Originally Posted by BRDHNTR
I was in the same boat as you at the end of last year. I ended up buying a fully done up E46 M3, and I must say it destroys the E92. I can't say it's cheaper than the E92 other than the tires seem to last longer, but the pads for the BBK are very expensive and so are the rotors. Then I also had to get a trailer since the car doesn't have cats, sound deadening, or even a stereo. Oh and the heavy springs and stiff suspension would destroy my back and bend my rims if I hit something. I thought that I would just save money by buying an already heavily modded car rather than a mostly stock one and doing my own mods, and in the end that might be true. However, in this case I have a non-streetable car, so you might want to get a fairly stock E36 or E46 so that you can still drive it to the track and have fun. I met two guys from NYC who have well street/track modified E46 M3's and they are stupid fast at the track. So, in the end remember that the best thing you can do to lower your lap times isn't a BBK or coilovers, it's seat time at the track with good instruction.
I just read your response and will assume that the two guys you are talking about are my good buddies. If not I apologize, but they fit your description.
I attached a pic as their cars are somewhat unique.
The E90 is a much better car then the E46, but it is significantly more expensive to operate. Consumables cost more and wear out quicker. I am considerably faster in my lightly modded E90. (coils, brakes, tires) then my friends in more highly modded E46's (Motons, Brakes, tires, Gears, Headers, weight reduction) As a point of reference we were equal in speed when I had a similarly prepped E46.
It all comes down to how much you want to spend and what the purpose of the car is.