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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 05-01-2019, 02:59 PM   #1
Supercar Ace
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Sunny So Cal - LA
Posts: 1,306
My Ride: 01 BMW M3 Coupe LSB
10 Years of Driving Joy - Owners 10 Year Review of the E46 M3

As far as cars go, there's so many different and unique offers that sometimes it's hard to find a truly standout car that checks all the boxes. Something that looks good and the beauty stands the test of time. Something that has a nice sound and a sublime steering feel. Something that has speed, road feel and is just exhilarating to drive. I have a lot of experiences with cars, and so I will detail my ownership experience of my 2001 E46 M3.

I first picked up my M3 10 years ago today on May 1st, 2009. Two weeks prior I had seen a posting on Auto Trader for a 2001 E46 M3, with a manual transmission, 19" style 63 wheels and 52k miles on the odometer. Prior to that I drove a Saab 9-3 and was only out of college for 2 years. I had wanted one since 2003, when some drives in my friends E46 330Ci turned me on to BMW. After some research, I was hooked and it became my "must-get" dream car.

After having a broker do some inspections and have the car shipped from San Francisco, my car arrived around 8 pm on May 1st, 2009. Why this date was important was because I wanted to have it in time for Bimmerfest that year which was on May 2nd, 2009. The next morning I met up with my best friend who had just gotten his 2009 E92 M3 a week earlier and we took our first drive up to Santa Barbara for Bimmerfest.

As far as performance car is concerned, the E46 is just about perfect and is one of the greatest driver's cars of all time, as evidence by how many times BMW has tried to re-make it over the years. The steering is precise, you point, it goes and it gets there at a rapid pace. The driving feel is raw and connected, as every part of you connects to the car and you drive with your whole body, not just with your hands. The chassis is perfectly balanced and the car still has a solidly timeless look. It's a simple, sleek and powerful design that's minimalistic yet beautiful that still looks stunning today. Wile not the most powerful car in the world, it has all the power it needs, and if you look at the price of a used one, it's a lot of car for the money. And this car demands that your driving skills are on par to get the most from it, but it's both friendly enough for beginners to learn on and advanced enough to be rewarding for seasoned racers. I've driven my car about town, pushed it in the canyons, and tracked it on several racetracks, the M3 is a weapon perfectly suited for all those purposes.

From an upkeep perspective, my M3 has been a great car to own. In 10 years the only major things that have been done are:

- Fix a subframe crack before the car was delivered to me
- VANOS recall was done by the previous owner
- Replaced the original battery (died in 2010 after 9 years)
- Replaced the power steering pump in 2012
- Replaced the cylinder coil packs in 2013
- Replaced the alternator 2 times
- Replaced the VANOS Solenoid
- Replaced the fuel pump in 2018
- Replaced the suspension/shocks in 2018 (after 17 years)
- Replaced the battery again in 2019 (after another 9 years)

Other than that, it's just been random odds an ends (like gaskets, etc.) and changing the oil, tires, and brakes.

I've driven just about everything under the sun, from Porsche's, McLaren's and Lamborghini's to AMG's, Porsche's, Maserati's and modern BMW M cars. The E46 M3 still feels special to drive and there are only a few cars I miss driving while in the M3 (the Lamborghini Aventador SV being one of the few...that's how good the E46 is). But for example when I was getting a bumper respray done I had a C7 Covrvette for 4 days. While it was fun, I missed my M3. Once I got my M3 back, I didn't give the Vette a 2nd thought, though the C7 is a fantastic car. Even when I went to Honda's test track to thrash the new 2018 NSX around, my M3 was more fun to drive on the way home.

A very special thank you and cheers to BMW for making such a special machine, to my guys at Mini Corsa for keeping my car running strong all these years, and to all the friends and fellow enthusiasts I've met and driven with over the last decade. The plan for my M3 remains the same as they did 10 years ago: Drive it until the wheels fall off, and then by some more wheels.

My Car's Stats:

Make: BMW

Model: E46 M3

Color: Laguna Seca Blue (still factory original paint except for the front and rear bumpers and hood which have been resprayed due to rock chips)

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Mileage when bought: 52,000

Present Mileage: 186,000

Name: Sonic

Personal Ranking of Top 3 Favorite Cars I've Driven:

1. 2017 Lamborghini Aventador SV
2. 2008 Porsche 997 GT3
3. 2001 BMW E46 M3

Some other car's driven/tracked for reference (by no means a complete list):

2016 McLaren 570S Spyder
2012 Ferrari 458 Italia
1994 Acura NSX
2005 Ferrari F430 Scuderia
2015 Lamborghini Hurcan LP610-4 Huracan Spyder
1994 Acura NSX
2017 BMW F82 M4 Competition Package
2003 Ferrari Enzo
2004 Porsche Carrera GT
2012 Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale
2016 Acura NSX
2017 BMW M2
2014 BMW F10 M5
2018 Porsche 991 911 Turbo S
2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
2015 Chevy C7 Corvette Z51 Package

Club R / Instagram
2001 ///M3 Coupe' LSB

Supercar Ace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2019, 03:20 PM   #2
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Location: UK
Posts: 41
My Ride: E46 M3 Convertible
Is the SR71 photo taken at Beale AFB ?
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:47 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: S. FL
Posts: 40
My Ride: 02 M3 6M,01 325iT 5M
Congratulations! May 9 will be exactly 10 yrs I've owned my 2002 E46 M3 as well. It remains one of my favorite cars of all time.

Current BMW's:2002 M3 6MT Schwarz/Blk Nappa ;2017 330i //M Sport Alpinweiss/ Blk:2001 330iT 5MT Schwarz/Grey
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:08 PM   #4
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Great post on a GOAT car

Sent from my SM-G950U using E46Fanatics mobile app
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:16 AM   #5
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Location: Philly
Posts: 954
My Ride: 03 M3 Vert 2005 745i
Bravo! I think the e46 m3 will go down in history as one of the greatest cars ever built. Good feeling when your old Bmw can still destroy most cars on the road
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:06 AM   #6
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Location: NOVA
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My Ride: E46 M3
Year: 2002
Transmission: Manual
Great post!
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