BMW E46 M3 vs E92 M3

BMW M3 | June 20th, 2007 by 73

About 2 months ago, I wrote an article where I posted some comparison pictures between the current E46 M3 style and the upcoming 2008 E92 …

About 2 months ago, I wrote an article where I posted some comparison pictures between the current E46 M3 style and the upcoming 2008 E92 M3. The design differences between the old M3 and the new one are obvious, with the E46 style having a more classic, conservativ look, while the new 2008 M3 sports a more adventures body style, modern and in the same type controversial. Like always, with a new body style change, people aren’t always excited about the changes, and we all tend to “hate” the car for a while, and then settle for it. I’m probably one of those people, I was in the same boat when the E90 came out and it replaced the most popular BMW ever, the E46 model.

You can see more picture in one of my previous articles: BMW M3 Photos

So, bottom line, I decided to repost those pics and make a poll, I’m curious to see what you think. Feel free to drop your comments as well.

[poll id=”4″]


m3vm3 1

More pictures on the next page

73 responses to “BMW E46 M3 vs E92 M3”

  1. Frank Morris says:

    E46 was a very nice size; E92 is longer. I prefer the dash layout of the E92. As far as the V8 goes, I could have lived without it but I know BMW needs to raise the bar with new models.

  2. Javier says:

    I love them both, traded a 2004 M3 for a 2007 335, and have mixed emotions, love the new car, nice interiors, better everyday ride, but do I miss my M3. If I could, i would buy it backand keep them both. I think i would love that V8.

  3. Irv Robinson says:

    Frank, I agree with you, E92 has a little more room, which is nice. About the V8, hmm :) I kinda like the power it comes with

    Javier, honestly, I would’ve kept the M3 for now, and then decide if I wanna get the new one, but the 335 is a beautiful car also, so in the end, it wasn’t such a bad choice

  4. Irv Robinson says:

    77 votes and no more comments? :) Let’s hear some opinions people

  5. lloyd miller says:

    I have an E46; in my view the E92 M3 is just the latest ugly duckling Chris Bangle bungle

    • carl gruber says:

      I agree!

    • Michael Speede says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily consider the E92 an ugly duckling, however, I’m with you on the E46.  I love it. The interior styling and SMG are definately a bonus. Normally when I look at a car, I have to “feel” it, and I just don’t feel the E92.  I can spend hours just looking at my E46 in the garage, and when I get the attention from onlookers during my daily driving, I can see how its attractiveness can be quite appealing.  The E46 is certainly enough for me.  

    • BMW Huge Fan says:

      I agree 5th,

      and I cant express my happiness to find other human beings on the Same Planet that despise the E90s as much as I do [E92 2008 could be an exception],

      Coz there is only one Universal fact for me :::

      The Last 3 Series ever produced was the E46

      I don even consider E90s & F30 as Beemers !!!

      OfCourse I m talking Design-wise

  6. Rogue says:

    anybody heard anyting on performance difference? i know I6 vs. V8 and 333HP vs. 400HP, but i read the stats for 0- 60 are both 4.8 seconds. so where did all the power go? and if the accleration is the same then what’s the point?

  7. that’s why it will never wor. Mica Kingsley.

  8. daniel says:

    hey theree i agree with Rogue, because its true they r both 4.8 secs 0-60 mp/h , and old M3 looks a lot better, new M3 looks the same as 335i except for dual exhausts on each side and few other things , BMW shoudnt have changed the old shape of the car but they screwed up, some people think M3 was 5,2 seconds 0-60 but it was under 5 for sure if driven correctly, stock GTR R 32 is 5.3 seconds 0-60 and my friend owns one, he raced a M3 once and i was with him in the car, and we lost by a full car length.

