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Why the E46 BMW M3 Remains a Great Car to Own Even 10 Years Later

In a word, “performance.” The E46 BMW M3 delivers outstanding performance with one of the most highly praised modern BMW powertrains. Snag an older BMW M3 for sale to enjoy a superior brand and build worth your budget and road hours. A decade after its release, the E46 M3 continues to seduce with a rush of sound and swagger. Bank on this Bimmer to enjoy nimble engineering, sexy and impressive from the ground up.

On the Powertrain

On BMWs, another “M” means “Motorsport.” So, don’t be cautious. Send 333 horses running straight from the E46 M3 3.2L I6 with 262 lb.-ft. of torque. Drivers hit 8,000 rpm on demand and enjoy one fast 0-60 before reaching the governor at 155 mph. Yeah, you’d definitely like to top that number.

Count on BMW to always complete the package. Two transmission options accompany the E46 M3 engine – one pinned with mix reviews, the other a hands-down dream. The former, an SMG automated manual (SMG II and our friends from Car and Driver tested it), eagerly pushes through the gears without a clutch. Unfortunately, this makes switching to automatic a necessary function in town. By contrast, the 6-speed manual propels drivers at a pace perfectly synced with what’s screaming under the hood.

E46 BMW M3 Interior

A Driver’s Dream

If you’re going to compare handling specs, it’s nearly pointless to do so across earlier M3 installments. The E30, E36 and E46 all grip the black top with differing curb weights and response times, leaving driver/owner subjectivity to rule. Of course, all remain incredible to drive, and necessary to drive if you want to weigh in on the debate. In the meantime, know the E46 didn’t – and doesn’t – slouch. Swipe a BMW M3 for sale to revel in smooth steering, plus the power to pedal down post-drift. Corners, curves and straightaways come all on your terms.

The Bang for Your Buck

Once a bit pricey, the E46 BMW M3 now shines as a great consumer value (minus the gas money and oil changes). Legroom and storage turn this sporty racer into a practical daily driver with undeniable panache. In fact, these features on a better-built machine make the E46 M3 an investment worth any performance car buyer’s attention. Surprisingly available under $20,000, you shouldn’t pay more than $18,000 (stock). Cut a check and blast.

10 Years Later

Spin a E46 BMW M3 from any production year (2000-2006) to realize, ten years later, you’ve still got a winner. It’s raw power pressed inside a compact hub, classy both inside and out. Now time’s tipped the scales, leaving low mileage Bimmers, tuned and stock, available for the taking. Fortunately, E46 looks still compete, complementing every performance feature to the finish line.

If you prefer reliability, fuel economy, and other family-oriented details to performance, you’ve definitely been on the wrong page. But, BMW M3s tends to change minds, taste and the importance you place on “driving pleasure.” Expect nothing less than a machine made to race.

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