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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 01-16-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
whyzee125
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Drove an m3 the other day and wasn't impressed at all. Worth it?

I have an 03 ZHP sedan and I've always dreamed about getting into an m3 someday. I found what looked like a decent price on one about 10 minutes frmo my house so I figured I'd go take a look. It was an '02, 130k miles, bilsteins & h&r's, stage 2 clutch, dinan headers, exhaust, intake and tune, etc. seemed very nice, aside from needing new trailing arm bushings. I've heard nothing but praise about these cars so naturally I was pretty excited about it. I dropped down to second gear and punched it on the on ramp and I don't think my heart has ever sank that much before. Felt like it had about 20 more hp than my ZHP. So I turned on sport mode and tried it again and I couldn't tell a difference at all. My dad has a crossfire srt6 that on paper I would have thought would be a little slower. It would absolutely blow this thing away. It drove alright but really just felt like a stiffer version of my car with a little more horsepower. Did I just drive a bad one or are they not worth it over a zhp?
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:10 PM   #2
nojoda
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the suspension on that car is probably beat. if the owner told you it needed rtabs it probably is up for fcabs and front control arms as well as rear shock mounts. Not to mention all the maintenance stuff, a proper tune will help. The e46 m3 pulls hard on 3rd, not second... drive another m3 and youll be set.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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the suspension on that car is probably beat. if the owner told you it needed rtabs it probably is up for fcabs and front control arms as well as rear shock mounts. Not to mention all the maintenance stuff, a proper tune will help. The e46 m3 pulls hard on 3rd, not second... drive another m3 and youll be set.
this is what i was hoping to hear, he didnt mention the rtabs but the fcabs were new. i'm really hoping i drove a bad one because i had really big expectations of this car. i'll try to drive a better example of one soon!

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Depending on what the person has done or even what they have NOT done could slow down its performance. I would personally never buy a guy which is all "done-up" I would rathre buy one from an older gentlemen who could afford to take it to dealership to get regular maintenance or a well-known person who runs a shop.

130,000 miles certain things may start to wear on the interior of the engine... also you can't compare a damn muscle car to the m3... total different category and its not all about going fast boss..
I completely agree about the first part. I would have thought that what he did if anything would make it faster, but i'd much prefer to buy a stock one from someone who obviously never beats on it.

I know it's not all about going fast, but if you're paying that much more it sure as heck better be a lot faster than a 330, otherwise whats the point? I never compared it to a muscle car either, the crossfire is built on an slk32 amg and uses the same 3.2 liter v6. At 330 horsepower I would have imagined they'd be in the same ballpark.

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You definitely drove a bad one. I drove my c6 to the dealer where I test drive my M and it scared the sh1t out of me when I took off on the freeway in third. Find an all stock one that has maintenance records.
This has gotten me excited to go get in one again. I was thoroughly disappointed so it must just be that one.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Depending on what the person has done or even what they have NOT done could slow down its performance. I would personally never buy a guy which is all "done-up" I would rathre buy one from an older gentlemen who could afford to take it to dealership to get regular maintenance or a well-known person who runs a shop.

130,000 miles certain things may start to wear on the interior of the engine... also you can't compare a damn muscle car to the m3... total different category and its not all about going fast boss..
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #5
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You definitely drove a bad one. I drove my c6 to the dealer where I test drive my M and it scared the sh1t out of me when I took off on the freeway in third. Find an all stock one that has maintenance records.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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You drove an m3 with a 130K. The first thing that comes to mind is that unless this guy took extreme preventative measures against power loss than the car you drove was simply an old m3 that has lost a considerable amount of power. I've driven e46 M3's that had 100k on them and pulled like e92 328's as well as other M3's in near pristine condition that pull on e92 335's. In other words I suggest you try driving a couple different cars and make your decision.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:10 PM   #7
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You drove an m3 with a 130K. The first thing that comes to mind is that unless this guy took extreme preventative measures against power loss than the car you drove was simply an old m3 that has lost a considerable amount of power. I've driven e46 M3's that had 100k on them and pulled like e92 328's as well as other M3's in near pristine condition that pull on e92 335's. In other words I suggest you try driving a couple different cars and make your decision.
Cool beans, I'll start looking around. i'm not really ready to part with the zhp yet but it's always nice to have something in mind and it seems like the m3 fits the ticket, although this made me want to get a 135 cause it was so bad. Do m3's lose power more quickly than non m's? My car has 153k miles and still pulls like other 330's i've driven with 40k.

