The new, third generation of the BMW 3 Series with the BMW internal model name E36 was presented at the end of 1990 and immediately put on sale. Initially, the third generation of the 3 Series was only available as a sedan, then as a coupe and convertible, and finally as a touring.

All of the 6 cylinder engines that were built into the E36 series from the start were new developments. These had two camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The first engines (called M50) were at the beginning without VANOS (VANOS = variable camshaft control). Later these were replaced by the M52, which had a VANOS inlet).

The successor to the first BMW M3 E30, the BMW M3 E36, had already hit the market in 1992.

The feeling of the successor to the first M3 became more subtle, the body extensions, as they were still so striking on the predecessor model, were dispensed with and the rear spoiler war was no longer installed at the factory, as with the same capabilities of the predecessor.

The new model with now a three-liter in-line six-cylinder and 210 KW (286 PS) and 320 Nm torque with the engine designation S50B30, up to the facelift in 1996, was available from 80,000 DM Camshaft control), which was installed here together with the nun.For the first time, there was also the engine control system managed by BMW, which had a computing power of 20 million commands per second. If it was between 1800 and 2500 RPM, those early problems also had problems with the knock sensors. For this purpose there was later a new Eprom chip from BMW with a different software, in which the knock sensors were simply activated in the mapping in this speed range.

In contrast to its predecessor, the BMW M3 E36 was not only available as a coupe but also as a sedan and convertible right from the start.

In the spring of 1995 a special model, the E36 M3 GT, was also produced in a limited number of 356 copies. Compared to the series, this received an increase in output of 7 KW (10 HP and therefore developed 217 KW (296 HP). This was primarily achieved by 2 different camshafts. The connections of the vacuum hoses and various other connections on the intake manifold are different from the series engine of the E36 M3 .

In addition, the doors were not made of sheet metal, as in the series model, but of aluminum in order to make the vehicle lighter for competitive use by reducing weight. To improve the aerodynamics, the M3 GT E36 also received a 2-stage rear spoiler, which could be further increased by 2 spacers for competitions and extended by 2 so-called “Gruney Flaps” that can be glued on. However, these spacers and flaps were not permitted on public roads, which BMW also advised the buyer accordingly. In addition, there was a front splitter under the front bumper, which could be adjusted further forwards with bayonet locks if necessary, so the vehicle had a variable vehicle length entered in the vehicle registration document.

With one exception, this vehicle was only available in British Racing Green with the interior in Mexico Green and Alcantara black. A further 50 right-hand drive vehicles in this color combination were produced for the British market under the name M3 GT Individual, as well as another 50 right-hand drive vehicles with the name EVO Individual, which were only available in Imola red with red leather and black Alcantara. At that time, components of the facelift, also available from mid-1995, were already installed in these vehicles, so that these vehicles were hybrid models.

You can find detailed documentation and pictures of the BMW E36 M3 GT on our website under “Gallery” and “Restoration”, as we have also restored an E36 M3 GT, or directly under the following links:



In mid-1995 the facelift of the M3 E36 came onto the market, not only for the M3 but for all vehicles in the E36 series. These included the kidney plate and the BMW characteristic kidneys, the side indicators became smaller and the front and rear indicators were white.

From then on, the M3 not only received a more powerful engine (236 KW instead of 210 KW) with a displacement of 3.2 liters instead of 3.0 liters, but an SMG (sequential mechanical transmission), also called SMG 1, was also ordered from here , in which the gears were shifted up and down in a line and electromechanically by moving the shift lever forwards or backwards, possible for the first time. The clutch was operated electro-hydraulically and these vehicles no longer had a clutch pedal. This was the first time that the limit of 100 hp per liter of displacement was exceeded.

The M3 also received an increase in displacement by 200 cc to 3200 cc and another VANOS unit. These engines were launched under the designation S50B32.

At the same time, the “E36 M3 Light Weight” was manufactured in a limited number of 126 copies for the American market. You can find detailed documentation here on our website in our block, or simply here under the following link:

There was also a prototype of the BMW E36 Art Car, which was painted by the artist Sandro Chia.

However, this vehicle had a 4 cylinder engine with 4 valves per cylinder and 2494 ccm displacement and conducted 370 hp with which the vehicle reached a top speed of 300 km / h.

A total of 71,242 vehicles (including all special models) of the M3 E36 were built. Of these, 46,693 were coupe models, 12,114 convertibles and 12,435 sedans, including 24,656 coupes (of which right-hand drive 3,152), convertibles 1975 (of which right-hand drive 572) and 1,835 sedans (of which 552 right-hand drive) were built with the 3 liter engine.

With the 3.2 liter engine, 22,037 coupe models (of which 2107 right-hand drive), convertible 10,139 (of which right-hand drive 2,107) and 10,600 sedans (of which right-hand drive 694) were built. All special series such as the GT er Lightweight and the special models for the United Kingdom are included in the figures.