  9. 335i says:

    The E92 M3 is significantly quicker then the E46. For one, Bmw claim 0-62mph (100km/h) for the E46 was 5.2 secs, compared to 4.8 secs for the new model… So don’t bother comparing Bmw figures for the E92 against figures Car and driver or other mags posted times (of 4.8 secs) for the old E46, because Car and Driver/ Road and track have already posted 4.2-4.3 secs and 12.7-12.8 1/4s for the E92.
    Its around half a second quicker to 60, and 3/4 of a second quicker over the 1/4 mile. Whats really amazing is the new E92 will hit 150mph in 24.5 secs compared to 32 secs in the e46…. now you can see how much quicker the new model really is.

    Its a pity the C63 runs 3.9 secs to 60 and 12.3 over the quarter, as well as covering the 0-150mph run in 22.5 secs!

    now thats a giant killer

    The real bargain however lies in the 335i, which stock is good for 4.8 secs and 13.3-13.5 over the 1/4mile, but when equipped with a procede V2 chip and exhaust, can run 4 seconds flat and 12.3 over the 1/4.
    All for well under 50 grand!

    • ///M3 says:

      That’s because the E92 comes off the starting line a litter faster – due to the extra torque of the V8 vs the I6 in the E46. Also of worthy mention is that the E46 comes off slower, from a dead start, due to the emissions restrictions – it takes longer to rev up from idle to 2500 RPM so that’s a major handicap right there.

      With that aside, once they both get “up to speed”, there is very little difference between their acceleration rates. A while back, I raced my E46 M3 against an E92 M3, and neither one of us could “drop” the other. We were both doing 20 to 70 MPH runs, back and forth, and we were both “nose to nose” throughout all of the runs.

      A little disappointing for a car that’s supposed to be a “worthy” successor to the E46 M3, and costs a bit more as well.

      • M 4 LIVE says:


      • Lookfor_mee says:

        i feel so depressed having to degrade back to an e46 323ci after selling my e92 323i!!!! it feels a world of difference. boy is the quality in e46 bimmers so poor and old. seats materials DASH!! i mean it wudnt of been that bad if it was other way around, upgrading from e46 to e92. when will bmw ever change that crappy trade mark of theirs which is the stone aged orange bit matrix looking dash and audio system. even my old 93 rx7 has better dash board. and that is a 93 car. e92 and e46 sorry.. no comparison. 

    • Jhyalex says:

      sir I have a E46 m3 and i have beaten the E 92 in four races, and i mean four different cars / drivers. my car is a 2002 model with a basic management chip, I’ve been to the dealers to test the new model and can tell you a fact the e92 is gutless in the midrange and is stupid on fuel. I would really like to buy another Bmw maybe the new 1 series M will be some improvement .

      • Lookfor_mee says:

        are you kidding me? serious? you call the new e92 m3 gutless and your e46 is faster? ok my friend. haha i love how you bash or hate of something only because you are bias and no nothing about the e92. dont be an old dog wit old tricks. e46 is nice bro.. back in its day.. but is now slowr and oldr interior is just discraceful compared to e92. 

  10. Alfa75Evoluzione says:

    The E92 M simply does NOT look “M” enough…

  11. Gary Bunn says:

    The E46 M3 will always be the best.

  12. E46 best M ever says:

    E92 just has to be given some time it will adjust. Couple friends have M3 e46 def under 5 sec car. (4.7-5 sec)diffrent car drivers post diffrent results. SMG II will probably give u a 5.0-5.1 sec 0-60 compared to the 6Speed.
    No need for the e92 just yet when the e46 are still being worn in.

    Mercedes says im here

    Bmw say i was there

  13. Irv Robinson says:

    maybe, I still wanna drive the new M3 before I decide which one is best

  14. Mike.R says:

    I own a 03 m3 and I personally wouldnt mind seeing the v8 but I like the heritage the m3 was based off of. Which is a perfect all around car with some good power, great handles and decent weight. The e92 however looks like an amazing M but I hate to see the i6 evolve to a v8. Oh well my 1 cent. e46 m3 ftw!

