The E46 M3 is Going Down as One of the Great BMW M3 Ever Made. Why You Should Buy One.
The BMW E46 M3 is a great sports car, and probably the best one ever made by BMW. There you go, I wrote it. The last E46 M3 came off the assembly line 10 years ago (2006), and with so many E46 M3 on the second hand market, this is the best time to buy one, if you’re looking for a sports car.
The BMW E46 M3 came with a high-revving inline-6 engine that produced 333 hp and 262-lb of torque, which even in today’s standards are great numbers. Power was delivered thru a 6-speed manual or semi-automatic known as SMG. This translate to outstanding performance and handling, which are keys to the E46 M3’s success.
But if you want to know all about the E46 M3, you can read our outline on the car here, but if you want the reasons you should buy the car, start reading below:
- Looks. Hands down the BMW E46 M3 has the looks of what a M3 should look like. Flared fenders, check. Power bulge, check. Dual exhaust tips. Yes. Aggressive front dam, side skirts, and rear diffuser? Yes to all. Side grilles like a shark? Yes, yes, yes. All of these design items are now common base for all predecessor BMW M3 including the the F80 M3/M4 that is sold today. But the original gangster BMW E46 M3 will be known as the one to bring it first.
- Power. Again 333 hp coming from the inline 6 engine known as the S54. Revs all the way to 7,900 rpms and the bulk of the power range comes after 5,000 rpm. If you want to know what a magical engine feels like, drive this car and you’re see for yourself. They won’t make an engine like this ever again.
- Handling. The car just drives like BMWs of old. That means the chassis is configured straight from the factory to be a great handler on the road and on the track. With current cars, they come with so many electronic do-dads, that you configure your car like a video game. But back in the old days, BMW was so good at setting the car exactly like any sports enthusiast would want – a great driving machine (hmmm, sounds familiar that saying, no?)
- Price. With so many E46 M3 out there, you can pick one up as low as $10,000.00 USD. Now these are usually the ones with the SMG transmission, convertible top and tons of miles. But you can also find a coupe with a proper 6-speed manual and low miles as well. You just got to pay alot more for it. Some mint E46 M3s now go for brand new pricing.
- BMW Forums. There are so many dedicated online forums for the BMW E46 M3, that you can find whatever information you need, or fix or just answers to questions you may have. The best part of the online community is that they basically have been thru the same issues that any future owner will go thru, so you can gather all the best experiences from other owner’s posts.
- DIY. The E46 M3 is the last of the analog BMWs. This means you can actually do alot of fixing yourself or as they say DIY (do-it-yourself). And the forums offer tons of useful DIY info.
- Track star. The E46 M3 is a perfect car for autocross or HPDE (High-Speed Driving Events). Get some good summer tires, and you are all set to go.
- A huge ecosystem. Because the enthusiast market has embraced the E46 M3, there are so many manufacturers and part makers who make all sorts of gear for the E46 M3. This is from wheels, to tires, suspension parts to even cosmetic pieces like headlights with modern LCDs. Whatever you want, you can buy it for your E46 M3. A huge ecosystem is key, if you want to up-keep your car.
- Comfort. You can use the E46 M3 as your daily driver. That is how versatile and comfortable the car is. This was originally based upon a 2+2 sports coupe, with a trunk. And while the performance was upgraded via the M way, you basically still get the usability of a sports coupe.
- Appreciation. Not all E46 M3 will be future classics but certain models/specs will become collectible cars. We’ll talking about the European old CSL and nicely optioned USA based Competition Package (ZCP) models. The ZCP E46 M3 was sold in the US between 2005 and 2006. If you have a nicely optioned car with low miles, it will appreciate like crazy. We’ll talk fabric sport seats, a sunroof delete, and of course the 6-speed manual. But even if you don’t have one of these cars, the E46 M3 will aways appreciate in the hearts of car enthusiast.