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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:15 PM
RGBiMMER RGBiMMER is offline
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e46 questions

I have a new 335i sedan, but ever since I got it, I have had an itch to buy an M3 as a weekend/track car. I have heard that the e90 is so perfect that its not that fun to drive unless you are going 120 around the track. I like the fact the e46 is lighter in weight and actually has a dipstick. Might be the last non-robotic M3 ever made and I think it will be a collector car someday. Anyone have an opinon on the e46? Were there any major issues with certain years? Would an E36 be a better option?
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  #2  
Old 02-29-2012, 07:25 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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The major issue with the E46 3-Series in general (including the M3) seems to be subframe cracks (see this link as well for an example); you'll want to do a thorough pre-buy inspection for that sort of thing. If I'm not mistaken, that applies to the E36 3-Series as well...

The VANOS on the E46 M3's S54 engine can also be a potential problem area; screws inside the VANOS can back out and fall down into the engine, causing very bad things to happen... Some have done preventative replacements with the improved screws.

About the only other thing I recall as a relatively minor problem with the E46 M3 is the self-dimming rear view mirror, which can sprout a leak (apparently they contain some kind of photo-chromatic fluid that's pretty caustic to the interior trim). The problematic mirrors are oval-shaped, and many were replaced under a good-will program; the replacement mirrors were trapezoidal in shape.

If I've missed something major, I'm sure others will post shortly...
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Last edited by timfitz63; 03-03-2012 at 10:21 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2012, 05:54 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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I find the E90/92 is a big pig of a car.

ANd not any faster than an E46.

And if you want to have fun at slower speeds, get an E30 and build it up as a track car. My E46 M3 is good about 140 - 145 down the front straight.
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2012, 09:28 AM
illestminimike illestminimike is offline
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E46 is definitely a lot more exciting and fun to drive than a 335i. Trust me I know. The subframe is the only major issue. If you get a vert than you don't have to worry about subframe problems. But Im pretty sure you'll get a coupe, right? If you get SMG then you might have the common pump failure issue. But for the track SMG is amazing. And having an auto mode is nice too. I had a E92 328i coupe. Then got my E46 M3 Vert. My girlfriend has a 335i coupe. Its got power but doesn't give me that M smile after I drive.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:41 AM
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And yes, the subframe issue is all E46 cars. We built a friend's race car based on a 1999 325, and it has serious subframe mounting point cracks.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:47 PM
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Chris90 Chris90 is offline
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If it's really a track car get an E36 M3. They are cheap now ($10k) and would be an awesome track car, having better road feel than an E46.

I don't believe either the E36 or E46 M3 will be collector's cars, the way the E30 M3 is. Not cause they aren't as good, just that there are too many out there.

Maybe if you buy a super clean one and garage it for years, it'll keep its value, but if you track it, not likely.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:21 AM
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E36 feels better, but the E46 is substantially faster.

Some later M3s will be collectable, especially the E36 M3 Lightweight.

And please buy one and beat it up at the track, it helps the value of mine.
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