  15. Big Al says:

    I traded my 2007 335i coupe for an 08 E92 M3 about 3 weeks ago. Let me tell you, IMO it seems like night and day. Insanley more responsive in the M, and ridiculous power surge you feel at 8,300 RPM. I can’t speak for the E46 M3 which i’ve never driven but have much respect for, but this E92 is a monster and IMO worth every penny.

  16. Big Al says:

    You also have to see the E92 M in person to really appreciate it’s beauty. I purchased mine in Space Grey Metallic with the stock 18″ (not the 19 in option) More meat on the tires and it actually matches the body color. The response i’ve had from the general public was the look of shock and awe, accompanied by many thumbs up, and near collision causing stares. Simply magnificant.

    • Mat says:

      I had a 325i back in 2007 then moved on to a e36 m3… Blah blah blah. Jesus Christ people did u even read what the article was about?

      I geuss I never realized it until seeing the cars right next to each other, but I def like the e46 style better. Not feeling the pointing shark look, part of the intrigue to an m3 is the boxy sedan look with sports car performance.

  17. Tony says:

    Hey every1,I love the E46 M3,because of many things.1 the steering is stiffer even at 120mph,it has more control i dare to say an RS4(V8) specially in the bends.i love the dial gages in the old M3 it looks gr8888,the new dial gage looks cut back(costs)it looks cheap.i love the cockpet in the E46 in the E92 looks as if its missing some vitamins. i love the front looks(specially in Gun Metal(Graphite).
    the new 1 has its own unique look(resembls 335)to my opinion.but who can deny the performance difference….0-160mph in the E46 M3 in 42.something seconds but the 0-160mph’s in the E92 in 29.1 seconds.
    If u compare an M5(v10) whith an M3 E92 is quite nice(M5 0-150mph in 23.4 & 0-150 in the M3 E92 in 24.3sec’s)…
    but the story changes with the M6 0-150mph in 19.5 seconds(faster then a 5.0L Gallado by 2 seconds) n 160 in 23.2sec’s.
    If i was going to buy a car with my own money i wld difinitly but the E46 M3 instead of 335i.but M3 or the M5 i would say M3(cause im young,keep the rest of the money for better use).But spending $100 plus i would say M6 cause it is quicker then Gallardo(5.0L),R8,F430(a big claim aint it).want to be sure plz check car and driver.gr8 web site for car performance reviews.

    Sorry for any spellin every1.

  18. d_hero says:

    I think e46 version looks better… but the new chasis is amazing – it is much quieter and much more lower end grunt… but worth the cost to upgrade? to gain .5-1.0 sec in 0-60?… probably not – I too like the I6’s heritage – I’m keeping my e46 for a long time. The E92 version comes in additional sedan versions which will make ownership less exclusive – look at history – IE e36 model M3s.

  19. Peter Canston says:

    Very Nice :).
    I saw a comparison between the Porshe 911 and the BMW M3 here: , really nice :).

  20. Paul says:

    The new 3 series has an ugly linear dash. The passenger has no cockpit to sit in. Reminds me of a camry. The E46 is set up with 2 discrete spaces, one for the driver and one for the passenger. Much cleaner and more driver oriented.- Paul

  21. adam says:

    the e46 m3 was more of a no-frills race car. the 92 m3 is more like a grand touring car– the m3 is becoming a more refined type old persons car– for a young man the e46 is where its at

  22. Zulfi says:

    I admire the E30 bmw’s. especially the 325i and 325is models. now that is something special!!

    what I notice a lot of people don’t understand is that the speed of a car does not determine its price. newer technology, better chasis, new design, better safety, sports buttons, sportier gearbox, carbon roof, better dynamics, ability to turn off all electronics at will etc etc etc. this is the qualities portrayed by the e92 m3. one needs to understand this!! this is what determines its price!!!

    I rate both e46 and e92 10/10!! just take into consideration that power is not the most important aspect of a vehicle. RS4 is a excellent car! quick v8 4wd, extremely filled with techno goodies, quicker in a straight line from 0-100 (0-60) than an m3. BUT THE RS4 SUCKS ON DRIVER FEED BACK AND ON THE TRACK. my point is power is not the only factor in a car!

