To enhance durability on track, BMW fit bigger wheel bearings from the heavier 850i, and the shocks are 10% stiffer than the ones found in the optional M-Technic suspension for standard cars
The S52 3.2L replaced the 3.0L S50 back in 1996. Horsepower was the same in the U.S, although it put out 11 more lb-ft of torque at lower rpm than before. The U.S. spec drivetrain has many similarities to that of the E36 325i, which means parts are easy to find and relatively inexpensive for an M car
However, the no.1 complaint enthusiasts have about the E36 M3 is how choked the car is for the U.S market. A European spec M3 has individual throttle bodies (U.S cars do not) as well a higher redline and 80(!) more horsepower
Many believe that the reason the U.S didn’t get the high output euro-spec motor was that it wouldn’t meet U.S emissions requirements. While this is true, German carmakers have years of experience tuning an engine to meet U.S emissions with minimal power loss. The real roadblock was the U.S-only automatic transmission option
BMW insisted on having an automatic option for the U.S market – however, there were no gearboxes in their current parts bin that could handle the high RPM and powerband of the Euro engine (and shift smoothly). The only viable option was for engineers to reduce the RPM limits of the engine, and this meant throwing out the ITB setup (which was tuned specifically for the higher RPM). The resulting U.S spec 3.2L produces peak power @ 6000 RPM, which is something you’d expect from a pushrod V8 – not a DOHC inline six “M” powerplant
Key Model Year Changes:
First year of the 8.5″ wide rear wheel (previously 7.5″ all around)
All U.S E36 M3’s built after September 1997 are grouped together as the “final cars”. The changes made to these cars were extremely minor (cosmetic and options/feature related, such as standard armrest and new 2 way moon roof. Airbags were added as well. The 3 spoke steering wheel is used on cars built after 3/98)
There were no mechanical changes to the U.S M3 after 1996
*SAE rated from factory. May not reflect current output.
*Performance numbers pulled from either the factory brochure or reputable automotive road tests.
*Base price when new does not reflect original MSRP of this particular car, nor does it reflect what the original owner paid for it.
*Advertised price at time of posting. Sellers can raise or lower prices on their original ad at any time. Click on the original ad to view current price/availability.
Mileage Disclaimer: NOC has not confirmed if the mileage stated by the seller is true and accurate. It is up to the buyer to verify these claims. Vehicle history reports, service records stating mileage, and even inspections of odometer tampering are recommended.