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Discussion Starter #1
I think i'm just tired of worrying if/when something is going to break. I've had my 1995 M3 for 8 months now, have yet to track it, and dont know if i want to keep it. Love how my 93 GT starts right up every time, even after sitting for 6 months at a time. M3 seems to be that super hot GF that takes your money just because she is present.

Basically i'm looking for people with E36 and SN95 Cobra experience, that also lightly track their cars, to chime in. Either remindi me that its an M3 and its worth the price of admision to have such a well rounded car, or tell me to sell the thing and get in the "more economical" choice that'll be just as fast for my needs/wants.

PS: I'm also 6'7" and dont fit that great in the M3... test fitting recaro SRDs this weekend but if that doesnt work then the SRDs will go great in a cobra :)
 

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If you like the way the E36 M3's feel you'll be disappointed with the SN95 Cobras. A New Edge Cobra or '03/'04 Mach 1 is a better alternative to the E36's than the SN95's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
while i do like the steering and brake feel of my E36, i just commute to work and go on weekend cruises with the car most of the time. I prefer the look of SN95 cobras to the Mach1/terminator cars and they're cheaper to get into.
 

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I've typed and deleted a response several times and I'm having a hard time conveying my thoughts. I have a 96 GT which, sans motor, is essentially the same or better than a Cobra and a relatively stock 97 M3 sedan, the only changes that have been made are Bilstein PSS9s and a Remus exhaust.

The cars each have a completely different feel; the M3 is more composed and fluid, however the mustang is a little more raw (mostly in regards to NVH) which doesn't bother me at all, and in some respects adds to its value. I have yet to drive the M3 on track, but based upon street manners I would not expect anything different. The mustang is a blast on track because it makes relatively no power for its weight (~210hp) and performs well for what it is. The consumables (pads, rotors, etc.) are relatively cheap (mostly because the car struggles to hit triple digits on big straights, i.e. VIR) and are easy to swap. Since installing some newer suspension components (Griggs coil overs front and rear, control arms, etc.) the car should feel a lot better, but I haven't had time to get on track since.

Since I've already spent more than I care to tally up on the Mustang I don't see myself getting rid of it anytime soon. The same can be said for the M3; the car is just fun to drive because it does everything well in stock form. I eventually want to do wheel-to-wheel racing, so I'm going to stick with the Mustang for track purposes, but I'd have 0 problems using the BMW on track. However if I were using the car only for HPDE and maybe a Time Trial the M3 would win out. It would be a car that I could drive to and from the track without sacrificing anything.

Would I sell my M3 to buy a Cobra? Not a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What kind of recaros do u have in ur GT and how much lower/further back do they sit? Are you using factory recaro sliders?
 

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I have an old SRD in the driver's side and a Sport in the passenger side. Both are on Wedge brackets and what I assume are the factory Recaro sliders. I'm 6'0" and have a sufficient space in the driver's side and have a little more room to slide back, but not a lot as I have a roll bar. I am somewhat cramped when I ride in the passenger side; not really enough space to stretch my legs out and if I bring them towards me my knees will touch the dash. I haven't had stock seats in the car in a while (I had a pair of Corbeaus in the car prior to the Recaros) but I do know it sits lower; by how much I could not say.
 

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Having driven several E36 M3's and more SN95 Cobras than I can count on a road course, there's no comparison between the M3 and any Mustang, prepped or not. The M3 is MUCH more capable. Plus, there's almost as much aftermarket support for the M3 as for the Mustang. I wouldn't be any more concerned about maintaining, repairing, or modifying the E36 M3 than I would be the Cobra.

Given the choice between the M3 and the Cobra, I'd opt for the M3 almost any time. It's simply a better car in almost all respects.
 

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What would you like to do with the car? A M3 is pretty much better at everything compared to '79 fairmont with a body kit. It does cost more to own, but I would say you get what you pay for. If you want a track whore, I'd get something cheap with RWD (fox cars are great for this). If you want a drivable street car, I'd stick with the M3 between those two choices, but there are tons of other cars that are fun to drive around on the street too.
 

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Fox, SN95, New Edge mustangs all handle pretty much the same, like crap. You can get them to perform really well, but it takes a lot of money. The M3 is better in every way. But if I were you I'd sell all three cars and buy a C5 Z06.
 

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My ol' 97 Cobra has been a great car. It was a daily driver/drag car for a few years. At 103K miles I started Open tracking it. It handles well enough to have fun. I even won my time trial class last year ( mostly because I made every event ). I've averaged about 15 HPDE days a year for the last 4 years, and have never returned from the track on a tow truck.

A few negatives, the 4V engine and parts are expensive. You learn far more about brakes than you really want to. And to keep up with the BMW's and pesky spec miata's you have to run real stiff springs and R-compound tires, which start messing with your routine street driving.
 

