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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've whittled my list down to just 3......... anyone have any experience with these 3 cars? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night, I'll be happy when all is settled and whatever I end up with is home in the garage! So here's the list..........

E36 M3's:

Pros: L6 motor, plenty of aftermarket parts, easier to work on, RWD, inexpensive
Cons: kinda slow in comparison in stock form at least.

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/1987872074.html

http://charlotte.craigslist.org/cto/1977571748.html

WIKI highlights:
3.0 L 24-valve DOHC inline-six engine with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS) and 305 N•m (225 lb•ft), a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time in about six seconds.
The 1996-1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, still with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS) , but torque increases to 320 N•m (240 lb•ft)

E39 M5's:

Pros: V8 low end torque, shock factor, 4 seater, luxurious, 0-60 in less than 4.5 seconds, doesn't need any mods.
Cons: Expensive parts, very complex/hard to work on,

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2000...0505108?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item35acb05994

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2003...0965525?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3cb1334715

WIKI highlights:

The E39 M5 had a highly tuned V8 engine based on the M62 engine called the S62, which displaced 4.9 litres and produced 294 kW (400 PS; 394 bhp). The engine featured a 7000 rpm redline, Double-VANOS, which varies the intake and exhaust valves for both cylinder banks, and individual throttle butterflies for each of the cylinders, allowing for a much faster engine response time, which was offset by the slower electronic throttles.

The official BMW of North America statement (mentioned in the 2003 brochure) for the acceleration time from 0-60 mph is 4.8s. Official statements from BMW are typically conservative and many reviewers claim to have achieved this under 4.5 seconds. It is electronically limited to a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph)[3], making it the fastest 4-door saloon in the world at the time it was manufactured. Once delimited, top speeds of 301 km/h (187 mph) indicated and 290 km/h (180 mph) actual speed are possible.

C5 Corvettes:

Pros: fast, plenty of aftermarket support, RWD, handling, doesn't need any mods
Cons: Pretty common and obvious, 2-seater

http://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/1944014797.html

http://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/1919101329.html

WIKI highlights:

A composite of published performance numbers for the base-model coupé and convertible gives a 0-60 mph time of around 4.7 seconds, and a standing quarter-mile time of around 13.2 seconds at 109 mph (both times for a vehicle equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission).
In contrast to the reputation of high-performance vehicles for poor fuel economy, the C5 achieves comparatively high EPA ratings of 18/25 mpg (city/highway) with the automatic transmission and 19/28 with the manual transmission…………relatively light weight of the C5 (a curb weight under 3,300 lb (1,500 kg)
 

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I can give some insight to all except for the M5 which I have not driven.

I drove my friends 2000 C5 6mt a month or so ago.

It feels BIG. The way it shifts, it feels like an heavy handed muscle car. It certainly moves well for stock. The interior is pretty bad. If you want to go fast for cheap, the LSX is the way to go. They are also a dime a dozen.

The E36 is faster than you think(6 seconds to 60 is on the slow side, most had it at 5.4). They are a low trapping car, about 100mph stock which will be down 5-6mph compared to a C5. But they are still high 13 second cars. The S52 takes on boost like a mofo, the sky is the limit. Alternatives are the same drivetrain in a M Coupe or Roadster. The Coupe is the stiffest BMW made. Friend with just the intake swap and 3.73 gears ran 13.2 at 103mph on street tires. That's about stock C5 fast.

The M5 is sex. But it's a heavy tank of a car. Really great if you want a fast sedan, but if you don't need the practicality, why such a big car? I am also fearful of maintenance costs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the insight!...

As much as I'd love to have that M5, it may be fading off the list... it is big, but damn it's fast! I like things a little different. I go up to Greer every year for eurofest and drive the new BMW's on the test tracks.... actually that's coming up soon!! Mid month!! :D I think the cost factor, initial and maintenance, on the M5 is going to end up steering me clear. I've driven E46 and E92 M3's, also e36 325's, and from what I've read, the added initial costs and maintenance costs of the E46 isn't worth the $$$ for what you get above the e36, so that puts me back to the E36. Plus I love straight 6 motors. Then the Corvette, I've had LS1 cars and love that motor. But the Corvette is a Corvette....it's expected to be fast........ Maybe I'll bring some cash to eurofest this year and see whose got what for sale, they always have a nice car lot up there.
 

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Thanks for the insight!...

As much as I'd love to have that M5, it may be fading off the list... it is big, but damn it's fast! I like things a little different. I go up to Greer every year for eurofest and drive the new BMW's on the test tracks.... actually that's coming up soon!! Mid month!! :D I think the cost factor, initial and maintenance, on the M5 is going to end up steering me clear. I've driven E46 and E92 M3's, also e36 325's, and from what I've read, the added initial costs and maintenance costs of the E46 isn't worth the $$$ for what you get above the e36, so that puts me back to the E36. Plus I love straight 6 motors. Then the Corvette, I've had LS1 cars and love that motor. But the Corvette is a Corvette....it's expected to be fast........ Maybe I'll bring some cash to eurofest this year and see whose got what for sale, they always have a nice car lot up there.
I hear you on the M5. I pulled along one last week with the loudest exhaust I have ever heard on a street Euro. We gave each other the nod.

