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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 01-19-2014, 09:53 PM   #61
mjpgolf1
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Amen!

I drove an '87 Celica ST. 5 speed manual. It was WAY more car than I needed. We had just as much fun driving in my friend's Ford Tempo. When you're 17 now, you see street racing vids on youtube and have to have a fast car. When your friends have them, it's tough not to. Glad i'm not growing up now.
Absolutely. You couldn't pay me to be a kid now a days. I had a 1978 Chevy Nova as my first car. I bussed tables at our local Elks club and paid $300 for it. My friends and I had more fun in that old $300 car than anyone could ever have on this planet. We didn't care about having some flashy car and quite frankly there were very very few kids that had a decent car. The sad part is that I'm only 36 so this wasn't that long ago. Things have really changed a lot in the last 20 years.


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Old 01-19-2014, 09:54 PM   #62
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For reference I started with an 86 Chevy truck, sold that and bought an e36 318is 5 speed, then traded for my e46 328ci

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:03 PM   #63
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My first car was a 1988 Mazda 626 when I started driving in 2001, still miss that car a little!

OP: While an M3 or a 335 would be an awesome car, the cost to own either can add up quickly. A lot of good advice in this thread, take it to heart.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:12 PM   #64
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As far as reliability, the things that can go wrong and cost some $ are:
- Vanos
- Subframe
- SMG pump

Other things like a alternator or water pump failure are not unheard of, but shouldn't break the bank either.

The maintenance items that are a little more expensive than normal are:
- Service inspections including valve adjustment
- Tires due to more expensive sizes and lower mileage
- Brakes. BMW rotors get replaced more often and the CSL/ZCP front rotors that car has are more expensive to replace
- Suspension and bushings. Not really more expensive, but need to be replaced more often than many cars
- Oil changes dues to the exclusive BMW/Castrol ///M oil

If you are mechanically inclined, you can keep maintenance items a little more reasonable. At a minimum, I'd say you need to be able to do oil changes, brake servicing (replace pads/rotors and flush brake fluid) and change belts. It would be better if you can do suspension bushings and cooling system service. Even then you need to budget for valve adjustments, tires, brake parts, oil, etc.

If you really want this car, my advice would be to set aside an emergency fund of about $3K to cover a big ticket item (or to buy a clunker and keep you driving). Then budget about $1.5-2K/year if you plan to do most of your own maintenance. If you are going to use a shop, then make that $3-4K/year. Find a good independent mechanic shop for the hard stuff and diagnosing problems and avoid the dealership. If you can't budget that much, you should look for something less.

Even if you can afford it, it may not make good financial sense if it ties up too much of your income. You can make yourself 'car poor', where all your money goes into the car. On the other hand, when I was 17 I didn't always do the smartest things.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:17 PM   #65
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Absolutely. You couldn't pay me to be a kid now a days. I had a 1978 Chevy Nova as my first car. I bussed tables at our local Elks club and paid $300 for it. My friends and I had more fun in that old $300 car than anyone could ever have on this planet. We didn't care about having some flashy car and quite frankly there were very very few kids that had a decent car. The sad part is that I'm only 36 so this wasn't that long ago. Things have really changed a lot in the last 20 years.

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Social media has made things really rough. I know when I was in high school, noone gave a **** about what kind of car you drove. You weren't judged by that sort of thing. And I certainly didn't need a fast car to hang out and have fun with my friends. Not to mention, when I was 17, I was getting ready to go to college...where clearly noone gave a **** about what kind of car I had. I barely ever drove the thing while I was there anyways.

It's a tough time to be growing up. Though i'm pretty sure noone that's in high school right now even realizes that. Those of us in our early 30's grew up right before the internet and cell phones. We weren't under the microscope like they are now. We were on our own to have fun and be smart about it. Most of my friends turned out ok.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:20 PM   #66
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a 17yr old male with a 300+ Hp flashy car is not a good combo. No offense but at that age and peer group you'd have a hard time not racing other kids. I would be seriously worried for yours and others safety. We all make mistakes in our youth and with luck we learn from it without life changing consequences. As a parent no kid should have an M3 (or powerful sports car) as a first car. Too much temptation.
There's cars for transportation.
Cars for comfort and luxury.
Then there's toys.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:23 PM   #67
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$12-$14k budget + 17 years old + M3 = lol
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:27 PM   #68
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a 17yr old male with a 300+ Hp flashy car is not a good combo. No offense but at that age and peer group you'd have a hard time not racing other kids. I would be seriously worried for yours and others safety. We all make mistakes in our youth and with luck we learn from it without life changing consequences. As a parent no kid should have an M3 (or powerful sports car) as a first car. Too much temptation.
There's cars for transportation.
Cars for comfort and luxury.
Then there's toys.
Well put. Even if you tell yourself you won't Street race every time you see another teen at a stop light they will Rev. You have to determine whether to be smart or not and risk dying.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:34 PM   #69
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Social media has made things really rough. I know when I was in high school, noone gave a **** about what kind of car you drove. You weren't judged by that sort of thing. And I certainly didn't need a fast car to hang out and have fun with my friends. Not to mention, when I was 17, I was getting ready to go to college...where clearly noone gave a **** about what kind of car I had. I barely ever drove the thing while I was there anyways.