  23. Chris Rempel says:

    I own a 2002 e46 m3 (also imola red, like the one pictured above)

    Hell of a car, although it’s not as “punchy” on the low end as I thought it would be. Once you hit the power band it REALLY comes to life, and it’s definitely a legit race car, but I can see where BMW is going in terms of staying competitive with the 8 cylinder.

    Especially when the new Mercedes AMG C class has 451 HP, which is essentially the M3’s competitor (along with the porsche carrera and the audi r types to some degree)

    They pretty much maxed out the I-6 in the e46. 333 HP is incredible for natural aspiration from an engine like that. No wonder the compression ratio is so extreme…

    Anyway, I was down at the dealership the other day and saw some of the new M’s. They really do look WAY better in real life than in pictures.

    I’d say they’re “equals”, though I’m still a bit partial to the e46. There’s something appealing about it’s hard lines, menacing “stance” and raw disposition.

    Sometimes a lack of refinement is what makes the ideal performance experience…

    Just my $0.02



  24. GT says:

    The new M3 E92 is heavier, taller and bigger in every way. Doesn’t this adversely affect the handling compared to the lighter and smaller E46 M3? Straight-line acceleration isn’t everything.

  25. Dinamic74 says:

    BMW M3 (E92) vs BMW M3 (E46)

    Lap Times Exclude “wet laps”

    Track M3 (E92) M3 (E46)
    Nordschleife 8:05 8:22
    Tsukuba 1:05.817 1:07.11
    Hockenheim Short 1:14.3 1:16.3
    Vairano Handling Course 1:20.910 1:22.599
    Oschersleben 1:47.20 1:50.00
    Laguna Seca 1:42.964 1:41.915
    Autozeitung test track 1:40.1 1:44.5
    Rockingham 1:25.58 1:24.40
    Serres Racing Circuit 1:33.05 1:35.15

    Discipline M3 (E92) M3 (E46)
    Max speed 155 m/h (250 km/h) 155 m/h (250 km/h)
    0-100 km/h acceleration 4.6 4.8
    0-160 km/h acceleration 9.4 11.0
    0-200 km/h acceleration 15.2 16.8
    0-300 km/h acceleration – –
    Quarter mile time 12.5 @ 114.8mph 13.2
    Power/weight ratio 0.19 0.16

    Discipline M3 (E92) M3 (E46)
    Track Performance 156 points 11 points
    Straight line speed 237 points 216 points
    Total 393 227

    The Answer
    BMW M3 (E92) is noticeably faster.

  26. Richard says:

    I think we can all agree the new M3 is a better all rounder. But my heart still stays with the E46 M3 beauty! Even with the new mean looks of the E92 M3, the E46 still looks better.

    I agree that BMW had to match its rivals with a bigger engine, but I think you will never match the E46. Just pure power, looks and style!

  27. Sam Neale says:

    I fully agree with PAUL, that dash is aweful! I had my 03 e46 m3 convertible in for service last week and i was given a 328xi. I have to tell you that i did not feel like i was in a bmw at all! My back was killing me after my first drive, the seats were cheap looking and the handling was not that good at all.

    My wife was amazed at how cheap this car really was. we went to the bmw dealership near us in NY to look at the e92 (without test driving it) and noticed that i would most likely have issues with interior space as i am 6’2 and i need lots of leg room and head room because i always purchase the convertibles. it seems i will have the same issues with head room as i did with the e36 model which i loved!

    Im sure the little bit of extra power is great, but the m’s are all around cars and they exude style, comfort and speed (in that order).