The E46 just doesn't do it for me, it's heavy and complex and diluted compared to the earlier cars.

The E36 has a lot going for it. The Corvette is pretty hard to ignore too. The C5 looks like a more modern car. But I just found it felt BIG. I long for the day when the Vette gets the kind of interior care that goes into the CTS. A C6 with the interior of the CTS-V Coupe, yummy.

Any thought to the idea of the GTO in place of the C5?
 

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The M5 does not drive as big as you might think, although they are probably one of the heaviest E39 configurations. I don't have much E39 M5 experience, but I can tell you that in general the E39 chassis is pretty nice, and the interior quality far exceeds the E36, especially if you have the sport package (or have an M5). Personally I'd like my E39 525 that is pretty stripped down to be fitted with a E36 M3 motor. Keep the light weight and simplicity of my variant of the E39, but still have the power of an M3. It would end up being pretty close to the same weight too.

I'd likely avoid the M variant as a daily driver, due to the complexity of the 8 throttle body setup and all that goes with it on the S62 motor. But the rest of the car is really not overly complex. Like the US Market E36 M3 the motor does not require valve adjustments due to hydraulic lifters, so that is one bonus. Although, there can be lots of electronic gizmos and features, really no worse than a 9000 or 9-5 though. They are still cars that you can do a lot of the dirty work yourself.

My pick for a daily based on those 3 choices would be a E36 M3, personally I'd get mine in a 4 door configuration. I'd get the M5 if I had another car to put most of my miles on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Any thought to the idea of the GTO in place of the C5?
Yes... the 05 and 06's have the LS6..... pretty hard to find an un-bastardized one though for a decent price. If I happen to stumble on a nice one though, it'd be tough to pass up.

So for now, I'm leaning towards the E36 M3..... I can envision down the road forcing some air down it's throat.... :D Then I'd have the RWD beast I'm longing for! And in this case, I don't have to wait to sell my car first to get it, seems like there are some nice one's for around 8k or so....... though they'll have to fight for my garage space until someone buys my Saab.....

Thanks again for the info fellas.....

You guys seem to be BMW fans, you should try and make it to Eurofest this year, you'll drive new M5's, M3's, 335i's, even the X5 if you want to on all of their tracks....helluva good time! www.euroautofestival.com
 

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Yes... the 05 and 06's have the LS6..... pretty hard to find an un-bastardized one though for a decent price. If I happen to stumble on a nice one though, it'd be tough to pass up.

So for now, I'm leaning towards the E36 M3..... I can envision down the road forcing some air down it's throat.... :D Then I'd have the RWD beast I'm longing for! And in this case, I don't have to wait to sell my car first to get it, seems like there are some nice one's for around 8k or so....... though they'll have to fight for my garage space until someone buys my Saab.....

Thanks again for the info fellas.....

You guys seem to be BMW fans, you should try and make it to Eurofest this year, you'll drive new M5's, M3's, 335i's, even the X5 if you want to on all of their tracks....helluva good time! www.euroautofestival.com
You mean Ls2 :p

The E36 has so many options out there. I have actually seen high 12's with NA bolt ons and my shop has a 9 second boosted one. So many great parts out there. I just picked up an RMS stage 2 blower for $1500 which is a steal considering it retailed for $6000. It will net me about 400-420whp and low 12's at about 114mph. I will have less than $2000 in go fast goodies in this car, so that's good bang for the buck.
 

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Yes... the 05 and 06's have the LS6..... pretty hard to find an un-bastardized one though for a decent price. If I happen to stumble on a nice one though, it'd be tough to pass up.
LS2 actually. The LS6 is a Gen III motor from the first CTS-V. The LS2 is the Gen IV motor. Same max hp/tq, but much more power lower down in the rev range.

What is your price range?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
got me!... Too much thinking about corvette's, camaros, gto's...LSx motors...

I want to stay under 16K, but I can't go that high until I sell my car...... 11k max if I haven't sold my car yet.......

Of course I love having a convertible, even though it detracts from performance....mine's pretty much used all year round here in the depths of hell........ this one looks interesting, I wish people would learn how to post decent pics though!

http://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/1948797806.html

this looks decent too...
http://charleston.craigslist.org/cto/1978771922.html

and this one.........
http://hickory.craigslist.org/cto/1961033147.html
 

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got me!... Too much thinking about corvette's, camaros, gto's...LSx motors...

I want to stay under 16K, but I can't go that high until I sell my car...... 11k max if I haven't sold my car yet.......