It's a tough time to be growing up. Though i'm pretty sure noone that's in high school right now even realizes that. Those of us in our early 30's grew up right before the internet and cell phones. We weren't under the microscope like they are now. We were on our own to have fun and be smart about it. Most of my friends turned out ok.
Well said. I'm going to be 25 this year and 17 seems so long ago. Back then, we didn't care what we had to drive. We were concerned with who HAD a car we could drive for the night. I can't believe what high school kids are getting these days.

My parents would have beat me if I asked for the material things kids have today.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:48 PM   #70
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I am sorry, but I adamantly disagree with a 17yo having an M3 for a number of reasons, but it mostly boils down to:
- it's a $60,000 car that's much cheaper now but the parts are just as expensive as ever
- I have had a few, and I would NEVER buy an M3 without having at least $4-6k to spend IMMEDIATELY on a great deal of preventative and repair maintenance, while still having a minimum of 6-8k funds DEDICATED to nothing but emergency repair costs for the car (ie you have a separate account for just the reserve, so you don't see or think aboutit as bbeing part of your discretionary funds)
- You will spend $2000 on a good year in basic maintenance, but that willbe rare, and most will be more like $3.5-5k in preventative maintenance and repairs
- You will spend a lot, often, on tires... I am adamantly opposed to putting cheap tires on an M3; it's a sports car, and it needs proper tires. That means even in California a set of wheels with UHP Summer tires, and a set of wheels w winter tires if it gets below 45F or all season (Pilot AS3) for winter if it NEVER gets below 45F. That's thousands of dollars...

I bought my first BMW when I was a Senior in high school, and I've had it ever since. I paid cash, but worked 40-60hrs a week on top of maintaining a 3.88 GPA taking all honors and AP courses, got $850,000 in scholarship offers, and I still think it was a bad idea, looking back.

Spend about ten grand on a somewhat fun daily driver type car (Nissan makes the most fun Japanese cars IMHO), and with the tens of thousands you will save over the years, use it to have real fun, travel, make memories, chase skirts and bang every hot chick you can. You don't need a BMW to enjoy life at your age, and part of that is because as a result of the brain being undeveloped until 25 (and the frontal lobe, esp prefrontal cortex, is the absolute last thing to stop growing, which is responsible for decision making, judgement, and the like), NO ONE at your age is a good driver even though EVERY ONE thinks they are. You are not special because of this or that, and xxxx xxxx does not mean you are any more mature or responsible, in fact all 17yo are exactly 17 Maturities (? Lol).

Please, do yourself a BIG favor and read the many page response to a similar question over at M3forum, under the E46 M3 subforum, called "please don't hate me! Thinking about M3 for first car" (I am quoting, but that is very similar to the actual title).
The responses are from a lot of people from many age groups and experience levels, but we all have something in common and tthat's the fact that we all own M3('s). I say we because I posted a few times.

Please, please read that.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:51 PM   #71
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I work for my local BMW dealership. SMG is practically an automatic. If you really want an M3 that you plan on keeping for a while. I'd stay away from SMG..if you get that SMG. You'll end up wishing it was a Manual. You're very young for that kind of car. Get a WRX the aftermarket for Subaru is huge. The only thing you'll see is your friends in the rearview I you're wanting to be a tuner....that's the way to go. Get an M3 when you're well off...or 25.


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Old 01-20-2014, 12:02 AM   #72
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I bought my e46 m3 right after I turned 18 and it was a way fun car but I was spending a ridiculous amount of money on it at 97k. It was kind of abused and my car was probably one of the less taken care of but even if it wasn't m3's are always going to break and parts are always going to be more than most other cars. I drove my e46 for about a year before it got totaled last month and I used the insurance money to buy a decently taken care of e36 m3 and it's just as fun of a car and way more affordable than an e46. Plus for the money you're looking to spend you could get a super well Maintained e36 with goodies or even a supercharger or a cheaper one and have a couple thousand dollars set Aside for stuff that's going to break. I think that would be a good option to look at for you.


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Old 01-20-2014, 12:23 AM   #73
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I work for my local BMW dealership. SMG is practically an automatic. If you really want an M3 that you plan on keeping for a while. I'd stay away from SMG..if you get that SMG. You'll end up wishing it was a Manual. You're very young for that kind of car. Get a WRX the aftermarket for Subaru is huge. The only thing you'll see is your friends in the rearview I you're wanting to be a tuner....that's the way to go. Get an M3 when you're well off...or 25.


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The SMG is a manual.... not an automatic. There is no torque converter.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:30 AM   #74
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I work for my local BMW dealership. SMG is practically an automatic.
And this is why I avoid dealerships.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:45 AM   #75
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Personally, I have seen friends buy cars outright with cash in hand and some of the wildest things happen. I had one friend that bought an E46 325Ci Convertible and it was an $8,000 car and was at 100,000 or so miles. From the start it was having problems, from the hydraulics in the convertible top, to having issues under the hood. Red oil light, SES lights, it was just crazy to see how that car basically blew up after the first week of him owning it. 4 weeks into it he was out $12,500 (including the price of the car) and still had huge tickets to fill for the car to be drive-able. Such as the fuel pump needing replacement, the transmission was on it's way out, all sorts of issues. If you really want to take the risk and buy a used M3, you can go for it, but it's highly unadvisable.

