Tuesday, 28 August 2007

M3 E46 End of Term Review

Well here we go , an attempt to sum up this car.......

I have owned my (previous) M3 for 18 months , in that time going from 10,000 miles up to 42,000 miles.
A silver grey 04 plate.
I traded in a new Mini Cooper s (modified to 220bhp+) for this car.
Most of these were spent going up and down the motorway between Glasgow and Warrington (450 miles round trip) every weekend.
I regularly saw 32 mpg crusing @ 85 mph motorway, and 27 ish general travelling around.

PLUS POINTS (so many but heres a few!

Very understated looks , only those in the know really notice.
The 'fat' rear track. The twin pipes , BMW got the subtle look just right on the E46 M3 imho.

Fuel economy! ok you dont buy one of these cars for this , but its a huge bonus,
32mpg on the motorway just insane for a 340bhp car.
Can you name another car with this much power that does that?

Practicality , huge boot yet porsche pace. Only issue is making sure you dont damage the lovely nappa leather.

Performance (surprise!), can drive slowly , amazing tractability , or race car pace when reqd
The engine! rpm range is truly brill , workable pull from 2k to 8k.
No more getting caught passing cars having to change gear , 3rd just supreme.
Rate of acceleration above 100mph+ to limiter (private test track of course).
M3 just excels at the point your licence goes out the window.

Never really drove with sport button on , preferred more progressive throttle control

The exhaust noise with rear windows open and a full 7900rpm on the clock :-)

The rasp when its cold (ok no revs allowed but you can still hear it at 2k rpm)

Those polished alloys , a brilliant contrast to a subtle body (polished alloy)

seats are supreme, hold you well , remember settings. I dont think my back ever hurt.

grip (with the right tyres GSD3 F1), feel throughout the car when pushing on , t/c rarely intervenes in the dry.
Interferes too abruptly in the wet , smoother in the wet with it off

Xenon lights :-), std equipment but a must have for any car these days

And the sheer driving 'experience' , no drive was just a trip , every journey was a joy.
Rain , Sleet , Snow (caught around Birmingham in the big snow!),
this performance machine instils total confidence in ALL conditions.

I went from 220bhp FWD to 340bhp RWD and although you do need to respect an M3 , I found the transition very easy


The way they all seem to drive like 'dogs' from cold lol

Costs to keep it in correct 'manner' are significant , but not excessive.

'Acoustic feedback' from the transmission ! I remember the first time I reversed into a parking space and thought the whole diff had destroyed itself!
Most seem to do it , but its easy to drive 'around' it. But I do feel it could have been a bit better.

Clutch is a pain , I think a CDV delete would sort this out. 1st to 2nd was always a excercise in 'patience'
(in fact the manual version drives better when you 'push' on a bit and quicken the pace)

polished alloys , one scrape and ... refurb still not the OE finish.

interior very germanic, to the point of it being 'unexciting', maybe a bit more special (dare I say like the RS4 !)

Engine sounds like its had it, lots of noise lol

Brakes can be made to fade even on road. Never actually lost pedal totally though.

Insurance costs @ Group20 are a serious , but are probably the main reason why M3 are still kept in a specialist market . Although it seems this is now changing.

std fit audio is cr*p beyond belief for a car of this value!

Warranty costs.

Understeer wasnt bad , but I felt could be improved , and some time at Thorneys would soon sort that.

(I have outlined some negatives , but really most of them are just being very picky :-) )

My favourite moment was racing a couple of motorbikes around the roads around the Carbeth Inn nr Glasgow.
(as a former motorbike owner I know these roads :-) ), really good fun and I kept up better than I thought. I even think the bikers were impressed :grinteeth:
The M3 gets better the harder you push it. Rear squats down , tyres dig in , and the package just comes together........

Regrets? none :-) , apart from the fact i wish I had done a track day , but the poor brakes just put me off enough to never do it.

