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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 05-26-2005, 07:55 AM
adc adc is offline
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Talking Drove an M3 for the first time

All I can say is... sweet Jeebus!!!

It was an 01 in LSB/gray, with an AA exhaust, short shift, and AFE intake. Simply amazing, from the mean bark of the exhaust, excellent throttle response, low engine inertia, tight suspension... Of course this was not an exhaustive test, there was traffic, police cars as well as a light drizzle. But what a treat!

What blew me away of course coming from a 330 is the power. I could get used to it very very quickly. However I also noticed a few things that I didn't like: the clutch pedal was very stiff, the steering very light and gear engagement was sometimes awkward.

Now I know the last could be attributed to the (bad?) short shift kit.
But is the steering that light on all M3s, or just on the 2001s? It made the car feel very alive, but I would have wished for better feel and a little more weight (I actually like my ZHP steering better ).
And is the clutch that stiff from wear, or simply a characteristic of the stronger transmission?

Brakes felt similar to those on my ZHP with Axxis Ultimates.

Overall (and despite the minor irritations I mentioned) I loved it, especially the great balance of all components that make "there-now" maneuvers so easy. If BMW had made a 4 door version, I'd get one this instant. As it stands, I'm pretty sure the E90 version will quickly leave my price comfort zone when new, so I doubt I'll end up with one for at least another 5 years...

adc
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2005, 07:57 AM
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E46 M3 steering sucksass.

Edit: In '02, the rest of the 3'ers got the compact rack, while the E46 kept the same one it had had all along. Very irritating.
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  #3  
Old 05-26-2005, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc
All I can say is... sweet Jeebus!!!

It was an 01 in LSB/gray, with an AA exhaust, short shift, and AFE intake. Simply amazing, from the mean bark of the exhaust, excellent throttle response, low engine inertia, tight suspension... Of course this was not an exhaustive test, there was traffic, police cars as well as a light drizzle. But what a treat!

What blew me away of course coming from a 330 is the power. I could get used to it very very quickly. However I also noticed a few things that I didn't like: the clutch pedal was very stiff, the steering very light and gear engagement was sometimes awkward.

Now I know the last could be attributed to the (bad?) short shift kit.
But is the steering that light on all M3s, or just on the 2001s? It made the car feel very alive, but I would have wished for better feel and a little more weight (I actually like my ZHP steering better ).
And is the clutch that stiff from wear, or simply a characteristic of the stronger transmission?

Brakes felt similar to those on my ZHP with Axxis Ultimates.

Overall (and despite the minor irritations I mentioned) I loved it, especially the great balance of all components that make "there-now" maneuvers so easy. If BMW had made a 4 door version, I'd get one this instant. As it stands, I'm pretty sure the E90 version will quickly leave my price comfort zone when new, so I doubt I'll end up with one for at least another 5 years...

adc
03 330 ZHP

There are some very popular SSK's that don't appear to work well on the e46 M3, like the UUC Evo 3. As far as the lightness of steering, that could have been a tire pressure problem.

Alex
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2005, 10:15 AM
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Yes, the steering is not good. And the ZCP doesn't make it any better.

I long for the ZHP rack, which was perfect. The rest of the car is great!
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  #5  
Old 05-26-2005, 02:58 PM
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How could BMW swing and miss on something so important as the steering feel on the E46 M3? I just don't understand how a stock 330i could have a better steering rack then the M3, what exactly is different/better about it? Obviously, I've never driven an M3 but I've been thinking about getting one eventually to replace my beloved 330i. I will be really pissed if I discover that I liked the steering better in the 330i.
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  #6  
Old 05-26-2005, 09:35 PM
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I've been switching between my 330 and M3 daily and the steering in the 330 is considerably better. I'm really going to miss that.

I wish there was a way to fit a 330 rack into my new car. Otherwise everything else is awesome. I prefer the clutch in the M, the 330 is too light with too long of a throw and is a bit numb IMHO.

--SONET
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  #7  
Old 05-27-2005, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SONET
I've been switching between my 330 and M3 daily and the steering in the 330 is considerably better. I'm really going to miss that.

--SONET
WHY>????!!!! Will some just tell me WHY??? What's different about them?
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2005, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moderato
WHY>????!!!! Will some just tell me WHY??? What's different about them?
Did you ignore what I wrote above? The steering rack is a piece of ****.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2005, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
Did you ignore what I wrote above?

This would require paying attention to what you say.







Alex
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  #10  
Old 05-27-2005, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BahnBaum
This would require paying attention to what you say.







