The BMW E46 M3 actually wants no introduction and, for a lot of fans, that is the final word all-round M3. Right here’s what it’s essential to know earlier than shopping for one. Sponsored by Adrian Flux.
Information from Efficiency BMW. Phrases: Elizabeth de Latour. Pictures: Rowan Patrick, Andy Starkey, Wealthy Pearce, Luke Dulski.
Why you desire a BMW E46 M3
Smaller and lighter than the E9x M3, it’s a extra centered, extra uncooked and arguably extra participating machine that delivers a barely purer driving expertise and with that in thoughts, it’s simple to know why it’s so well-liked. The chassis is phenomenal and the S54 is a masterpiece of an engine that can by no means fail to stir your soul with its hovering straight-six soundtrack. It’s a snug automotive, too, and first rate on gas plus it appears unbelievable, making this an M3 that’s exhausting to beat.
What to pay
E46 M3 costs have undoubtedly crept up over the previous few years however they haven’t skyrocketed like different M vehicles so we reckon in the event you’ve at all times fancied one among these now might be the precise time to buy groceries as they’re solely going to get costlier. You may nonetheless choose an E46 M3 up for beneath £10k nevertheless it’s slim pickings at this worth – we discovered a guide convertible with 143,000 miles up for £8000, an SMG coupé with 133k miles for £8800 and a guide convertible and an SMG convertible, each with simply over 130,000 miles, for a couple of notes shy of £10,000. As you head as much as £12,000 you’ll begin discovering a couple of vehicles displaying lower than 100k and over £14,000 is the place you’ll begin discovering lower-mileage coupés and convertibles. Round £20,000 will get you among the finest examples available on the market.
What to look out for on the BMW E46 M3
The E46 is, usually talking, well-built and dependable however with age and better mileages issues begin to creep in so it’s essential to go into any potential buy along with your eyes open. Common E46 issues revolve round electrical gremlins and suspension elements however the greatest downside you’re going to have is with rust. This can be a main subject for E46s now – the principle space the place it appears to happen is on the arches, so be sure you examine any potential buy fastidiously. Subsequent up we have now the notorious rear subframe subject, the place the rear axle provider cracks and tears and this will occur so that you both want to stop it from taking place (preferable and cheaper) or you must restore it, however both manner, you need the PSDesigns restore/reinforcement plate equipment for £145 plus becoming. Should you’ve obtained an SMG automotive then you possibly can expertise issues with the pump, management unit, shift unit and kit place sensors amongst others. With the S54 itself, you’ve obtained varied Vanos issues, head gasket failure and the rod bearings are additionally a weak level and should be changed as a preventative measure.
Modifying a BMW E46 M3
The E46 M3 has nearly limitless potential. The inventory brakes are okay, discs, pads and hoses assist or go for a BBK if you would like critical stopping energy – anticipate to pay round £1k on the cheaper finish, over £2k for a entrance set on the high finish. We’d undoubtedly put money into some first rate reducing springs however in the event you’re shopping for a higher-mileage automotive it’ll be value going for coilovers to get some recent shocks on board. Need extra energy? Go for a remap and consumption for small positive aspects (20-30hp), carbon air field for giant cash (over £3k) however a number of noise, however the PSDesigns velocity stack equipment (£1500) with Alpha-N map for epic noise and good energy positive aspects could be our alternative. For critical energy go together with an off-the-shelf supercharger equipment and there are loads to select from – for simply over £5000 you possibly can choose up an ESS 475hp equipment, the 525 equipment is simply over £6000, the 550 just below £7000 whereas the 575hp equipment is round £8000. VF Engineering additionally presents a number of kits, ranging from £6000 for 420hp, 480hp for about £8000 and 570hp for £9000. Turbo kits additionally exist – RHD is difficult however doable, price range round £10k.
The BMW E46 may simply be the M3 candy spot. It presents an terrible lot of automotive on your cash; the scale, energy and chassis mixture is just great and it’s vastly participating and thrilling to drive. There are some costly repairs however in the event you’re in search of a contemporary M machine that feels thrilling and interesting to drive, it’s exhausting to beat the E46 M3.
Insuring a BMW E46 M3 with Adrian Flux
Automobile: BMW E46 M3
Driver and data: 28-year-old male, with a full NCB, dwelling within the TN14 submit code, with a clear licence. The automotive is parked on the drive every evening and has gentle modifications together with wheels, suspension, exhaust and air filter.
Quote: £400 together with insurance coverage premium tax / £350 extra / Complete cowl
Tech Spec: BMW E46 M3
Engine: 3.2-litre straight-six S54B32
Transmission: Six-speed guide, six-speed SMG II
Torque: 269lb ft
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Value New: £39,730