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e46 M3 - thoughts?

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at the e46 M3 (pre-owned) and wanted to know what I should expect in terms of cost of ownership - cost of dealership maintenance, common problems, etc.


http://www.tezta.com/CarPics1/m3_C20_1.JPG


Thanks,
post #2 of 81
If you maintain it properly, it will last for a very long time. However, it is a high-performance car with a high-strung engine, so expect regular maintenance to be expensive. Its brakes, tires, and oil will also be expensive.

If it's a June 03 model or earlier, make sure that the crankshaft problem has been fixed. BMW fixed all of these under warranty.

I don't believe this engine suffers from the usual coolant impeller, thermostat, or radiator neck failures that the regular 3-series do.

Check that the regular services were done at the right time. This involves adjusting the valve timing as well.

The diff and transmission oil should have been changed at 30K mile intervals. Engine oil should be at 7500 miles (not 15000 or whatever the current interval is). The car should have had a break-in oil change at 1200 miles --- this was required by BMW.

The rear shock mounts die easily and cause a clunking noise. Make sure they're still good.

The shock absorbers die pretty quickly, so make sure they're OK.

The picture you linked looks like a modified car. Make sure the mods were added on by people who knew what they were doing.

If this is a non-US car (judging by your picture) and has SMG, then check to see how many times launch control was used. Apparently after a few launches, the car disables launch control to save the clutch.

Whatever you do, have a trusted and competent mechanic look over it before buying the car. The E46s in general are very solid cars.

--Andre
post #3 of 81
OP, sorry for the aside.... Andre, I'm buying a car come the new year, and I'm fairly set on a Z4 Coupe, but debate getting the M or not, from mileage, cost, and maintenance concerns. What forum would you point me towards for these cars, and do you have any comment? Thanks, Huntsman
post #4 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
OP, sorry for the aside....

Andre, I'm buying a car come the new year, and I'm fairly set on a Z4 Coupe, but debate getting the M or not, from mileage, cost, and maintenance concerns. What forum would you point me towards for these cars, and do you have any comment?

Thanks,
Huntsman

Not to derail the thread but good choice on the Z4. I'm handing mine back in august (tear). Next time we meet again she will be an M.

dl
post #5 of 81
I had one, 05 convertible. Fun fast car, ran well. But the tires are the absolute killer, you will need a full set every 10K or so, sometimes less. Watch out.
post #6 of 81
www.bimmerfest.com

There's a great wiki a user created for E46s in the forums.
post #7 of 81
+1 on pretty much what Andre has said. Also, try www.e46fanatics.com for more info.
post #8 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
Andre, I'm buying a car come the new year, and I'm fairly set on a Z4 Coupe, but debate getting the M or not, from mileage, cost, and maintenance concerns. What forum would you point me towards for these cars, and do you have any comment?

Nice choice. If it's the M, then you'll have the same engine issues as the M3, but since it's a new car, the crankshaft bearing issue shouldn't be a problem.

If it's the normal Z4, you'll have to watch out for the radiator neck failing, the coolant impeller failing, and thermostat failing. The first two will strand you, while the last is more of a nuisance. Besides that, the engine is solid and is one of the sweetest engines out there.

The car's pretty new, so it's too early to tell what else could go wrong.

From a practical POV, the M coupe has a much smaller trunk because the battery takes up a big chunk. Visibility is pretty limited in either coupe, too. If it were me, I'd get the M. The non-M is nice: it's lighter, has better gas mileage, and cheaper, but the chassis really can handle quite a bit more power. In either case, it's a rare car.

Bimmerfest pretty much has the best Z4 forum around with lots of knowledgeable people (eg. Ron Stygar) hanging out there.

People I know who are very good drivers say that the Z4 is pretty much the best handling car BMW made. That was before the E9x 3-series and 1-series, so that may have changed.

--Andre
post #9 of 81
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info...I suppose its time to do my hw and due dilly. Hopefully I'll find myself behind the wheel of one of these. I'm still having a hard time between this car and the Acura NSX...both so sweet...
post #10 of 81
Get the NSX. It is a classic. The E46 M3 is nice, but the NSX is singular.

http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dggtsppm_6cgtnscht

--Andre
post #11 of 81
I like the looks of the e46 M3 better than the current version. Very nice looking car with a lot of getup.
post #12 of 81
Thread Starter 
The only tough part is finding an NSX in good shape and at a reasonable price...
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew View Post
Nice choice. If it's the M, then you'll have the same engine issues as the M3, but since it's a new car, the crankshaft bearing issue shouldn't be a problem. If it's the normal Z4, you'll have to watch out for the radiator neck failing, the coolant impeller failing, and thermostat failing. The first two will strand you, while the last is more of a nuisance. Besides that, the engine is solid and is one of the sweetest engines out there. The car's pretty new, so it's too early to tell what else could go wrong. From a practical POV, the M coupe has a much smaller trunk because the battery takes up a big chunk. Visibility is pretty limited in either coupe, too. If it were me, I'd get the M. The non-M is nice: it's lighter, has better gas mileage, and cheaper, but the chassis really can handle quite a bit more power. In either case, it's a rare car. Bimmerfest pretty much has the best Z4 forum around with lots of knowledgeable people (eg. Ron Stygar) hanging out there. People I know who are very good drivers say that the Z4 is pretty much the best handling car BMW made. That was before the E9x 3-series and 1-series, so that may have changed. --Andre
Thanks, Andre, I appreciate it. I wonder why they are so (comparatively) rare? I've only seen one, an M, and it was a stunner. I never really liked convertibles, so it's an easy choice for me. ~ Huntsman
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post
Thanks, Andre, I appreciate it. I wonder why they are so (comparatively) rare? I've only seen one, an M, and it was a stunner. I never really liked convertibles, so it's an easy choice for me.

I'm not sure. The Z coupes have always been cult cars. The Z3 because it was so polarizing in its look, but it's one of my favorite cars judging by its looks alone. The Z4 looks more mainstream, relatively speaking, but I think it's still an acquired taste for most people.

--Andre
post #15 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by micbain View Post
The only tough part is finding an NSX in good shape and at a reasonable price...
Actually,

The NSX can be had for a good price depending on year, plus you rarely find any with an outrageous number of miles. In Houston, it's not uncommon to find a 91'-93' in the $25,000-35,000 range. If I didn't need the extra room, I would easily take a NSX over an M3, just for the sake of owning a great handling exotic...the Acura is definately rarer, and would likely garner more attention (if that's what you want).
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