To any new M3 owners, heres some 'suggestions' :

1. Check your tyre pressures
2. Check the oil (regularly!), it may not use it (mine didnt) but just in case...
3. Use good quality tyres (PS2 or GSD3F1)
4. Use 97+RON fuel. For me the M3 felt flat on normal fuel.
5. A noisy engine is just the way it is ;-), dont worry just enjoy it :-)
6. Acoustic feedback is a way of life , just drive around it.
7. Keep up to date on bm3w , its a wealth of knowledge that often pust your mind at rest.
8. Enjoy it and make sure once its warm you exercise the full rev range, inc the brakes. M3 's are meant to be driven and hard (in the right sense)

Will I get one again? Yes I hope so, ideally a CSL in years to come.
Equivalent cars in the market today? none
Nothing matches the sheer all round ability of the M3 E46.
Its all cars to all people.
Sure performance benchmarks have moved on (the M3 isnt as invincible as we would all hope against many of todays hot hatches!)

Thats it my homage , to a car I considered a dream as I was growing up , but now Ive had a chance to enjoy.

The greatest car I will ever own ? Probably :-)

The E46 M3 , what a car .............

Saturday, 25 August 2007

M3 sold!!!

Yes , I can scarcely believe its true , but I have just watched my pride and joy drive away this morning.
Congratulations to the new owner , I hope he enjoys the car as much as I did.

So here (for now it ends), car went with 42,000 miles on clock.
I will eventually do a full writeup of M3 experience.

18 months ownership , 32,000 miles and a whole lot of fun.

I loved it , and would recommend everyone to have one at some point in there lives.
Fast, economical (not at the same time!), practical too :-)

Golf not here for 2 months , so not sure where to go from here........

Monday, 20 August 2007

M3 calipers get painted too !

Yep , once you pop you just cant stop...

After seeing the lovely black calipers of the MR2 I reckoned the M3 needed the same (ok yes Im selling it , but visually it will look better! and besides I'll enjoy it).

Got home tonight and got stuck into the M3
Took my time , painted calipers and cleaned and polished the inside edges of the wheels. I have to say the M3 wheels are really light for their reqd usage, I remember the compomotive wheels I fitted to my old mini cooper s (new shape) being much heavier!!
I also cleaned up the front discs to remove any edges , they look so much better.
Ok many will think its a bit an*l but it really is worth doing , and Ive been talking about doing it since I bought the car!

All in all a busy 2 days for car DIY :-)
I love it (although my hands dont ! they really hurt) , and feel the need for more ...... dont expect much todo on the ed30 though.

will try and get some pics up soon.

MR2 Mk3 front brakes renewal

well I finally went ahead and did it!

Quote from toyota was £320, and with money freeflowing out my hands at the moment I need to save some cash if I can. So DIY it is.

front discs , pads and fitting kit bought from some very helpful people at Brakes International the Bolton branch, wasnt sure but recommended by Allan , so if theres a problem I can blame him ;-)
On a side note the customer service was superb.

All in , a frankly ridiculous £72 ! , (and I will be taking the fitting kit back -£13 which is just 4 spring clips I reused old ones).
Quality seems fine , some nice shiny discs , and generic pads (box didnt list MR2 but listed several Yaris models)

Onto the DIY
Found a guide at
Toyota Owners Club fitting guide which at least shows you what to expect.

It clearly shows the rubber pad and metal pad you need to unclip from each old pad an refit to your new pads.
The pad supports are what you get in the fitting kit (4 of in 1 kit),I re-used the old ones , but its up to you.
Dont worry there are NO fixing screws holding the disc to the hub, so it will eventually come off , but it may need some persuading in the form of a large 'impliment'
The discs were wrecked on the inside surface (outer visible through wheel surface looked fine), the inner pad was also down to 2mm material left.

