I loved just as much! (albeit slightly different reasons)

      Hope that helps you a little, it's a tough decision, worst thing you could do is neglect an M3 though, they're all about maintance schedules I think most of us are a little torn up about Ryan's friend who is parting a nice example out because of his unfortunate financial situation.

      I was right there with you man, talked myself in and out of buying one, and then the stars aligned. Best of luck, and we're here to support ya!

      Last edited by Beau; 09-22-2003, 05:51 PM.


      • #4

        Thanks for your reply man, and yes I think I have to give it a good thought before I buy anything. My budget right now its around 12K maybe a bit more and now that you have enlightened me I don't know what to get; however my hart still belongs to the M3, what a dilemma.


        • #5

          Thanks for your reply man, and yes I think I have to give it a good thought before I buy anything. My budget right now its around 12K maybe a bit more and now that you have enlightened me I don't know what to get; however my hart still belongs to the M3, what a dilemma.


          • #6
            What I said might be a bit discouraging at first, but I'm just trying to be honest. M3's are great cars by all accounts. Certainly capable of being daily drivers... but you've got to make a couple adjustments to live with one. To clarify, the S14 will be entirely reliable if you give it the proper service, just keep tabs on everything and rarely will something go KerPluNK to the point that you can't fix it quickly. One thing to keep in mind, at least in many areas, is parts have to be ordered, not just picked up at the local NAPA store.

            And as CeeP said, run a search (I think that's what he was hinting at) and you'll see some other opinions. There's another bunch of great guys over at and they'll tell you all you ever wanted to know about the array of E30 models, lots of articles there too. Let's not forget Anthony's site too, but it's still just a young pup! ... that said I spend most of my time here (thanks Magnus)

            OOH, one more thing, about mechanics - I've only taken mine once, to get the valves adjusted...65 miles from home because he's the closest one qualified... other than that everything has been DIY-able, I'm able to do nearly everything, but I've got greasy friends too (and a great father).
            Last edited by Beau; 09-22-2003, 06:22 PM.


            • #7
              Nobody else will be able to tell you whether the UrM3 is for you.
              Most of the first owners of these cars were simply able to afford the status symbol... and therefore, never discovered all its' facets.
              If you're looking for a stoplight to stoplight rush, this is not the car. Any hot/warm hatch plus all the 21st century family sedans will walk away from it between lights, so forget about the street war stories.
              The car is benign, almost numb when sedately driven. You're better off with a contemporary 325is if you want immediate gratification.
              Where the car shows it's true nature is where law enforcement (road taxers) is not relevant. This is the road course race track. Here, the chassis and engine turn the car and driver into hunters,as many other more powerful and modified machines have discovered.


              • #8
                If I were you I would get a 325i Sport. Nearly all the fun of a M3 (i say nearly) much easier to maintain if you dont know that much, very cheap on parts (i speak from UK prices) and they still look the business.
                I had a 91 about 8 years ago in zinnobar red and I loved it. It was a bit heavy on gas but it was worth it. Smooth 6 is not quite as grunty as the M3 but by the same token it was nicer to drive when you just wanted to get in your car and drive rather than unrefined looney mobil that is the M3.


                • #9
                  thanks for the input....

                  Thanks guys for the input, and let me tell you what kind of cars i like, first I don't care about the street racing thing, I think the most fun is on the turns, and I don't mind confort, in fact most of the time I don't even turn the radio on!(i like the engine sound) Thats why I like the M3 and I know it was a car first made with the purpose of racing; however my only problem would be a car that brakes too often and too expensive to maintain (like I said im no expert in mechanics and my budget is kind of limited) so that was my concern about the car. Thanks for pointing the other cars, I'll certainly give them a look, this is just such a difficult decision, and maybe i'll just have to leave it(m3) for later when i get more financially stable and have the means to maintain the car properly, thanks again and if you have any other sugestions for cars i'll apreciate it.



                  • #10
                    I know this is a strange angle BUT what is availabilty of Ford RS2000 Escorts like in the US?? Either Mk1 or Mk2, both of these cars are one of the best rear wheel drive cars Ive driven and they are relativley cheap (in the UK) and so easy to work on.
                    Even though they only have 110bhp they still do 0-60 in 8 seconds and cost next to nothing to get another 40bhp out of them.

                    I can keep them coming!!


                    • #11
                      RS2000s are few and far between, if at all. I've never actually seen one... nice thought though, I think the only time I saw one for sale it was a rally car, and serious cash.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Beau
                        RS2000s are few and far between, if at all. I've never actually seen one... nice thought though, I think the only time I saw one for sale it was a rally car, and serious cash.
                        Ive had 2. The first one I bought from a lady that was getting divorced from her husband and the car had to go. It had 34k on the clock and was mint but she didnt know what it was worth so she asked me for £500 (I was only 19 so wasnt trying to rip her off). The car was her husband company car 14 years earlier and not been out for 5 years and only did a couple of miles then.
                        I bought it needless to say and cost me 50 pence to MOT it and 1 year later sold it for £2500 but its prob now worth about £5000