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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 10-13-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
azw131
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If I were to Upgrade to an M3...

I've always wanted an M3, but lately I have been more than ever. I'm still probably a long ways off from being at the point where I'm ready to go and purchase one, but I was hoping you guys could give me a better sense of exactly how far off I am. Right now my 2004 325Xi has 109000 miles on it. It's in pretty much perfect shape though, and has just had a lot of the standard upkeep maintenance done (i.e., brakes, control arms, etc.). I'm thinking if I were to sell it on craigslist I could get $8000 for it. Now, I've been looking at the classifieds the past few weeks both on the forums and locally, and I've seen E46 M3's range in price from anywhere from $11,000 to $30000. I'd be looking to buy one that is running perfectly, in pretty good shape, and well maintained. I know for sure I'd want the coupe with the manual transmission, no way I'd buy a vert or an SMG. I don't really care how many miles the car has on it, as long is it's under 150k. How much do you guys think a car like that would cost realistically, and what do you think the cost of maintenance and upkeep would be on it in the first year if I buy it from a private owner? Basically, I'm trying to find out how much more money I'd need to be able to purchase an M3. Any helpful advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:39 PM   #2
Hunter55
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manual m3's are a hot commodity and as such you usually end up paying more for them....for one that was well taken care of, id probably say 25-26k, but id be ballparking. for reference, a friend of mine just picked up a vert smg for 22k, and it still needs a bit of TLC
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
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Can't really offer much insight. But know that parts are typically twice as expensive for an m car. And quite literally two times as expensive.
Radiator for non m $150
Radiator for m $300
This should help you.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:26 AM   #4
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Generally from what I understand (my own experience and others') the M3's maintenance is expensive one year, not too bad the next, expensive again, etc...

Expect to pay on average $1800/year ($3000 one, $500 next, etc...). It's not a cheap car to own. But my ZHP didn't really cost me any less (I didn't like to cheap out on anything)

It is worth noting some parts definitely last longer. My rear shocks were still good at 95k miles. My control arms and bushings are still strong (and I check them every time I put the car in the air). Most of the suspension and driveline components are beefed up versions of what you'd get on a 330. Since the car barely weighs more, they'll last longer if the car's used for street duty.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:41 AM   #5
lucky_doggg7
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An M3 is an expensive car to maintain. OP, if you buy a low mileage E46M (which you should), that car will likely have some similar repair requirements I've experienced. Here is my list.

1. Every 7500 miles 7 qts (1 spare qt) of 10w-60 Castrol TWS + Oil Filter; Parts cost about $120.00; 60K/7.5K = 8 Changes @ $120.00 = $960.00
2. Every 40,000 miles Castrol LT2 Gear Oil & Rear Diff "3 Pack" of Castrol XJ blah blah blah diff fluid; Parts cost about $120.00;
3. Replace all junky Bremi pencil Coils with Bosch Coils & Use Denso Iridium spark plugs; Parts cst about $300.00
4. 50,000 Miles, RTAB Failure Pass. Side: Parts & Labor about $400 for both sides (Incl Vorshlag Limiters)
4. 60,000 Miles, Valve Adjustment; Parts & Labor Cost $500.00 (+Rental Car for a few days)
5. 80,000 Miles, Broken Vanos Hub, Exh Cam to Drive Vanos Pump: Parts & Labor $2,000.00 (+Rental Car for 3 or 4 days)
6. 100,000 Miles, Replace entire cooling System: Parts & Labor (+Rental Car for a week) $2,500.00
7. 105,000 Miles, New Fuel Pump & Filter; Parts & Labor $800.00
8. Tires: I don't believe in buying "2nd or 3rd tier" tires, so only Michelin & Continental @ 4 sets around $5,000.00+ (Incl mount'g & balanc'g)

So above, this is what I've spent so far on my 2005 M3 just for the large ticket items. I've left off minor costs. I knew it was going to be expensive to own an M3, but I didn't know it was going to cost me somewhere around $10,000 in maintenance since I've owned the car. I've also modded my car quite heavily so those costs are not even included.

