BMW is on its fifth iteration of the M3 now, and there’s little question that the latest is the fastest and most capable. But to many, the E36 from the 1990s was one of the best. If you count yourself among them, this example could be your dream car.
It’s a 1995 M3 coupe, but not just any M3 coupe. It’s a factory Lightweight, one of just 125 made, and it’s just begging to be driven, and driven hard.
The E36 M3 Lightweight was, true to its name, stripped of some 225 pounds of excess weight. It had aluminum doors, manual cloth seats, less sound insulation, carbon-fiber trim, and no radio, sunroof, toolkit, or air conditioning. It also featured the wheels, aero kit, and suspension components, from the M3 GT. And the BMW M checkered flag decals to go with the rain-pattern upholstery, just to make it extra delicious.
This example was owned by two successive enthusiasts in Pennsylvania, the first of which traded in his ’89 Porsche 944 Turbo to buy it with a window sticker of $48,470. He put 51,524 miles on it before the second put on just 1,800 miles over the course of 12 years.
It shows a few small signs of wear, mostly cosmetic, and with 53,338 miles on the clock, the rare M3 Lightweight is listed for sale in Philadelphia for $110,000. That’d be enough to put you into a new M5 today (or two M2s, or an M3/M4 and an M240i) – but while either would likely run circles around this one, over twenty years later, we’re not sure they’d be as much fun to drive.