Remember towipe the disc surface to remove the oil and ensuring you dont get any dirt inbetween the important mating surfaces (which may cause vibration etc)

Good cleanup, copper grease used sparingly in the right places (dont overdo it , it will just make a mess).

I would check that the sliders in the carrier work , mine were seized, but quickly freed off with a bit of movement.

I also took the opportunity to clean up the caliper with a wire brush and paint it with satin black smoothrite (yeah I know its not high temp, but from prev experience I know with a good surface prep it works well). Remember and get satin as gloss is a bit too bling lol

If you are feeling keen then its also a good chance to clean the inside edges of the wheels and get some polish on them, visually it can make a huge difference :-)

[pics of old discs to follow]

Push brake pedal to take up slack , then after waiting for the caliper paint to dry I took the car out to gently bed in the brakes. Just some light pedal pressure so far , but what a difference :-)
Will give them about 100 miles then attempt a few big stops to really bed them in.

All in all I took my time and it (so far) has worked out well.
Next job is to get the rear wheels off now and paint those calipers too.

A very simple job that almost anyone could tackle , and the price is right :-)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

more M3 pics

sunny evening , car for sale , what else could I do , but wash it and take some more pics :-)

Car averaged 31.7 MPG @ 85 MPH on a run to scotland and back at the weekend which is probably better than I will get in the golf!
Dropped to 28 MPG whilst commuting though.
Now just passed 42,000 miles.

Also ordered some brake discs for the MR2 from brakesinternational (Thanks Allan) , which seems extremely cheap but hopefully good quality.
Will need to remember how to use a socket set :-) , its been a while since I was rebuilding the mini engine lol (its been 10 yrs now wonder where it is now?)


Friday, 3 August 2007

M3 goes up for sale!!!!


is there any more to say , Im gutted , what a car ..............

2004 / 04 BMW E46 M3 manual
Silver Grey / Full Black Nappa Leather
2004 July build Facelift Model so has the LED rear lights and wider rear boot handle.

Car has a FULL and up to date Main Dealer BMW Service History.
28/06/2004 : Originally supplied by Henry Bros , Glasgow.
08/09/2004 : Running in service at 1304 miles by Henry Bros, Glasgow.
01/02/2006 : Oil Service at 10163 miles by Henry Bros , Glasgow.
14/08/2006 : Inspection I at 24809 miles by Henry Bros , Glasgow.
21/06/2007 : Oil Service at 38486 miles by Williams , Manchester.

Car currently shows 41500 miles
11750 miles indicated to next service by dash, which will be an Inspection II at approx 53000 miles

I bought car in March 2006 from Henry Bros , Glasgow with 10200 miles on clock.
The car has then covered mostly motorway miles to the current mileage of 41500 miles.
So a total of 2 owners from new.
Fully documented history and HPI Clear.
All original BMW books, folders and receipts and service book history, inc all receipts for all work.

Taxed until 31/01/2008
MOT until 28/06/2008
BMW Warranty until 27/06/2008 (transferable to new owner )

Work done at various points in my ownership

Xenon LHS bulb replaced under warranty (flickering)
New rear springs replaced under warranty (common M3 fault)
New tyres at approx 27,000 miles
New OE Rear Discs/Pads at approx 41,000 miles

Door shuts around mechanism resprayed under warranty (common M3 fault)
at the same time as this I also decided to have the front end done to remove all stone chips.
(in anticipation of keeping the car for longer!)
This was done by Williams Manchester BMW bodyshop , and I have to say the work is faultless and I cannot tell.
Don't take my word for it just come and see the car , it is now immaculate without a single mark on it.
(receipt included for £1800)

Only ever filled with BP Ultimate or Shell Optimax
Uses no oil (although I do carry a litre in the boot and check regularly just in case)
Car is always allowed to warm to 75degrees on oil gauge (not water temp!) before any load is placed on engine.

All 3 keys supplied
Aside from the usual massive M3 standard spec i.e.

