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 .............

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