Alex
:asshole:
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  #11  
Old 05-27-2005, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
Did you ignore what I wrote above? The steering rack is a piece of ****.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moderato
I just don't understand how a stock 330i could have a better steering rack then the M3, what exactly is different/better about it?
I didn't ignore what you wrote, I'm asking you to be more specific then "it's a piece of ****" , about what makes it inferior.
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2005, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moderato
I didn't ignore what you wrote, I'm asking you to be more specific then "it's a piece of ****" , about what makes it inferior.
Longer ratio (makes it ponderous), 3.5 turns lock to lock instead of 2.7.
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2005, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
Longer ratio (makes it ponderous), 3.5 turns lock to lock instead of 2.7.
Maybe they put a longer ratio on the M3 for high speed stability, so it's not as twitchy? There must be some reasoning behind it regardless if it was a good idea or not. How many turns lock to lock for the ZCP?
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  #14  
Old 05-27-2005, 12:14 PM
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Why don't you go test drive one and compare it to your 330i?

These thoughts and feelings are very subjective and it is the only way to understand what M3 owners are describing, myself included.
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  #15  
Old 05-27-2005, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RChoudry
Why don't you go test drive one and compare it to your 330i?
Because if I do that I will trade in a 1 year old 330i at the worst possible time for depreciation in the history of the E46. Then I will buy a brand new E46 M3 for 55K+, and be completely happy with it untill the 335i Twin Turbo or E90 M3 comes out.

I'm going to be patient on this one and wait a couple years and see what happens, get the most out of my E46 and then I'll decide between a 335Ci, used 05 E46 M3 or E90 M3.
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  #16  
Old 05-27-2005, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moderato
Maybe they put a longer ratio on the M3 for high speed stability, so it's not as twitchy? There must be some reasoning behind it regardless if it was a good idea or not. How many turns lock to lock for the ZCP?
The M3 got that rack back when the regular E46 was ALSO 3.5 turns lock to lock. The CSL rack is only very slightly more direct, and most people who have it report that they can't tell the difference.

The reason they left it in the E46 M3 is simple:
The M3 never got the "Ultimate Parking Machine" rack, so there was no real need to change it. Again, I also suspect that the Compact rack doesn't fit.
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  #17  
Old 05-29-2005, 12:11 PM
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aren't all M3's CSL?
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  #18  
Old 05-29-2005, 06:09 PM
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Nope. M3, M3 GTR and M3 CSL are the three models of M3. Other things like ZCP (Competition Package) are options on one of the models.

M3 is th eone we know here in the US.

M3 GTR was the homologation special with the 4L V8 from ALMS race cars. VERY expensive and never in the US.

M3 CSL (Coupe Sport Light) is also non-US model, with lots of carbon fiber (front bumper, roof panel), different intake and cams (360 HP up from 343 for the non-US M3), retuned suspension, less stanard equipment (A/C and raio are options), optional (no cost) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup (R-comp) tires, special 19 inch rims.
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  #19  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:52 PM
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Thanks for the info...there goes my M3MUCSL license plate idea....
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  #20  
Old 05-30-2005, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
M3 GTR was the homologation special with the 4L V8 from ALMS race cars. VERY expensive and never in the US.
Why does the U.S. get screwed on these cars... (Not that I could own one any time soon.)

How many were produced?

I didn't realize the M3 GTR had street productions, but here's one found via GIS, in case anyone was wondering:

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  #21  
Old 05-30-2005, 05:40 AM
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WRT the GTR, the cost to emissions certify it would be very high for a very limited production.

WRT the CSL, both emissions (new cams) and crash testing, again for a lmited production.

Too bad US law won't allow a certain limited number of cars, based on a production car that has passed the testing, to be imported without necessarily meeting the standards.
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  #22  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:36 AM
Alex Baumann Alex Baumann is offline
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Does anyone know how many street legal GTRs did they build? Funny, I have never seen/heard this car being on sale in Germany.
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  #23  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Baumann
Does anyone know how many street legal GTRs did they build? Funny, I have never seen/heard this car being on sale in Germany.
I think they sent them all to the Middle East. Seems to be the only place anyone's ever seen them.
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  #24  
Old 05-30-2005, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
I think they sent them all to the Middle East. Seems to be the only place anyone's ever seen them.
Yeah, I remember the Dubai photos.
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  #25  
Old 05-30-2005, 01:57 PM
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At over $200K each, probably the only place people would spend that kind of money for the car.
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