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A buddy of mine with a '98 M3 with all the suspension bells and whistles is about 4 seconds per lap slower (Road Atlanta) than my '98 Cobra with a full MM suspension. He is a BMWCCA instructor, so I assume he knows how to drive the thing. That said, if I were going to spend any time on the street, I would go with the M3 for sure.
 

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I have a 91 mustang gt with full mm and basically 250whp. Both my brothers have 328 with springs and shocks. There cars arnt that fast(strait line), and if i could only choose 1 I would pick the mustang, but my next car would be a e36 bmw. These are my 2 favorite cars in the world. Knowing u already have a mustang, keep the m3.

Side note. I am 6 foot and with a helmet my head almost hits the ciling in the bmw, by my brother is 6'3" and his head has to be cocked with a helment, so im guessing there is no chance u can wear a helmet and drive the bmw.
 

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If you are talking out of the box, the BMW is probably the way to go...

If you have a couple grand, I would for sure do the cobra.

I love my 96 cobra, it is a much better built car in every imagineable way (other than maybe weight) than a fox, and this is coming from a 10+ year fox owner.
 

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There are plenty of mods for the E36 M3 and especially because yours is the last year of OBD1. You can do a lot with that computer and also follow the aftermarket parts with them just like the Mustangs. Would I sell one to get a 94-98 Cobra? Probably not if I drove it every day. The big thing on the M cars is routine maintenance. That particular year and model M3 is pretty sought after in the BMW crowd. They were a well built chassis, light compared to the late models, computer mods are easy for hp upgrades through 1995, and a lot of aftermarket parts are made for them.

Luke, it has to be a matter of taste. I've driven a fully MM prepped 96 Cobra and the power band of the motor just wasn't as fun to me as 5.0. The one thing you didn't do to your LX (the TA) would have sealed the deal for you. But, you're pretty chatty about this Cobra, so I'm sure you're happy with it. The 94-98's just aren't for me.
 

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that really would be a tough choice... It all depends on personal taste. I'veridden in a few m3's and really liked them. for me, the nearly constant (and sometimes) expensive maintenance routines were the killer for me. it's been the main reason I've never owned a car of that marquee. If you are already cramped, the seat will just be a band-aid. you'll still feel cramped at some point. besides, if that car already has a set me 'vader" seats, you reallyaren't going to find a much more comfy seat.

the cobra has a lot of potential, but that requires some commitment to mods, and deciding how much nvh you can/will tolerate. a mustang with 800-1000# springs up front doesn't exactly side like a cadillac, but it isn't unbearable. I've been on 8hr road trips in my H&r Race sprung gt, and made it home with nary a concern or issue.

On mods, the modular cars are almost exponentially more expensive when it comes to engine mods than the windsor-based cars the linear feel to the modular is kind of eerie at first, but itdelivers power so smoothly, it almost feels effortless. On the other hand, the grunt of that tried and true windsor is something every car nut should experience, and the brakes and better suspension geometry make for almost the cake, and you can eat it too!

On a side note, they both sound so sexy with the right exhaust!

disclaimer: if this post appears to be ramblings of an exhausted college student, it is because that's exactly what it is. Finals week sucks donkey genitals. sorry for whoring up your thread-carry on.
 

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what are these expensive routine matinence cost your talking about. My brothers 3 series rarley brake and its usually somthing easy to figure out. Maybe they are just lucky.
 

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Maximum, the E36's can survive pretty well without the regular maintenance suggested by BMW. The M motors need to have the valves adjusted and timing belt changed at certain mileages. The E46 bodystyle isn't as forgiving because the motor has over 100hp per liter. That motor is something that really should have the maintenance done on the schedule suggested by BMW. It's a matter of the car being much more reliable long term with that correct maintenance. The E36 should have it's maintenance if you want the car to be trouble free a majority of its life span. If you use the dealer for the recommended service it gets expensive very quick. There are smaller shops that can do the service but I would do some research on the small independent shops before taking my M3 to them. Racers Edge is here local to me and they have a shop for Porsche's and BMW's with friends of mine who used to work at BMW and Porsche dealerships as techs. That's the kind of place I'd want to take my M3.
 

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I have a DD & "light" open track Cobra. I've driven a few M3s on the street and one on the track.
Yeah, no comparison stock or nearly stock.
I wouldn't want to commute in an older M3 for damn sure. But if you want a really capable Stang it means the full rig from Max Motorsports or Griggs and you've lost the "commuterness" of the Cobra.
Otherwise, I can't say I've seen a Mustang break at the track. I've seen a couple M3s have major issues. They're built kinda at the ragged edge and that means it won't be as realiable as any near stock car.
For a DD the Cobra is better; for OT the M3. Which is more important?
 
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