BMW E46 M3 (2000-2006) – occasion video & acquisition advisory

Posted on 17.11.2017 in Общая категория by


An M3 with one of the best engines ever built by BMW and already now available for less than 20 grand. What's the catch?

Obviously there are some points to watch, but first a little history lesson about the E46 M3. Compared to the regular E46 M3 coupe got the wider wheel arches and a wider track (20mm longer). The aluminum hood is 40% lighter and has a functional power dome in order to provide a sufficient space on the S54 engine. The front bumper has larger air intakes and the rear jump an E46 M3 look with custom bumper and the four outlets. The S54B32 bloc won the "International Engine of the Year" and "Best New Engine" in 2001 and was the winner in the category 3-4L from 2001 to 2006.

The standard E46 M3 had 343 horsepower, but the CSL has 17 hp more. 360 pieces so. That's not a huge difference, but the difference was also achieved with the "L" CSL: Leichtbau. They began removing insulation, navigation, air conditioning and radio. The last two were otherwise still be assembled and that was also done by many customers. In addition to these modifications, the power seats have been replaced with simpler ones without any electronics. There was also weight savings, including a thinner rear and some body parts were made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP). The roof is also replaced by a carbon copy.

Special bets in the front spoiler and rear bumper diffuser are made of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is also applied in the door panels and center console, while the bucket front seats and the rear seats of glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFK). This plastic is also used in the construction of the folding rear seat and rear carriers. The entire boot lid is made up of Sheet Molding Compound (SMC), a polymer material. The soil in the trunk consists of a lightweight honeycomb sandwich construction -paper.

The special lightweight exhaust and intake manifold from carbon fiber save further weight. Partly due to an extremely large aanzuigluchtopening the left in the front bumper and the entire intake pipe arises a characteristic sound race.

All these measures and adjusting the standard M3 CSL RDW reaches a weight of 1360 kg. The CSL is fitted with brake discs with a larger diameter; 345 × 28 mm for the
CSL with respect to 328 × 28 mm for standard M3.

BMW released a "M3 Competition Package" in 2005. This package contains elements that come from the CSL. The surcharge is € 5,400. Before you got:
• Alloy 19-inch wheels
• Extra sporty suspension
• More direct control (ratio: 14.5.1)
• M Track Mode (such as on the CSL)
• Larger brake discs front
• Alcantara steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake.

offer Used
The offer is in recent years that loses weight, but there are still twenty copies Marketplace for sale. In line with the production numbers is two-thirds a coupé and about a third regards convertibles. The ratio SMG versus manual transmission is its bit fifty-fifty. Prices vary as much as the odometer. If you do not have problem with that counter has passed the two tons, you can score an E46 M3 for less than 20 grand. A very nice specimen does so twice and the CSL you can do the same at least one more time.


  • driveability
  • Fast
  • an icon
  • Fixed value

Body and interior

  • Given the potential of the car, it is wise to check whether there has ever been damage.
  • The convertible obviously deserves a good control. Should this not opening or closing and / or poorly connected to the body, then it may be a sign of damage.
  • Normal E46 3-series rust faster than the M3, but there are a few points to check. The transition from the wheel housing to the rear, there is one and the edges surrounding the rear window is another.


  • Check the condition of tires and brakes, because replacement is relatively pricey.
  • The brakes are specific to the M3, so not cheap. If you do not much appreciate originality then you can consider doing to upgrade your brakes, which can turn out cheaper than OEM BMW stuff and so well were the standard brakes not ending.
  • Please note that the belts (wear) and which tires are mounted. In this type of car tires fit any budget, which could be an indication that there is skimped on maintenance.


  • First check to be seen whether or first oil change is performed at 2000 km from the documentation.
  • And then walk the rest of the logbook and any folder invoices.
  • Connecting rod bearing shells must be changed up to 100,000 kilometers. The problem is that you hear outside fits when it is already too late, so when in doubt rather than switching delay. There is a recall of the connecting rod bearing shells have been combined with an oil pump which did not do well. For motors built to 03-2003 will the shells (or the entire block) have been replaced once under warranty.
  • An M3 that rattles in the (cold) start, stalls easily spontaneous loss of power does or does not run smoothly, probably VANOS problems. VANOS is BMW's variable camshaft adjustment hydraulically works with oil. The rubber O-rings may leak, solenoid valve may be defective, causing the camshaft not good or fast enough twists. Letting read error codes is not a luxury, especially since some repairs may run into the paper.
  • The SMG II bin has different switching positions. S5 and S6 are the fastest and that should really go rap. Make sure that you have a SMG container in different positions and accelerations extended test.


  • Electrical gremlins: check all options including the audio system.
  • Specific issues affecting higher than average defect: the power window, pixel loss navigation screen, the central locking system (called GM5 module).
  • The poker of the manual transmission is supposed to be illuminated.
  • The rear-view mirror is a zelfdimmend copy, and that operates with fluid. In the years that liquid often sinks to replace down and is relatively expensive.
  • From September 2001 the M3 got standard bi-xenon lamps. The automatic height adjustment it usually causes the mind.

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