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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 04-23-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
disasterpiece
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Its M3 time. Now, e46 or e93?

Hi fanatics,

So I just wanted to share my story, my dillema and my love, and get some casual feedback from the community. I havent posted in forever and ever either.

I have always lusted after the silver/imola red E46 M3 convertible. In the year 2005 I bought a new car and made two major mistakes.

I bought instead a lovely 330ci convertible and then spent another couple grand on a factory hardtop and some bolt-ons, thinking if I tweaked on it, it would satisfy my M desire, for 10k less. At the time, as a self supporting student I really could barely afford the 330. Anyways that was the first mistake. I should have saved more and just bought the M3 later, instead of other miscellaneous crap I did not need. I did have lots of fun top down motoring here in the mid-atlantic and a ton of pride out of owning my 330 but after driving the M3 I was never satisfied.

The second mistake was that I allowed myself to buy a steptronic. Holy mother of God.

Its almost a sin that the 3 series even comes in anything but Manual Trans right?

So now, as an older young adult (or oxymoron by that logic) I have the unique opportunity to really dig in and buy that M3 I always wanted. Except now, its 2013 and I've gone out and driven the e90, the e92 and e93 and boy am I confused.

First off, my wife and I really love occaisional top down motoring, but the e93 is just kinda awful looking. I mean looks alone, the e46 is kinda timeless, right?

But that growling monster of a V8 under the hood... Man thats a real reason to say screw the vert and get a e92 and use my wrangler when i wanna put the top down.

But, the kid in me, who in 2004 couldnt afford the "perfect" M3 as described above now realizes that I can afford it now, and leave a lot of money left in my bank.

Most important to me in this order:

1. Late model M car. (Is 2005-06 still late model lol?)
2. Manual trans only. Only.
3. Convertible. Yes, I know i live in Annapolis and its not the diehard way to go but hey, im not a die hard racer.

In my opinion the only way to get both an m3 and a convertible that is not a little hard on the eyes to behold I have got to go with the E46.

Tell me i'm wrong?

I dont think its neccesarily worth (but I can or I would not be polling) spending 10-15k more for an M3 that is a bit more powerful but a lot less graceful.

Am I missing something with the e93? It seems like they made the retractable hardtop without a whole lot consideration for aesthetics.. Its really only tolerable in darker Jerez or Black, as you see less lines in the roof.

Any comments are appreciated. At the end of the day, I am fortunate enough to have the dire problem of picking the right M3..poor me.


- AB

Last edited by disasterpiece; 04-23-2013 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:13 AM   #2
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:08 AM   #3
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If your asking if you should get a e93 or e46? My answer is e93 all day every day. Don't think about it!
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:18 AM   #4
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^ +1
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:31 AM   #5
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I'd get an E92 that has some warranty left, and here's why. Sure you could get an E46, and save some money, but you'll always have the worry about Vanos failure, subframe failure, etc. The E9X has proven to be much more reliable. I'm personally not a convertible fan, so id'd get a coupe, or sedan. Probably the sedan since we have a child. I was close to getting an E90 when the rumors about the new M3 emerged ( lighter and twin turbo), and I've decided to wait. With a tune it should be a monster if you look what a 1M can achieve with one.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:42 AM   #6
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Pffft I'd go a e46 all day. Like u said the shape is timeless, and if its not as fast as u want it to be chuck a super/turbo charger on it. The e93 is great but with a drop and some nice bbs wheels on a e46 u can't go wrong. Future classic
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:50 AM   #7
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I was in the same place as you a couple weeks ago (minus wanting the convertible). I was set on a 2013 e92 but with the fact that the next one is just around the corner I said to myself I would make an exception if a clean Laguna Seca Blue Non-SMG M3 came up locally. I had waited for a while and decided to go an and look at options to order the e92 at the local BMW dealership (BMW of Murray, Utah is awesome). Configured everything I wanted and was going to pull the trigger after sleeping on it; then the very next day sure enough, a super clean and well maintaned Laguna Seca Blue without SMG popped up and I jumped all over it. While the e92 is a great looking car, it lacks what makes the e46 M3 so iconic and will go down as one of the greatest M3's ever made.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:15 AM   #8
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OP, I was in your spot a few years back and I ended up with TiAg/Imola/6MT/Vert and let me tell you - I couldn't be happier! yes the V8 sounds amazing, but as some of the other members have stated, E46 will go down as a classic. Short story - 2 days ago I was cruising topless (car, not myself) down PCH here in SoCal and an older gentleman in a brand new 991 porsche 911 Cabriolet S pulls up next to me at a light and asks "how do you like it"? I replied with, I LOVE IT. He smiled at me and said "it's a beautiful car - classic good looks my man, I love it". I told him I thought his porsche was a sexy piece of engineering as well, we had a laugh and went on our way.

I'll be putting a new exhaust on her in the next few weeks, but I can say with 100% certainty that I love my e46. A good friend had an e93 DCT (lame, but fast as hell and really amazing tech, just boring and not purist imo vs a 6mt) and I liked it, but it felt too new to me. I dream of the day I'm driving down the road and someone drools over it *again*

good luck with your decision, either one is a great car...but money in the bank is always a good thing.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone - ultimately the decision is mine but I really love all the enthusiasm for either one!