I won't say every single E46 is a ticking time bomb like this one was, but it's possible that you get screwed over. Buy an M later, when you have the funds for it. Get a 323/325/328/330 instead, start simple, work your way up. You don't simple just hop on the seat of a crotch rocket and adapt to it. You have to prepare yourself for it and adjust to it. I got my 325Ci when I was 17 and really got lucky with it. I hate to say it, but I've driven it hard in the past, I know the urges you get and the power gets to you. Most everything that everyone else is talking about is true. You really have no need for an M3, kids are bad enough at driving with just plain regular cars, there's no need to end up wrapped around a tree and needing surgeries.

I'd recommend a car with less power, such as one of the Non-M E46s, or maybe even something JDM like the others say. Work your way up to a fast car, for the experience and for the finances of owning one and maintaining one. The E46s are really great cars, and it wouldn't hurt to buy one and learn them before you go with the most expensive, cream of the crop E46.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:49 AM   #76
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I'm 19 and managed to buy my e46 at $13k at the same exact mileage as yours... So far I haven't had any big issues (knock on wood). As you can tell, oil and other general parts, are substantially more expensive. I say go for it. You're not going to regret owning an e46 M3. One of the best vehicles to be rolled out of Germany. Don't buy the car to stunt on your friends, but buy it because you love it for what it is.

I think you'll love it. Just be careful driving it. Don't race on the street and keep it on the track. Get the car inspected and good luck on your purchase!
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:52 AM   #77
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I work at a BMW dealership and I have no idea what I'm talking about.


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Ftfy

Thank god I don't have to rely on the dealership.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:53 AM   #78
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Quit cluttering the forum. There is no reason to start two identical threads.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #79
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Ftfy

Thank god I don't have to rely on the dealership.
My guess is he mops the BMW service dept floor at night and looked in an E46 M one time and saw it only had two pedals, hence him thinking it is an automatic. Lol.


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Old 01-20-2014, 07:40 AM   #80
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Personally, I have seen friends buy cars outright with cash in hand and some of the wildest things happen. I had one friend that bought an E46 325Ci Convertible and it was an $8,000 car and was at 100,000 or so miles. From the start it was having problems, from the hydraulics in the convertible top, to having issues under the hood. Red oil light, SES lights, it was just crazy to see how that car basically blew up after the first week of him owning it. 4 weeks into it he was out $12,500 (including the price of the car) and still had huge tickets to fill for the car to be drive-able. Such as the fuel pump needing replacement, the transmission was on it's way out, all sorts of issues. If you really want to take the risk and buy a used M3, you can go for it, but it's highly unadvisable.

I won't say every single E46 is a ticking time bomb like this one was, but it's possible that you get screwed over. Buy an M later, when you have the funds for it. Get a 323/325/328/330 instead, start simple, work your way up. You don't simple just hop on the seat of a crotch rocket and adapt to it. You have to prepare yourself for it and adjust to it. I got my 325Ci when I was 17 and really got lucky with it. I hate to say it, but I've driven it hard in the past, I know the urges you get and the power gets to you. Most everything that everyone else is talking about is true. You really have no need for an M3, kids are bad enough at driving with just plain regular cars, there's no need to end up wrapped around a tree and needing surgeries.

I'd recommend a car with less power, such as one of the Non-M E46s, or maybe even something JDM like the others say. Work your way up to a fast car, for the experience and for the finances of owning one and maintaining one. The E46s are really great cars, and it wouldn't hurt to buy one and learn them before you go with the most expensive, cream of the crop E46.
I hate this kind of advice here and I'm sorry but its hard for me to sit back when someone says something like this. I'm sure most know my stance on younger people and BMWs here as I think its ridiculous.

You say you bought your E46 at 17 "and got lucky". The key words being in quotes there. This is the wrong way to go about buying any kind of car and its absurd that anyone would steer a kid away from an M3 just to have them get into a high maintenance non M. You contradict yourself in this post telling stories of friends who bought BMWs and had huge problems, but then telling OP to buy the same car and roll the dice basically on his financial future. The truth is that you had no business buying your car either obviously if you considered the ownership as lucky. I try to tell people to prepare for the worst and expect the best here and kids chime in with stories of getting "lucky" on their BMW.

Cars are for transportation when you're young and no young kid has any business driving any kind of high end brand car. It creates an image that is negative to others and causes problems down the road. Just look at this thread if you disagree with me. Here we have a young kid feeling like he needs to put himself in over his head so he can be cool like his friends. If those kids showed up at school with a toyota corolla then we wouldn't even be having this discussion with this kid.

OP I will say it once more here. You have absolutely no business driving a high end, high maintenance BMW. You can't afford it and there's a 95% chance that it will end up in a disaster.



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