The Details

BMW E36 M3 Evolution




  • Mileage: 54,177
  • Year: 1996
  • MOT Expiry: November 2018
  • Exterior Colour: Techno Violet Metallic (299)
  • Interior Colour: Light Grey Nappa Leather (N5TT)
  • Top speed: 155
  • 0-60mph: 5.3
  • BHP: 317
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
  • Engine Capacity: 3201cc
  • Engine Configuration: Straight 6

Model History

For the 1996 model year, BMW M replaced the E36 M3 3-litre with the faster and more refined 3.2-litre version. For the European market, this model was fitted with the new S50 B32 engine, an evolution of the S50 B30, as well as a six-speed manual gearbox and refinements to the chassis. The car was also treated to a few cosmetic alterations.

To better distinguish the 3.2-litre E36 M3 from its 3-litre predecessor, BMW GB marketed the E36 M3 3.2 as the M3 Evolution within the United Kingdom. Aside from its right-hand drive configuration, it was mechanically and cosmetically identical to other European-spec 3.2-litre M3s.

When creating the 3.2-litre M3 engine, the BMW M division relied upon much of the experience it had gained when designing the V12 engine for the McLaren F1 supercar. In the end, the S50 B32 incorporated the following improvements over the S50 B30 engine used in the original Euro-spec E36 M3: Increased bore to 86.4mm (from 86.0mm) and lengthened stroke to 91.0mm (from 85.8mm) for a total capacity of 3,201cc (from 2,990cc), Increased compression ratio to 11.3:1 (from 10.8:1), Advanced BMW/Siemens MSS50 engine management system able to compute 20 million instructions per second, Double VANOS continuously variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust strokes, Lightweight pistons, Improved dual-mass flywheel, Graphite-coated conrods, Larger inlet valves, More efficient intake and exhaust systems, and a secondary oil pump pickup. The result of these changes boosted horsepower from 286hp at 7,000 rpm to 321hp at 7,400 rpm. Maximum torque also increased from 236 lb/ft at 3,600 rpm to 258 lb/ft at 3,250 rpm. This was the first street-legal BMW engine to achieve over 100hp per litre.

Although there were four different transmissions used on 3.2-litre M3s worldwide, European-spec models had either a Getrag six-speed manual transmission, or the later Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) that used the same internals. All 3.2-litre M3s equipped with a manual gearbox (including SMG) used a shorter 3.23:1 final drive and limited slip differential.

All 3.2-litre E36 M3s incorporated the following chassis revisions compared to the 3.0-litre version: Revised suspension geometry with increased front castor, Firmer springs and shocks, Stronger wheel hubs, Front anti-roll bar linked to struts for lighter weight, and a quicker steering ratio.

A total of just 2,845 European-spec RHD cars were produced between January 1996 and December 1998.


Sports leather steering wheel (255), Green stripe windscreen (354), Electric rear vent windows (362), Electric tilt/slide sunroof (401), Warning Triangle (428), Anti-dazzle rear-view mirror (431), Adjustable rear headrests (498), Automatic air conditioning (534), On-board computer (554), Radio preparation (687), Wood trim (773), M double-spoke wheels (783), England Version (812), Rear spoiler, BMW mud flaps, Alloy spare wheel, Fire extinguisher, Spare key, Valet key.


The dazzling Techno Violet paintwork looks marvellous against the sharp lines of the E36 M3. The body retains a superb, glassy finish with a deep metallic flake on close inspection. Glancing along both sides all of the panels remain true with no unsightly dings to speak of. There are zero scuffs to be found, and all lenses are free from any cracks or moisture damage. The radiant paintwork is complemented perfectly by the subtle black trim laced throughout the exterior.


Once inside, the cabin appears bright and airy. The light grey Nappa leather upholstery looks especially welcoming against the Techno Violet, and is further contrasted by lashings of glossy wood trim. The M Design sport seats with integrated headrests, often referred to as ‘Vader' seats, remain perfectly supportive with only the lightest of wear to the deep bolsters. The leather still feels soft to the touch and is free from any notable marking. Commonly worn areas such as the steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake also show little signs of use.


The engine bays remains in good, clean condition. At the first turn of the key the 3.2-litre straight-six fires into life, idling correctly up to temperature with a smooth engine note. The five-speed manual gearbox feels perfectly tight and precise, providing smooth gear changes and commanding the engines power perfectly. A marque specialist has just carried out an Inspection II service at the current mileage of 54k.


Lepsons have done another incredible job of refurbishing the M3's 17-inch wheels. The forged M double-spoke alloys retain their factory-correct polished faces and present impeccably throughout along with brand new genuine centre caps and M badges. They are shod in good quality tyres all round and a matching alloy spare wheel can be found beneath the boot carpet. On test the brakes do a good job of pulling the car to a halt quickly and in a straight line.

History File

The M3 was first registered in May 1996. It was supplied new by Wollaston Motors Ltd and has covered just 54k miles to date. Despite its low mileage the car is accompanied by a great maintenance record, and has just been serviced at the current mileage by a marque specialist. The history file is complete with the dealer-supplied leather M document pack, MOT certificates, various invoices from over the years, and an original sales brochure and price list. The service entries are as follows:

Running-in service
4,634 miles
14,586 miles
20,867 miles
27,692 miles
36,462 miles
46,780 miles
53,977 miles
54,177 miles

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