Vivaxious - It's something in me that says, so what if it's not the newest thing, when I really really wanted one, this was the one I wanted, so just because a faster one is out there, I still have that soft spot for e46 body style in part, for the reaction myself and as you pointed out others have when they see one.

But there are other great points too about age and reliability, and still at 25-30k for a 05-06 6MT with under 45k miles, it's a risk.

But so is a 2008-2009 (which is the only e93 i can afford) will not have any, if only a little warranty left.

So I understand the points made but for me, its not about warranty.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:37 AM   #10
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I think you should ask this question on m3forum where people who own both cars can chime in. Just my .02. That said, drive them directly back to back and see which you like better then weigh the pros and cons in all aspects.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
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the e9x chassis is definitely more complaint and rides better than the e46. My wife has one in Atlantic blue and though the interior is quite stale compared to my e46, its an excellent daily driver.

as for an M, I would go fro the e93 over the e46 m3 unless you plan to keep it forever as a tuner car(like me and supercharge/turbo it).

"Out of the box" other than design appeal, the e9x is going to be a better overall car.

I had a 330ci since 2001, and currently in an e46 m3. I told myself , man can you really stand this same interior for another ten years??

it was an easy choice for me. Much easier knowing that with my mods, I am faster than current m3s on the road. Unless you're going to spend another 10-15k on forced induction, I would totally go for the last of the v8 3 series..
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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Everything depends upon your priorities. If you don't mind sacrificing some comfort, refinement, and performance for a more raw, connected feel, get the e46. If it's all about the performance numbers, look at the e92. It becomes more complicated if you are looking at the drop-tops. I, for one, detest folding hardtops. Apart from the fact that there is (a lot) more that can go wrong with them, they are next to useless if you actually want to simultaneously drive with the top down and carry anything in the boot. Are they more secure than a folding cloth top? Perhaps, but somebody who wants to get into your car will still have an easier time breaking a window than slicing through the canvas and getting around the metal frame, cables, and wires in the soft top. That they can do with a folding hardtop as well.

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Old 04-23-2013, 04:03 PM   #13
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No need to worry about sub frame failure on e46 verts. It's extremely rare for it to fail.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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I dont think the ragtop on the e46 looks any better then the hard roof on a convertible e93, no matter how many lines it has.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
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I've driven both now and can say that the difference is plus as minus in both directions. Most those reasons are covered here.


I notice the e9x is super capable and beyond powerful, and suitable for me and my wife to enjoy at casual speeds.

The e46 has the look, and feels awesome in the twisties, but for the same reason I am selling my WRX, it's too dang connected to the road an ultimately the only chick I desire to take out on a regualar basis is my wife and she was on the e93 test ride with me and basically was floored that it was as grunts and fast as my WRX but she was comfortable.


I am pretty sure this solves it - ill report back when the decision is final and thank you thank you everyone for indulging me!

Aaron
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:25 PM   #16
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Its M3 time. Now, e46 or e93?

If a broken soft top can be one expensive fix, after seeing a E93 fold up I know if that sh1t breaks its gonna cost an E46 330 to fix it. Seriously. It's amazing to watch but I cringe at the thought of stuff breaking.

I have a softop M3 and I'm one happy mofo.


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Old 04-26-2013, 08:07 PM   #17
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I'd try to find a way to test drive them both. They both have different driving characteristics and it's very different with a V8 vs an I6. I would buy an E46 and spend the money you have left over on upgrades to make it more beautiful than it already is and faster then the E93 by turbo/supercharging or even a CSL airbox would help. If money isn't an issue then the E93 is kind of more refined in a way and the hardtop is a big plus for an everyday driver since they don't ware out as compared to the soft top. Honestly, if the E64 M6 is an option, that is the one to get for obvious reasons.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #18
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While I agree with most of what you have posted, I take issue with your observation that the folding hard tops don't wear out. While metal panels are somewhat more durable than canvas, they are still subject to oxidation, just like sunroofs. Just as is the case with sunroofs, moisture tends to accumulate between the panels, and after a period of time rust will appear. Moreover, each panel fits against its neighboring panel with a weatherstripping seal that will eventually dry out and leak. Ask anybody who has suffered the tribulations of either a targa top or a t-top. Finally, the hydroelectric system utilized to raise and lower the top is at least as vulnerable to wear and tear as that utilized on the fabric top, only the mechanical bits are much harder to access.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:13 AM   #19
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If you're buying a DD get the e93.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:45 AM   #20
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While I agree with most of what you have posted, I take issue with your observation that the folding hard tops don't wear out. While metal panels are somewhat more durable than canvas, they are still subject to oxidation, just like sunroofs. Just as is the case with sunroofs, moisture tends to accumulate between the panels, and after a period of time rust will appear. Moreover, each panel fits against its neighboring panel with a weatherstripping seal that will eventually dry out and leak. Ask anybody who has suffered the tribulations of either a targa top or a t-top. Finally, the hydroelectric system utilized to raise and lower the top is at least as vulnerable to wear and tear as that utilized on the fabric top, only the mechanical bits are much harder to access.
Yep. Gonna be a nightmare.
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