As with any expensive GT (Grand Touring) class car, it is my opinion that one should buy the newest and least mileage car one can afford, which is what Bruce Anderson of "Porsche Excellence" fame always emphasizes. As noted above by others, a nice M3 that hasn't been "rode hard and put away wet" should cost around $25,000 and have low mileage say in the 30K-ish miles range. Now, my experience won't mean your costs will be the same because we all make different decisions on how well a car should be maintained. I'm fairly anal about my maintenance but some others are not, so there will be a cost variance.

Now, if someone were to tell me years ago that I'd spend this kind of money on a car, I wouldn't have believed it. I, like many, wanted an M3 so I got one. In hindsight, would I still buy this car and still spend all this money, nope. I'd get something else and use the money for investment or some other useful endeavor. For me, what's done is done though. OP, I hope this educates you and enlightens you. Good luck on your choice and proceed wisely.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
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Unless you can work on the car yourself I really hope you think twice or even three times about the cost of maintaining an m. If not you can spend 2-3 grand fixing issues the first time you bring it in .
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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Try and find one that had the vanos exhaust hub and intake cam bolts inspected . Otherwise good luck sleeping at night
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky_doggg7 View Post
As with any expensive GT (Grand Touring) class car, it is my opinion that one should buy the newest and least mileage car one can afford, which is what Bruce Anderson of "Porsche Excellence" fame always emphasizes. As noted above by others, a nice M3 that hasn't been "rode hard and put away wet" should cost around $25,000 and have low mileage say in the 30K-ish miles range. Now, my experience won't mean your costs will be the same because we all make different decisions on how well a car should be maintained. I'm fairly anal about my maintenance but some others are not, so there will be a cost variance.
Is an M3 really a GT car?
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:05 AM   #9
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I wouldn't call it a GT car.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:33 AM   #10
azw131
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Thanks for all the info everyone. It's clear that the cost of owning an M is really more than a regular e46. I've actually had to spend about $3500 on my car for maintenance this year alone, but I can only imagine what it would have cost on an M3. The most informative thing was that I didn't realize it would cost about $25,000 to get one that is really gonna last and not have many problems. I saw a slew of M3's in the $15k-$17k range with higher mileage. I'd thought I'd be fine with one of those, but it seems like the general consensus is that those cars would be trouble.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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OP, the best way to have an ///M is to have another daily to begin with. If you have a daily, such as what you currently own or a 330 then the cost of maintenance for the ///M will go down substantially more. Since you are not driving the ///M 100% of the time, there is less wear and tear on the ///M requiring fewer maintenance. That's my input on the subject. Since I have my ZHP for my daily, I tend to drive it pretty much 90-95% of the time and save the ///M for "perfect" days only. In the past year I have spent around $1k on the ///M for maintenance.....car is set up perfect...only thing I need now are new tires for the back....that's one thing to keep in mind... If you get an ///M you will go through rear tires more often than you do now....especially if you are driving it full time. Cost of maintenance will also go up if the ///M is going to be your only car....just be aware of that!
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:56 AM   #12
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Buy an m3 (vert) for fun days. Keep what you have as a daily driver. When you can afford both, you are ready. I'm not ready yet.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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i picked up an 02 vert, it had 40,xxx miles on it, and now it has just a little over 100K miles on it. i had to only replace two things, the vanos system which was a little under $2,000.00, and the FSR for the air conditioning that piece i dont recall but $100-125, so it really depends if you get your car checked out or not, make sure the previous owner has all the service records, call BMW and see if the inspections were ran at the dealer or ask them if they did it at an indy shop or if they done it at all! best thing is just get a PPI done!
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:55 AM   #14
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Maintenance cost are very well documented. Search on m3forum and here. Generally though if you have to ask then the answer is no.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:22 PM   #15
BMWFanatic85
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wow.. so informative. sorry to hear! so much $$

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky_doggg7 View Post
An M3 is an expensive car to maintain. OP, if you buy a low mileage E46M (which you should), that car will likely have some similar repair requirements I've experienced. Here is my list.

