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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 01-28-2013, 12:47 PM   #21
Mango
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That's not totally true. "bolt ons" can do quite a bit for an M3 motor, they just aren't cheap bolt on's like you'd find for a Chevy or a Honda.

An m3 motor can gain 40-50 HP from, a better tune, upgraded cams, high quality headers and an upgraded exhaust without the cats. That still costs pretty big $$$ though for fairly modest gains.
I used to own an E36 M3. While a good engine, the S52B32 is just a 328i engine w/ cams and better flowing exhaust. You sure won't get 12.5 out of it unless you take 1,000 lbs out of the car and even then you'd have to be lucky.

Then you just have an older car w/ a brittle chassis and interior
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #22
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OP, welcome to the forum.
A quick search would have given you all the answers. But here you go:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=884584

e46 non m is a good car as stock. To really get more out of it, you are looking at spending a lot of money. If you are looking at performance in stock form, I'd say get an m3 or look for a different brand. infiniti g35/37 comes to my mind.

I came from accord, then to eclipse then to BMW. Both my previous cars were v6 and not really tunable cars in terms of off-the-rack bolt ons. I dont like modding cars for performance, but if I were looking to get something to tune, I'd get one with the engine and chassis that is able to handle the tune from the get go.

Audi and VW turbos come to my mind right now when I think of tuning the car for more power. They are highly tunable with aftermarket turbo and tunes.

Just buy an audi a4 quattro and throw an aftermarket turbo with a tune. You have a good handling powerful car.

e46 non-m's are a pleasure to drive but not a fast car by any means. And tuning is very limited. I like the neutral characteristic of this car, its very balanced in terms of power, looks, sportiness and comfort.

I mean I can have fun in the canyons and I can take the same car to a fancy date or take my boss to lunch, and I can take it to roadtrips without getting tired and annoyed. It delivers everything I need in a single car rather than have 3 different cars for 3 different occasions.
I won't be picking up my fiancÚ in a tuned audi for a date, nor would be taking my boss to a lunch meeting in a jaw shattering track tuned miata.

PS: your ride states, you have a mclaren, why would are you looking for more power in an e46
I was kidding about the mclaren haha.. I was waiting for somebody to comment on that.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:09 PM   #23
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You could look into a b5 s4, pretty easy to make power off that engine.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:10 PM   #24
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They're great cars, but not as "change the oil and don't worry" maintenance-free as a Honda. They really shine with suspension modifications--if you just want to go fast in a straight line, I would look elsewhere.

I'd take the e36m3 over a 330Ci all day long.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:21 PM   #25
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I was kidding about the mclaren haha.. I was waiting for somebody to comment on that.

But my advice still stands, a B5 audi turbo would be hell lot easier to get more power and have a good handling with its quattro than try to squeeze power out of our b54s.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #26
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An E46 will be one of the best handling cars you've ever experienced. It's got a good balance of power and handling and comfort. Really, it's got everything. It's just not THAt fast. It'll still get up to well over 100 mph very easily though. It grips the road like no tomorrow with predictable limits. In terms of power, you'll have to go FI to get really noticeable gains. Like others have said, if you're interested in speed and you want a German car, get an Audi A4 1.8T. That can give you very large gains for much less money. It won't be as reliable, but it'll be fast as hell.

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Old 01-28-2013, 05:36 PM   #27
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But my advice still stands, a B5 audi turbo would be hell lot easier to get more power and have a good handling with its quattro than try to squeeze power out of our b54s.
I did take your advice very seriously.. still going to do my hw on a lot of things.. maybe the e46 isnt for me.. i would LOVE an e90 335xi but theyre out of my price range...
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:51 PM   #28
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They're great cars, but not as "change the oil and don't worry" maintenance-free as a Honda. They really shine with suspension modifications--if you just want to go fast in a straight line, I would look elsewhere.

I'd take the e36m3 over a 330Ci all day long.
I did the opposite. E46=safer, more refined (a LOT more refined), more creature comforts, worlds better interior, tighter panel gaps, similar power, slightly bigger brakes, better sound system, better quality exterior parts/trim/everything. Just a much nicer place to spend time in.

