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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 11-20-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
RickyZone
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E46 Replacement?

Hi guys!

I have now owned my first car, a 330ci M-Sport during two summers. Next year, I may possibly be looking at parting with the car, and replacing it with something else. While it is a great car, I'm not sure it's the car for me. I only use the car during the summer, and mostly for pure driving fun. I don't need a car for my daily commute. I don't need a car to go shopping. It's just for fun. And within that lies the problem - the E46 330 is not fun enough for me for this type of use. Sure it's fast, but it's just a bit too grown up - too quiet and too comfortable. For a DD it's probably one of the best all rounders, but for pure driving fun - I think it's the wrong car. Moreover, I believe the car has too many niggles. That said, do I regret purchasing this car? No way. It's still the one of the best looking BMWs ever made, and a very good drive.

Next year, I will be looking at selling this car and possibly replacing it with a convertible, sportier car in the same price range.

I'm looking at Porsche Boxsters, Z4 3.0s, S2000s, et.c. Any other advice/recommendations? Convertible and manual gearbox is a must. M3's are out of the picture as they are too expensive to insure over here. How do the Z4s compare? Any other ideas? Boxsters are my most preferred option - however, my uncle owns one and I'm well aware of the running costs - which are leading me in a different direction at this day and age. (I'm 20 years old and pay all repairs/services/fuel and other running costs myself, oh and of course I will also be paying for the car myself - so spare me such comments).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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e30 convertible if you like working on cars.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:31 PM   #4
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S2000 sounds right up your alley if you can find one. Audi TT is another choice. My wife and I looked at a Mercedes SLK320 but decided we wanted a more practical car, or at least a pretend backseat. The Mercedes SLK32 AMG is an impressive car and built for fun. The hard top convertible feature is very nice.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:55 PM   #5
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Thank you for not butchering your e46 try to make it into what you want for fun now. Good luck on your search. S2000 would be my preference if i was younger. It might take a while for the S2000 to wear out but, if in a few years you decide you want quiet and comfortable or need a little more room, there may be a few unmolested e46's left. Have fun!
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:40 PM   #6
RickyZone
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Thanks for the advice guys. The E46 M3 was initially my dream car, however as insurance was crazy expensive (still is, which is why it's still not an option...) I went for the 330Ci, as I found a perfect example. That said, I was never expecting it to be an M3. Yet still, I wish it was a bit less civilized, and a bit more sporty. Maybe a UUC TSE3 exhaust and coil overs are all which is needed, but I don't feel like throwing out 2-3k in parts for a car which depreciates to the extent the E46 does here in Sweden. Moreover, I'm positive that I will have plenty, plenty, plenty more fun with a convertible (which also seem to hold their values stronger here in Sweden, for some reason).

As of now, it's either the S2K or Boxster S, I'm a bit uncertain regarding the Z4 - it's definitely one of the best looking cars made, but I'm afraid it'll end up proving to be of the same calibre as the 330ci. Good-looking, nice car, but not sporty enough. I remember driving my uncles friends BMW Z4 3.0si Coupé on a trackday here in Sweden. At the time I was 14 years old, and I couldn't believe the amount of roll I was suffering from in the corners (coming from my uncles Boxster). The convertible won't be any better. That said, it was bone stock, and a trackday says very little of how the car will behave on a day-to-day basis. Sure I don't need supercar performance, but I believe the S2K or Boxster will prove to be the most fun drivers cars!

Before making a decision, I will test drive all three in the spring, as soon as I've sold my E46.

Last edited by RickyZone; 11-27-2013 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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E46 Replacement?

Not sure what your price range or if you get snow where your from but evo's are sweet all year round cars if your into imports. Another option as much as they get flamed on Miatas can be pretty fun weekend cars they are stupid light and have a good power to weight ratio. Here's a local one that is nuts....Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByBimmerApp1385592748.673729.jpg
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ID:	536396 yep that's a ls7... Also if your into wrenching a bit an e30 or mr2 would be a good platform. Again both extremely light and super cheap and easy to build.


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Old 11-27-2013, 04:54 PM   #8
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #10
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That V-8 Miata looks like a blast! I've driven NA Miatas with the 5.0-liter Ford V-8 (Monster) and a Mazdatrix Miata powered by the turbo 13B out of a 2nd-gen RX-7, and both were a lot more balanced than you might think. Here's the personal toy:



It packs a stock fuel-injected LS1 aluminum V-8 (with LS6 intake) and weighs 2340 lb., so lb/hp right around that of an LS3 C6 Corvette. Fun! And a bit of a sleeper too.