1. Every 7500 miles 7 qts (1 spare qt) of 10w-60 Castrol TWS + Oil Filter; Parts cost about $120.00; 60K/7.5K = 8 Changes @ $120.00 = $960.00
2. Every 40,000 miles Castrol LT2 Gear Oil & Rear Diff "3 Pack" of Castrol XJ blah blah blah diff fluid; Parts cost about $120.00;
3. Replace all junky Bremi pencil Coils with Bosch Coils & Use Denso Iridium spark plugs; Parts cst about $300.00
4. 50,000 Miles, RTAB Failure Pass. Side: Parts & Labor about $400 for both sides (Incl Vorshlag Limiters)
4. 60,000 Miles, Valve Adjustment; Parts & Labor Cost $500.00 (+Rental Car for a few days)
5. 80,000 Miles, Broken Vanos Hub, Exh Cam to Drive Vanos Pump: Parts & Labor $2,000.00 (+Rental Car for 3 or 4 days)
6. 100,000 Miles, Replace entire cooling System: Parts & Labor (+Rental Car for a week) $2,500.00
7. 105,000 Miles, New Fuel Pump & Filter; Parts & Labor $800.00
8. Tires: I don't believe in buying "2nd or 3rd tier" tires, so only Michelin & Continental @ 4 sets around $5,000.00+ (Incl mount'g & balanc'g)

So above, this is what I've spent so far on my 2005 M3 just for the large ticket items. I've left off minor costs. I knew it was going to be expensive to own an M3, but I didn't know it was going to cost me somewhere around $10,000 in maintenance since I've owned the car. I've also modded my car quite heavily so those costs are not even included.

As with any expensive GT (Grand Touring) class car, it is my opinion that one should buy the newest and least mileage car one can afford, which is what Bruce Anderson of "Porsche Excellence" fame always emphasizes. As noted above by others, a nice M3 that hasn't been "rode hard and put away wet" should cost around $25,000 and have low mileage say in the 30K-ish miles range. Now, my experience won't mean your costs will be the same because we all make different decisions on how well a car should be maintained. I'm fairly anal about my maintenance but some others are not, so there will be a cost variance.

Now, if someone were to tell me years ago that I'd spend this kind of money on a car, I wouldn't have believed it. I, like many, wanted an M3 so I got one. In hindsight, would I still buy this car and still spend all this money, nope. I'd get something else and use the money for investment or some other useful endeavor. For me, what's done is done though. OP, I hope this educates you and enlightens you. Good luck on your choice and proceed wisely.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azw131 View Post
I'm thinking if I were to sell it on craigslist I could get $8000 for it. Now, I've been looking at the classifieds the past few weeks both on the forums and locally, and I've seen E46 M3's range in price from anywhere from $11,000 to $30000. I'd be looking to buy one that is running perfectly, in pretty good shape, and well maintained. I know for sure I'd want the coupe with the manual transmission, no way I'd buy a vert or an SMG. I don't really care how many miles the car has on it, as long is it's under 150k. How much do you guys think a car like that would cost realistically.
20k~
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:05 PM   #17
azw131
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This has been eye opening. I think for now I'm just gonna drive my 325 into the ground. I love it for what it is and I'm gonna keep it until it dies. Maybe then if I'm financially ready ill look into an M
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #18
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yeah, when i was on the hunt for an E46, i weighed the potential maintenance costs v. benefits of M3 ownership and couldn't justify it at this point in my life.

so i bought a ZHP coupe instead, and haven't regretted it at all. 8/10ths the performance of an M3 with much lower maintenance/insurance. ZHPs are more exclusive and subtle anyway
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:36 PM   #19
s1monove
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I bought mine 8 months ago at 25k miles, Its now on 31k and i have bought 4 new tyres..thats all. Ok, so i also put a warranty on it for 900 and bought a dynavin clone but apart from that, nothing else. (apart from lots, and lots of petrol!!!!)
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:25 PM   #20
justanotherone
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I've had my M3 for almost two years now. I've gone through so many tires, I've lost count (I'd have to check my e-mail for receipts to know how many). Still trying to figure out what's causing my tire wear issue. I've spent on spark plugs, obviously oil, oil filter, air filter, cabin air filter, differential fluid, transmission fluid, new clutch kit, camber arms (one of them is still sitting in my garage), idler pulley (also sitting in my garage), flex disc, ehhhh what else... I think that's it

Edit: Oh yea, fuel filter and fuel feed line
Edit: I think you can easily find a manual M3 for 20k. Good luck! Definitely high maintenance, but once you catch up to the slack the previous owner took complacently you'll be fine.

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