• Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the automatics are much more common. Which I find surprising.

      Prices are lower for them. Know of a few that have bought and converted to a 5 speed. Depends on how much you value your time. Looks like when done with the conversion prices are about the same.

      In Europe they got the cloth interior. I dislike leather seats very much and believe in the U.S. We only got leather.

  • Yes, they are out there. I've seen them as cheap as $5K and as much as $8.5K. They don't seem to be popular with the M3 crowd but they are out there.

    • Oddly, the M3 automatic worked quite well, they'd do part-throttle kickdowns and generally behave like a decent '69 GM Turbo 350 with a couple extra gears, at a time when BMW's other US-market automatics were calibrated to resist downshifts until you stomped the pedal through the floor and otherwise annoy the crap out of you.

      Nicer with a manual, true, but still not bad.

      Wonder what the conversion parts pricing looks like.

    • Kinda like the step-by-step writeup on converting my S6 to a 6-speed. The car is sitting stuffed to the brim with parts waiting for me to get it in the garage and work on it.

      Let me see if my nephew wants to do the legwork on finding an automatic, then I'll convert it for him…

  • Correction: The S50 was sold only with the first U.S. models, MY '95, with the S52 used '96-'99. Many purists scoff at the idea of the U.S.-spec E36 M3 being considered a true M-car, since it did not get the screamer Euro-spec motor with individual throttle bodies. I had a '97 4-door 5-speed — M3/4/5 — and loved it. Great performance and quite reliable for a 125K+ mile car. As with most modern BMWs, the cooling system can be a weak spot, but nothing that $350 in parts and a day (or a weekend working at my pace) can't fix.

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