Of course I love having a convertible, even though it detracts from performance....mine's pretty much used all year round here in the depths of hell........ this one looks interesting, I wish people would learn how to post decent pics though!

http://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/1948797806.html

this looks decent too...
http://charleston.craigslist.org/cto/1978771922.html
Verts seem to depreciate more. I would not pay $10k for an E36 with over 100k. Much better cars can be found for that money.

edit: That red sedan was the nicest of the 3.
 

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Hey Jeremy, here are my thoughts on a few of these choices as I looked indepth at them all in my own search:

E39 M5: this is one of the best jack of all trades cars I have every driven; it is a very comfortable highway and cruising car in everyway and yet has another side which is a sharp, high performance sports sedan. I drove one multiple times (2001) and it was amazing how well it could do both, plus you get all the amenities plus a whole lot of performance. The thing that lost my interest though are the vanos issues, somewhat weak clutches, and high oil consumption (although mostly on the earlier models in 1999 and 2000).

GTO: I drove a couple of these (2005/6 ls2) and came extremely close to buying one. They are super comfortable, making a great highway car but they also have another side to them which is surprisingly quick straightline bruiser. For the most part, they are pretty bullet proof and reliable which is a big plus in my book. However, I was kind of turned off by the handling; it was pretty wallowy and soft, almost feeling like it was not able to match the 400hp and I felt like I would have to make a significant investment to get the suspension up to par. Upgradability is endless on those cars though.

E36 M3: my favorite of them all, it feels so focused and raw which makes for a really gratifying driving experience. You will feel downright slow in it after getting out of the ng900 though haha. You just have to drive one to see how it feels but the other perks are good reliability, big aftermarket support, great handling, and they are well within your budget.

Just make sure to check the rear shock towers for re-inforcements because they are know to tear apart on the e36 chassis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The thing that lost my interest though are the vanos issues, somewhat weak clutches.....
Yep, they seem to need clutch changes often....though not as often as mine!

GTO: I drove a couple of these (2005/6 ls2) and came extremely close to buying one. They are super comfortable, making a great highway car but they also have another side to them which is surprisingly quick straightline bruiser. For the most part, they are pretty bullet proof and reliable which is a big plus in my book. However, I was kind of turned off by the handling; it was pretty wallowy and soft, almost feeling like it was not able to match the 400hp and I felt like I would have to make a significant investment to get the suspension up to par. Upgradability is endless on those cars though.
The build quality seems better than usual on these GTO's... I'll keep my eyes out for a nice example!

Thanks for chiming in!
 

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GTO: I drove a couple of these (2005/6 ls2) and came extremely close to buying one. They are super comfortable, making a great highway car but they also have another side to them which is surprisingly quick straightline bruiser. For the most part, they are pretty bullet proof and reliable which is a big plus in my book. However, I was kind of turned off by the handling; it was pretty wallowy and soft, almost feeling like it was not able to match the 400hp and I felt like I would have to make a significant investment to get the suspension up to par. Upgradability is endless on those cars though.
That's a pretty good description overall. Out of the box, these cars need suspension. Not as bad as Viggens need suspension, but I've ridden in a GTO with full Pedders and it's night and day.

Now, the problem with that is you've broken part of the car - it's no longer the super comfortable highway cruiser. There isn't really a happy medium, it's either docile and a bit frumpy, or sporty and very harsh. I chose to keep mine stock, as sometimes people ride with me in my car. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Now, the problem with that is you've broken part of the car - it's no longer the super comfortable highway cruiser. There isn't really a happy medium, it's either docile and a bit frumpy, or sporty and very harsh. I chose to keep mine stock, as sometimes people ride with me in my car. ;)
I'm feeling the same way, have regretted dropping my vert since day 1...

Luxury package replaces the Vader seats which are some of the best OEM seats you can find. You can get heated/power Vaders too.
that sucks.....but I'd bet the Vader's will drop right in and plug in too! (unlike the Viggen seats in my 97se)!!:rolleyes:
 

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e39 M5. Aero93 owns one and that thing is a BEAST. Drive every car you're considering many times and go for the best value. You can't really go wrong with any of them.

Also, have you considered a B5 or B6 S4? The B5 twin-turbo alone can be an absolute monster. Just a chip on a stock car brings hp/tq both over 300. At your price point, you could probably get a very well sorted car that already has a great number of performance mods. As long as the turbos are good, the engine and trannys are almost bulletproof....they can take 400-500hp better than most. Good luck on your search!
 

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e39 M5. Aero93 owns one and that thing is a BEAST. Drive every car you're considering many times and go for the best value. You can't really go wrong with any of them.

Also, have you considered a B5 or B6 S4? The B5 twin-turbo alone can be an absolute monster. Just a chip on a stock car brings hp/tq both over 300. At your price point, you could probably get a very well sorted car that already has a great number of performance mods. As long as the turbos are good, the engine and trannys are almost bulletproof....they can take 400-500hp better than most. Good luck on your search!
I am sorry, the B5 scares me away lol. I would buy a CPO'd one. Or buy one if I was fine with doing upgraded turbos and maintenance 100% myself.
 
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