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M3s and non M E46s are worlds apart in terms of performance... trust that...
something is wrong with the one you test drove... to me, they almost dont even feel like the same chassis.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:15 PM   #8
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Cool beans, I'll start looking around. i'm not really ready to part with the zhp yet but it's always nice to have something in mind and it seems like the m3 fits the ticket, although this made me want to get a 135 cause it was so bad. Do m3's lose power more quickly than non m's? My car has 153k miles and still pulls like other 330's i've driven with 40k.


I do really love the 135... Might be what I jump into next once they get a little cheaper... So much potential with those turbos. As for power loss in comparison to non M's I think it depends a lot on driving style in combination with maintenance. Definitely drive a couple more.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:53 AM   #9
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Definitely should of felt a huge difference. My guess is its not been maintained, or the suspension and or tires were letting DSC kick in.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:01 PM   #10
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M3s and non M E46s are worlds apart in terms of performance... trust that...
something is wrong with the one you test drove... to me, they almost dont even feel like the same chassis.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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You drove a bad one. I own both a ZHP and an M3, there's a huge difference in power. Like the others said, possibly something was wrong with it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:28 PM   #12
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*flame suit on* was probably a lolvert
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:03 PM   #13
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*flame suit on* was probably a lolvert
Irrelevant. I have a vert and the difference is still massive.
Plus the difference in straight liner performance between verts and coupes isn't very large.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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*flame suit on* was probably a lolvert
I actually beat a no optioned coupe with every bolt on minus gears and I pulled on him with my top down and full tank. My mods at the time (headers,4.10 gears, highline intake)
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:35 PM   #15
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What rpm did you get up to? My old 330 felt like more torque down low,and max power came on at much lower revs than an M3. Check out a dyno chart to see what I mean. Just a guess,but HP between the two cars is probably. Close at 5k,but then the M conjures up an additional 100hp from 5k to 7900 rpm when the 330 would be a smoking pile of scrap metal at that rpm.

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Old 01-17-2013, 12:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by whyzee125 View Post
I have an 03 ZHP sedan and I've always dreamed about getting into an m3 someday. I found what looked like a decent price on one about 10 minutes frmo my house so I figured I'd go take a look. It was an '02, 130k miles, bilsteins & h&r's, stage 2 clutch, dinan headers, exhaust, intake and tune, etc. seemed very nice, aside from needing new trailing arm bushings. I've heard nothing but praise about these cars so naturally I was pretty excited about it. I dropped down to second gear and punched it on the on ramp and I don't think my heart has ever sank that much before. Felt like it had about 20 more hp than my ZHP. So I turned on sport mode and tried it again and I couldn't tell a difference at all. My dad has a crossfire srt6 that on paper I would have thought would be a little slower. It would absolutely blow this thing away. It drove alright but really just felt like a stiffer version of my car with a little more horsepower. Did I just drive a bad one or are they not worth it over a zhp?
Take a look at the description of the car you drove.

First, its an 02. From what I have researched before, the 2000-2002 are possibly the worst M3 to get because of the engine recalls they had. I believe it was because of bad rod bearings or something similar.. I cant recall off the top of my head. These issues were corrected in later production M3s.

Secondly, not only the miles but the MODS. No one and I sincerely mean no one does those kinds of mods to a car just to take it to get groceries or to the local movie theater. Judging by the mods you listed it sounds like this car belonged to a spoiled kid of some sort who spent daddys money. With 130k+ I believe it is safe to say this car has been ragged to hell and back repeatedly at the hands of the current owner.

This is a perfect example of an M3 that has not been shown the proper maintenance these cars need and deserve. I purchased a 2004 M3 Vert from an older fella who is the owner of a car dealership in my area. The carfax showed every maintance record the car has ever done. I am the 3rd owner and the previous 2 lived in the same area and had all work done at the same reputable shop.

I bought the M3 with 112k on it and have put about 2k miles on it since (not my daily). The motor sounds incredible and in sport mode in S6 (SMG) the acceleration is just awesome. I by no means dog on my car but I got the itch one day and decided to race my friends Trailblazer SS and I jumped out on him from the get go and he could not reel me in. And I know an SS is a hell of a lot faster than a ZHP.

I will leave you with this, do not be afraid of high mileage M3s, be afraid of high mileage M3s with no service records and/or that are modded. I haven't looked back since I bought mine and have no regrets. I actually plan to either trade mine in on a E90 M3 or keep it altogether and purchase another.

Straight line speed is way overrated in my opinion. Those that judge a cars performance simply on how fast they go in a straight line are naive and somewhat ignorant to me. M3s are so much more than straight line performance.

Hope this helps, good luck!

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Old 01-17-2013, 01:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ZeroOath View Post
Take a look at the description of the car you drove.

First, its an 02. From what I have researched before, the 2000-2002 are possibly the worst M3 to get because of the engine recalls they had. I believe it was because of bad rod bearings or something similar.. I cant recall off the top of my head. These issues were corrected in later production M3s.

