Some cars that are like the M3, but without the huge price tag
If the BMW M3 is your dream car but you wish it costed a bit less, then these M3 alternatives could be perfect for you. They have the very same potential to leave you grinning from ear to ear after every twisty turn but all at a price that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re a fan of the new M3, or a traditionalist who dreams of having an E30 M3, these bargain alternatives could offer exactly what you’re looking for at a much more affordable price.
Although the Cayman is a completely different car when compared to the M3, it can still be an alternative to consider for some. Not only can it offer the same kind of driving experience, doing 0-60 mph in around 5 seconds and having a top speed of about 170 mph, but they can be great bargains!
Unlike the M3, the Porsche Cayman can be found for under £15,000 in bountiful supply. Sure, it only has two seats and virtually no cargo room, but that could just be spun as a positive thing – it makes it feel sportier!
Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG
Don’t let this rear-wheel drive beast pass you by, because for as little as £9,000 you could own an AMG that’s incredibly stylish and almost as fast as the current M3. Although it may not be as pretty as the modern range of AMGs, the CLK55 still looks like a force to be reckoned with and offers a similar amount of space and luxury as an M3.
For the ridiculously small price of this German classic, what’s not to love?
Nissan 200SX (Silvia)
If you’re looking for a real bargain, look no further than the 200SX. For those that wish for nothing more than for the E30 M3 to not cost an arm and a leg, the 200SX could be best alternative that you haven’t considered. Known for its bulletproof SR20DET engine and surprisingly fantastic handling, this little tuner is basically made for drifting and spirited driving.
If you’re handy at tuning, you really can’t find a better RWD rig to work on for such a low price than this jdm cult classic.
Mitsubishi Evo / Subaru WRX STI
Often an overlooked alternative option, these two AWD Japanese beauties can offer a similar package to the M3 and save you some money at the same time. Both the Evo and the Impreza offer spacious back seats, reasonable boot space and astonishing speed and handling. They may not have the same luxury feel or reputation to them as the BMW, but a brand new WRX STI will only cost you around £35,000 whereas a new M3 will cost you no less than £50,000.
If it’s the racecar-performance you’re after and you’re not too bothered about the prestige of a Bimmer badge, then consider an Evo or WRX STI.
BMW E92 335i
If none of the above mentioned take your fancy, there’s no need to feel like you’ve run out of alternatives. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to compromise on. If you’re not too bothered about insane speed, you could settle for a standard BMW E92 335i which are great bargains on the used market. You’ll get the same BMW quality you’d expect from the manufacturers of the “ultimate driving machines” but have a little less power to play with.
In fact, if you’re willing to pay for some modifications to be made, your little 3 series can soon become a real contender for any M3s on the road. Getting a good remap and adding an air intake alone will probably take you halfway there. Even as stock, this cool coupe has almost 300 lb of torque at only 1200rpm so it’s not going to feel slow by anyone’s standards.
However, even with all the bargain alternatives in the world, sometimes nothing beats the real thing. If you know what you want and your heart is set on it, there’s just nothing you can do but buy the car you’ve dreamed of. The BMW M3 is a mighty machine that combines luxury, power, style, prestige and practicality all into one and sometimes, it can be impossible to find something that does the same thing for less money.