When BMW released the third generation M3, it was by far the most usable M3 ever. The straight six engine is one of the finest ever built by the BMW M Division and the unique bodywork sets it apart from lesser 3-series models. The design and styling cues are timeless. It is the perfect blend between old and new world performance car technology. Prices have been stable for the last three years and are now rising fast as the best examples are being sought out by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
BMW summed up the third generation M3 in three words. Power. Precision. Passion. Straight from the factory the BMW M3 E46 Coupe is good for a lap at the Nürburgring in 8 minutes 22 seconds on normal road tyres. The power plant is a naturally aspirated, straight six engine that can rev to 8,000 rpm mounted up front, connected to the rear wheels in a relatively lightweight bodyshell with perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
driver focused and performance orientated. Everything you need and nothing you don’t
The power dome on the aluminium bonnet is a hint at the straight six power within, the dual twin stainless steel exhaust tips at the rear leave you in no doubt. Aggressively flared wheel arches, large front spoiler and quad tailpipes clearly distinguigh the E46 M3 from lesser 3-series models. The chrome side gills pay hommage to the classic CS models of the sixties. The E46 M3 is fast becoming an icon, a modern classic. The purposeful, muscular lines define the E46 M3, so will your emotions as soon as you turn the key in the ignition. The free revving straight six has an unmistakable rasp on throttle will send tingles up your spine.
the E46 M3 announces its presence with a wonderfully unique metallic rasp
The six cylinder is an engineering masterpiece, double VANOS variable valve timing and six individual throttle butterflies. The drivetrain features an M Variable differential which elevates the handling through corners way beyond any other 3-series model. Dynamic Stability Control, ABS and Dynamic Brake Control enable you to drive safely and quickly no matter what the conditions. Xenon headlights aim/calibrate every time you start the car, you can see it level up and down as if scanning the road before you set off.
There isn’t a scenario where the E46 M3 doesn’t excel, which is what makes it the ultimate all round ownership experience
Straight from the factory the BMW M3 E46 Coupe is good for a lap at the Ring in 8 minutes 22 seconds, on normal street tires. Not many cars that were produced back in 2000 could hold their head up to the M3. It wasn’t just the outright speed that made it so intoxicating, it was how it produced all that power. A naturally aspirated, straight six engine that could rev to 8,000 rpm up front, connected to the rear wheels in a relatively lightweight bodyshell and perfect 50:50 weight distribution. The E46 M3 was the final evolution of the glorious M-Power straight-six engine.
“If you’re after an everyday supercar, few vehicles can rise to the challenge like BMW’s third-generation M3. Capable of delivering thrills with every drive, the M3 offers a sublime chassis with a beautifully free-revving 3.2-litre straight six motor.”
The CS (Competition Package), CSL (Coupe Sport Leichtbau) & GTR raised the performance bar even further, but actually the original formula is pretty much perfect. A huge number were produced over its six year reign, but that doesn’t detract from its value and appeal among car enthusiasts and collectors. The finest example cars will always be covetted and sought after.
Options included the highly acclaimed SMG II automated manual (£2,250), satnav (£2,445) and 19 inch alloy wheels (£895).
The colours available when new included:
Alpine White III
Imola Red II
Laguna Seca Blue
Carbon Black metallic
Black Sapphire metallic
Titanium Silver metallic
Diamond Black metallic
Steel Grey metallic
Silver Grey metallic
Topaz Blue metallic
Mystic Blue metallic
Interlagos Blue metallic
Oxford Green II metallic
Phoenix Yellow metallic
The M3 was available with either Nappa leather in a number of colours including Black, Grey, Imola Red, Cinnamon, Laguna Seca Blue or Kiwi. Alcantara was also available in Anthracite with Black Nappa leather.