Secondly, not only the miles but the MODS. No one and I sincerely mean no one does those kinds of mods to a car just to take it to get groceries or to the local movie theater. Judging by the mods you listed it sounds like this car belonged to a spoiled kid of some sort who spent daddys money. With 130k+ I believe it is safe to say this car has been ragged to hell and back repeatedly at the hands of the current owner.

This is a perfect example of an M3 that has not been shown the proper maintenance these cars need and deserve. I purchased a 2004 M3 Vert from an older fella who is the owner of a car dealership in my area. The carfax showed every maintance record the car has ever done. I am the 3rd owner and the previous 2 lived in the same area and had all work done at the same reputable shop.

I bought the M3 with 112k on it and have put about 2k miles on it since (not my daily). The motor sounds incredible and in sport mode in S6 (SMG) the acceleration is just awesome. I by no means dog on my car but I got the itch one day and decided to race my friends Trailblazer SS and I jumped out on him from the get go and he could not reel me in. And I know an SS is a hell of a lot faster than a ZHP.

I will leave you with this, do not be afraid of high mileage M3s, be afraid of high mileage M3s with no service records and/or that are modded. I haven't looked back since I bought mine and have no regrets. I actually plan to either trade mine in on a E90 M3 or keep it altogether and purchase another.

Straight line speed is way overrated in my opinion. Those that judge a cars performance simply on how fast they go in a straight line are naive and somewhat ignorant to me. M3s are so much more than straight line performance.

Hope this helps, good luck!

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If 00-01s are the worse how come all the vanos hub failures seem to be on 0/03s and up?
He did bearing recall is irrelevant. Pretty much they've all Bbeen done and its has never been an issue besides just that. A recall.

Other than the LED updates they're all pretty much the same damn car.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ZeroOath View Post
Take a look at the description of the car you drove.

First, its an 02. From what I have researched before, the 2000-2002 are possibly the worst M3 to get because of the engine recalls they had. I believe it was because of bad rod bearings or something similar.. I cant recall off the top of my head. These issues were corrected in later production M3s.

Secondly, not only the miles but the MODS. No one and I sincerely mean no one does those kinds of mods to a car just to take it to get groceries or to the local movie theater. Judging by the mods you listed it sounds like this car belonged to a spoiled kid of some sort who spent daddys money.
This is about the DUMBEST comment I have heard on here in YEARS!!!! Who are you to justify a car you A) have not driven or B) Do not know the history of???

The fact that you try to belittle a modded 02 is amazing too.... Tell you what, feel free to come drive MY HIGHLY MODIFIED '02! I will GUARANTEE you it has been better taken care of than yours AND is more desireable! Side by side I am sure hands down out of 100 people most will want my modded version.

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I by no means dog on my car but I got the itch one day and decided to race my friends Trailblazer SS and I jumped out on him from the get go and he could not reel me in. And I know an SS is a hell of a lot faster than a ZHP

Shows your ignorance. You want to race, go get on a track and prove your skills.... Street racing is NOT the avenue to "show your skills".
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:32 PM   #19
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I know with mine - at 84k now, sometimes seems slow and other times it seems really quick. Turns out my MAF was dirty, and my exhaust cam sensor is failing, and when it fails the cam stops adjusting and stops where it fails (so i'll either have low rpm torque, or high end power, but never both while its broken). The first time it got really cold here, it worked for an entire day.. and holy cow my car was so different.

Point is, at that mileage, there could be a few things wrong with the car hindering its performance. The fact that it has an intake and tune worries me if it wasnt done properly (and K&N filters are notorious for dirtying the MAF).

And the 'it pulls hard in 3rd, not 2nd' is complete BS. The engine doesn't adjust power output in accordance of what gear your in. I blow tires off in 1st gear, get enough traction in 2nd for hard acceleration, and 3rd pulls me past 100mph pretty quick. IMO 2nd is my favorite because I can thrash on it the most in the city. 2nd pulls harder than 3rd, and 1st pulls harder than 2nd assuming you can hook up - that isn't just opinion either, its a matter of physics.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #20
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You drove a bad one. When I first went shopping it took like 8 cars to find the right one. At the time I had a 330ci and thought the same thing. Then I test drove my last M3. I will always remember that test drive. Went on a back street with no traffic or houses, turned off DSC and did a burn out. I about **** myself and immediately was going sideways. The sales guy was was scared and grabbing onto the door handle. Drove back and traded in the 330ci. Had a smile from ear to ear on the ride home. Keep searching you will find the one!! Also get one with the lowest miles and least amount of mods possible.
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