M3 is nice don't get me wrong but for my particular needs (daily driver) i prefer the 330.

if i could have both, I would.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:13 PM   #29
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I did take your advice very seriously.. still going to do my hw on a lot of things.. maybe the e46 isnt for me.. i would LOVE an e90 335xi but theyre out of my price range...
Any engine that comes with stock turbo is your best bet for power tuning. But as said above, might not well be just as comfortable and reliable.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:47 PM   #30
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I did the opposite. E46=safer, more refined (a LOT more refined), more creature comforts, worlds better interior, tighter panel gaps, similar power, slightly bigger brakes, better sound system, better quality exterior parts/trim/everything. Just a much nicer place to spend time in.

M3 is nice don't get me wrong but for my particular needs (daily driver) i prefer the 330.

if i could have both, I would.
I can understand that. I just prefer the ~500 pounds lighter, more room for wide tires, less electronic BS, etc.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:55 PM   #31
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I can understand that. I just prefer the ~500 pounds lighter, more room for wide tires, less electronic BS, etc.
makes a very good point.. I was installing my GF dynavin system.. and once i took out the stock head unit i felt as if it were an electrical mess back there.. and you have to take out so many panels for the most minimal things... needless to say the dynavin looks stunning on her dash.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:44 PM   #32
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the e46 does make for a pretty sweet DD though.. i must admit everytime i drive one i feel very comfortable and stylish! lol
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:49 AM   #33
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After doing some good research.. I think my best bet will be to get a e46 M3... everything I want in a car would sum it up that.. now here are my questions..

Realibility.. I LOVE TO DRIVE.. my price range is about 17k.. (hopefully get a loan from a credit union)

with that price range i have come across some M's in the milage is about 85-110k... how long will these I6 engines last me?

I want something that is going to last me a long time.. how long should I expect to keep it.. and what are somethings I should look for when buying.. Hopefully by march or april.. I am going to lower my bills hardcore this month.. then heopfully go get one..

I live in NJ and I do have a DD for nasty winter days...
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:47 PM   #34
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I did the opposite. E46=safer, more refined (a LOT more refined), more creature comforts, worlds better interior, tighter panel gaps, similar power, slightly bigger brakes, better sound system, better quality exterior parts/trim/everything. Just a much nicer place to spend time in.

M3 is nice don't get me wrong but for my particular needs (daily driver) i prefer the 330.

if i could have both, I would.
Word.

I went from a '99 E36 M3 to a 330 and don't miss much ... except that incessant brake light circuit warning.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:16 PM   #35
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so whats decent milleage for the M...
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:19 PM   #36
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After doing some good research.. I think my best bet will be to get a e46 M3... everything I want in a car would sum it up that.. now here are my questions..

Realibility.. I LOVE TO DRIVE.. my price range is about 17k.. (hopefully get a loan from a credit union)

with that price range i have come across some M's in the milage is about 85-110k... how long will these I6 engines last me?

I want something that is going to last me a long time.. how long should I expect to keep it.. and what are somethings I should look for when buying.. Hopefully by march or april.. I am going to lower my bills hardcore this month.. then heopfully go get one..

I live in NJ and I do have a DD for nasty winter days...
Eh, that's probably not the best choice. I'd look to spend more, but you could get one at that price. It would just need some work. The E46 M3 is a real M car and is quite expensive to maintain. Ask Alex323 though. He got an M3 pretty recently and can help you out I'm sure.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:06 AM   #37
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Yes I will look him up and pm him. I'm not trying to spend 20+ k on one..

They are great cars but I don't want to put myself into a huge debt for one. [still in college)

Yes I have thought of other options

E46- 328, 330ci,xi,I
Ap1 s2000
E36 m3
Wrx 02-06


But the e46m3 is at the top of my list..
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:08 AM   #38
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I don't want an m with like 140k... 120 is the highest ill go if its a killer price.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:57 AM   #39
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Buying a cheap M will likely end up costing more than buying one in good condition in the first place.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:28 AM   #40
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My question is how fast do you want to go? Is there a particular 0-60 time you want to achieve? My wife's Cayman will do 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, but my bone stock 325i with an auto (I know!) is more than fast enough to easily pass cars on a 2 lane road, merge onto interstates and change lanes quickly in traffic. I had an '84 VW GTI (the original one), a 91 VW GLI, then I drove an '86 325es. None of those cars had turbos, all had less than 150 HP, were quick and would turn on a dime. My favorite car is my current 325i and my #2 was the 325es. I would rather have a car that handled well than one that had 500 HP.
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