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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

View Poll Results: Features of BMW M3 e46
Transmission: Manual 0 0%
Transmission: SMG 0 0%
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:54 PM
MisterGalliano MisterGalliano is offline
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Location: Long Island
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Lightbulb To get a BMW M3

I'm looking to get a BMW m3 but I can't decide on features. I don't know if I want the manual transmission or the SMG gearbox. Manuals are fun yes and give you more control but i've always been a big fan of paddle shifters especially on the BMWs and since I commute to the city a lot on the weekends it wouldn't be much a hassle to use the SMG gearbox since no clutch engaging is required but yet still can have a blast on the highway. But then i heard the SMG gearbox is pretty garbage and has many issues. Can I hear from a trusted prospective? Has anybody got an BMW M3 with a SMG gearbox and would like to share their thoughts on it? Another thing i came across is convertibles, i live right by the beach in the Hamptons and it would probably feel great to let the sun in and fresh air be right over your head during the hot summer. I like the style of the roof down however i would be using the car all year round so the roof must come up when it gets cold but i don't like the style of the car with the roof up. I do know that there are hardtops for the car but they are pretty hard to find. Too much in my head, i'm rather very picky with cars and try to make them the best i can with what i got. Thanks and i look forward to your answers!
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:50 AM
Stevex5 Stevex5 is offline
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Location: United kingdom
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Mein Auto: Bmw x5 2003
Avoid the SMG gearbox big time
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:10 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Location: Lorena & San Antonio, TX
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Mein Auto: 2007 X3 (MT)
I would personally opt for the 6-speed manual transmission. I've never driven the SMG, but my impression from reading about them is that they can be a bit temperamental, even when working properly -- and quite expensive to repair when they aren't...

Besides, the BMW manuals are a joy to drive; shifting is butter smooth!

As far as the convertible question goes, I would personally opt for the coupe for a couple of reasons:
  1. I like the styling better; and if the car is equipped with a sunroof, opening it and rolling down the windows gives you about 80% of a convertible's feel.
  2. The coupe is considerably lighter -- on the order of 350 lbs. Lighter weight means better performance.
I've also never encountered a removable hardtop for the E46 M3, but that's not to say they aren't available...

Ultimately, you'll have to drive it, so buy what you like...

X3 w/6-speed & Sport Package:
A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:18 AM
lenardbjr lenardbjr is offline
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Location: NC
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 94
Mein Auto: 2003 M3
ill be honest you might have more expendable income since u live next to the hamptons but the repairs can be alot. I have a SMG, there are horror stories about the smg i had a software issue and it got fixed. To be honest i think alot of people are driving some of the cars extremely hard with the manual drive logic setting on high. This is my honest view: When you use the SMG tranny on the faster shifting modes its bang shifting with little delay. The smg pump has to work hard to do this. i dont know of any car that will be able to last under that kind of harsh conditions even a regular manual long term. I got quotes for the smg repair from $3000 to $6000. In shift mode i keep my drivelogic on level 4 and lift up on the gas just like a regular manual between shifts to prevent the bang or granny shift. i actually like the smg for the other features such as auto downshift if needed, match revs, paddle shifts. If you got the car bug, test drive both tranny's. In heavy traffic the car isnt that bad but it still rolls back just like a manual tranny. I hope this helps.

Last edited by lenardbjr; 01-07-2013 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:40 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Location: Maryland
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Mein Auto: M Roadster/M3
I have had an SMG M3 since I picked it up new at the performance center in April 2002. No problems.

I have several friends with SMG M3s that also have had no problems. Yes, if you have major problems, it can be expensive to fix, but IMO, there are plenty running that have never had issues.

The actual tranmission is the same as the manual.
Terry Carraway

'95 Alpine M3 LTW
'00 Dakar M Roadster
'02 Topaz M3
Red/White SRF #4 (Chassis 561)
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