Among Boxster S, Z4 and S2000, I'd go with the Boxster, 2005 or later because that's when they changed the supplier for the intermediate shaft bearing and greatly reduced the chance of that particular failure. Styling refresh that year looks way better to my eye, getting rid of the "teardrop" headlights. Boxsters handle amazingly well, as Porsche engineers have really worked on reducing unsprung weight in the suspension, brakes and wheels. Flat-6 sound is a joy, and with twin trunks, there's far more luggage space than you'd think. They're amazingly fun on the racetrack, even in box(ster)-stock form.

A Z4 ranks right up there with the least rewarding BMWs I've driven. Powertrain with manual trans is great, but "economy" version of SMG was terrible...fewer choices on shift speed, and too much lag even on the fastest setting. And you're absolutely right on the spring rates. Too soft, which really increases the rear suspension's tendency to squat on acceleration. Turn-in feels very leaden and slow-geared compared to the Boxster too. They're just less agile all around. A decent cruiser if you're not too concerned with handling precision.

S2000s are pretty fun track cars, but below the VTEC transition point, they've got the torque of a Civic, so not much fun around town. They do scream above that point! They feel a bit narrow and toy-like inside. Great shifter. They're wonderful autocross cars. The later 2.2-liter engines dropped the redline to 8K, IIRC, but gained some torque. Tire sizes and suspension were revised to make them less twitchy at the limit.

I hope this helps. I think you're right about the Boxster!
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Last edited by bee-em-dougle-u; 11-27-2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:28 PM   #11
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According to Wheeler Dealer this is the ultimate teen-dream in Sweden...

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Old 11-27-2013, 07:22 PM   #12
cvx5832
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E46 Replacement?

I just wanted to second your decision to get a convertible for that use case you described. I have one, and while I don't ever see it as a daily, there are days where it's absolutely the only choice.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bee-em-dougle-u View Post
That V-8 Miata looks like a blast! I've driven NA Miatas with the 5.0-liter Ford V-8 (Monster) and a Mazdatrix Miata powered by the turbo 13B out of a 2nd-gen RX-7, and both were a lot more balanced than you might think. Here's the personal toy:



It packs a stock fuel-injected LS1 aluminum V-8 (with LS6 intake) and weighs 2340 lb., so lb/hp right around that of an LS3 C6 Corvette. Fun! And a bit of a sleeper too.

Among Boxster S, Z4 and S2000, I'd go with the Boxster, 2004 or later because that's when they changed the supplier for the intermediate shaft bearing and greatly reduced the chance of that particular failure. Styling refresh that year looks way better to my eye, getting rid of the "teardrop" headlights. Boxsters handle amazingly well, as Porsche engineers have really worked on reducing unsprung weight in the suspension, brakes and wheels. Flat-6 sound is a joy, and with twin trunks, there's far more luggage space than you'd think. They're amazingly fun on the racetrack, even in box(ster)-stock form.

A Z4 ranks right up there with the least rewarding BMWs I've driven. Powertrain with manual trans is great, but "economy" version of SMG was terrible...fewer choices on shift speed, and too much lag even on the fastest setting. And you're absolutely right on the spring rates. Too soft, which really increases the rear suspension's tendency to squat on acceleration. Turn-in feels very leaden and slow-geared compared to the Boxster too. They're just less agile all around. A decent cruiser if you're not too concerned with handling precision.

S2000s are pretty fun track cars, but below the VTEC transition point, they've got the torque of a Civic, so not much fun around town. They do scream above that point! They feel a bit narrow and toy-like inside. Great shifter. They're wonderful autocross cars. The later 2.2-liter engines dropped the redline to 8K, IIRC, but gained some torque. Tire sizes and suspension were revised to make them less twitchy at the limit.

I hope this helps. I think you're right about the Boxster!
Nice report!

My (business) partner had an '04 Boxter and I had an '01 S2000 for its first 12000 miles. Agree with everything you said, though I think a Toyota Corolla is the better comparison vehicle:-) Seriously, below 6000 RPM, the thing is just no fun to drive; there is no flatness to the torque curve whatsoever. It is only fun to drive flat out. For the 2nd generation engines, they took away a lot of the top end while only adding a little more low end grunt. That was the main reason I traded mine.

The Boxter, on the other hand, is possibly the most perfect all-around sports car ever built. Magnificent handling and plenty of power with a much flatter torque curve. But it MUST be an '04 or later. Don't have the numbers handy, but the failure rate on that bearing is scary, replacement cost is huge, and Porsche has done a piss poor job of supporting its customers.

Personally, not a big Miata fan, but a good friend has one and absolutely swears by it.

Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:28 PM   #14
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Get an E36. More aggressive looking, less refined, plenty of options when it comes to modifying them, and when it comes eight down to it, it's still practically the same car as an E46. It's like the E46 is just an E36 - but grown up a little bit.
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