Bi-Xenon Lights
Electric / Memory Sport Seats
Climate Control
Auto dim mirror
Auto-lights on/off
Steering Wheel Controls (cruise, telephone & stereo)
Cruise Control
DSC Stability Control
Sport Mode
LED rear lights
Electric & heating mirrors
Full fuel computer with range, MPG, average speed etc
Through load system (folding rear seats)
Tyre Pressure Warning System
Rear park distance control

The car comes complete with :

19" Original Diamond Cut BMW Alloy Wheels fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 tyres (235F,265R) roughly 7mm tread left all round.
Parrot Bluetooth (hidden in glove box)(manual supplied)
Kenwood KVT-627 DVD Flip up touch screen DVD + iPod interface (cable connector between seats) (all manuals,receipts (£1000)+ remote supplied)
both professionally fitted by Newministuff(Formby Car Electrical Services) on 18/03/2006
both work via OE steering wheel controls and phone functions mute stereo in use.
[this unit includes disabled sat nav function , that only requires an additional unit(DVD or hard drive(Kenwood KNA-G520)) to get working]
Original single CD business player supplied as well , should you wish to refit it.
TRACKER unit installed and still on an active subscription
BMW Leather Centre Armrest

Car is located in Warrington (1/2 way between Manchester and Liverpool).

Wheels have some scuffs (previous owner!) and a couple of places of water under the lacquer(3mm diam max)
(maybe enough to get dealer to replace but I have never got around to it)
Stone chip on windscreen , out of drivers line of sight , passed MOT so OK.

I have a wedding ahead and I'm moving house so it's time to move on to a Golf which arrives soon.
A genuine car that's been well looked after. Lots of trouble free motoring ahead.
Trust me you will not be disappointed these cars really are as good as the reviewers say.
This car has been my pride and joy , but sadly it's time to move on.

I have nothing to hide and the full history of the car has been blogged by me on
I have also posted sometimes on the excellent www.bm3w.co.uk , which as an M3 owner you can't do without.
I will ONLY consider test drives if you are insured. Otherwise I'm afraid it will be just me driving.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the car, or would like to come see it.
Looking at the current market I am asking for £23,995 , which I feel reflects its condition.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Golf GTI Edition 30

Er , well not one to hang about its time to move on again.
M3 is a truly astonishing car I may never experience the like of again , but the rolling year to year costs are now prohibitive.
So it will be up for sale soon.

What to replace it with? Low running costs and practical/reliable but with a 'fun' element to (partially) replace the M3 fun.

So I considered
Golf GTI
Ford Focus ST
Seat Leon
Renault Megane R26
and started a discussion on www.bm3w.co.uk.....

Then I went around each dealer to have a look at the cars.
Decided on a second hand Golf GTI eventually , trawled classifieds and dealers for the 'right' car , then eventually left a dealer last sunday having ordered the last Edition30 available ;-) , so much for the budget.

Anyway car ordered , in metallic black, manual , 3dr, with a few choice extras.
Highline computer + MFSW , Xenons , Lux pack , parking sensors :-)
My first 'new' car, due to arrive in 3 months time!

Heres a sample pic of exactly how it will look..

Whats the graph I hear you ask?
Well supposedly the S3 engine detuned to 230 bhp , but they all seem to put out more , and the tuning potential is just crazy...
lol modified it before its even run in.

A superchips bluefin can do the following

VW Golf GTI Edition 30

Original Max 244 BHP @ 6088 Rpm
Superchipped Max 307 BHP @ 6571 Rpm

Original Max 317 Nm @ 4752 Rpm
Superchipped Max 391 Nm @ 3140 Rpm

Power 61 BHP increase @ 6484 Rpm
Torque 82 Nm increase @ 3762 Rpm

thats serious numbers, which apparently it can handle!!!!
In my day 220bhp was considered the limit for FWD, so much for that.

I can hardly wait. Just need to sell the M3 now.