    By the way, i get looks of amazement with my m3 e46 convertible also. The color is topaz blue and my brother worked on the paint for 10-14 hrs detailing it. the dealer was in awe when i brought it back for service and could not believe the work that was done detaling the vehicle.. here are the pics

  28. marlon says:

    Why a most vote

  29. Jim says:

    I own a 2002, E46 M3 coupe, six speed manual shift, Steel Grey w/Cinnamon int.
    Steve Dinan once said, “I think the E46 M3 is one of the most beautiful designs ever made.” I agree. I’m in love with the looks/design elements of the E46!!
    I drove a new E92 M3 and it was very,very impressive. It was like a softer riding “Luxury M3” and much of the Raw Nature of the E46 is gone. That kind of turned me off, even though it was very quick and the torque was nice. I can’t get used to the body line crease that slopes down instead of straight back along the whole side of the car. It just doesn’t flow design-wise to me. Neither does the front end with the opposite slanting mouth direction under the fascia. The 135i is even worse as that bottom body line door upward curve just doesn’t match the rest of the car at all.
    Chris Bangle really ruined a lot of BMWs before he left. They look like Pontiacs!!!

  30. mauro says:

    i love the e46 but i also like the 335. idk which one to get

  31. carl gruber says:

    I have a titanium silver e46 3. That is a awsomly beautiful car. I was at a exotic car show in Winter Park earlier this year and talking to a collector who brought some of the cars in his stable. They were, 1957 Ferrari super america, 375 gtb Ferrari, 1960 e-type jag all immaculate and believe it or not a 01 e46 m3 which he said he bought because it had the most stunning and timeless design for a modern automobile.

  32. Ankit says:

    According to me, E42 M3 is the most SEXIEST !! design from the BMW stable !

  33. sushim3 says:

    The speed or power is not issues..
    At reality for the day to day, there is not necessary…to have few second diff.
    Fun to drive..E92 fogot about this…Even M5…model can beat on the straight ilne…
    But not the corner…E46 is small, and can be used for lots of purpose…
    Especially in Japan, we donot need a big car. So far, I do not see the attraction of E92. Passion..and Fun to drive.. M’s concept.. there should keep at any model..
    Let luxuary boring car make by MB.

  34. Mracer3 says:

    not really sure why people keep saying the E46 tops out at 155 mph. i have a stock E46 with the SMG transmission and i have definitely hit 170 mph and it was still climbing. as for styling, i can really appreciate both cars. my mouth dropped when i saw an E92 yesterday and i fell in love but i just as well love my car. wish i could have both…

  35. Scott``` says:

    I recently purchased a low mileage 2006 BMW M3 (E46) with competition package and what an amazing car! At first I considered the new E92 BMW M3 but after driving it back to back against the E46 M3, it feels way too soft for an M car. I like the looks of the new M3 but it does look too much like the regular 3-series. PLUS, a new M3 is almost 80 grand large. The used E46 M3 cars are best performance car bargains now for someone looking into a nice European sports car. And practical as well.

  36. Andy Peaple says:

    I’ve got a 2004 E46 M3 in Silver Grey, and owned it for about a year now. I was wondering what to buy next. Recently drove my friend’s 2007 335i and to be honest, I didn’t like the drive. There was noticable turbo lag (compared to the immediate throttle response of the M3) and just not enough feedback compared to what I am used to. The 335i is effectively just a normal 3 series, -just a quick 320i in that sense.

    The new E92 M3 is really the only option for me. I’ve read a lot of reviews though that say that the E92 is a lot less focussed than the E46, which I think I would miss. When you drive the E46 M3 hard (sport button pressed) the only word that comes in to your head is “animal!!”. Never driven a car like it, so maybe I’ll just hold on a bit longer. As a lot of people have already said, it’s not all about straight line speed, but the overall drive. Otherwise, why not just go and buy a dragster..

  37. Steve says:

    My opinion is if you have an E46 M3 in nice condition, keep it a while longer. It is the most funt to drive and has the better car -driver connection. The E92 is a nice change though. It is faster, Sounds better, has a more athletic look to it and is pretty solid from a modern technology standpoint I would not go back to an E46 now that I have owned and driven a gen 4, but I miss my E46 to hammer on. If you have the room and the cash keep your E46 and buy the e92!

  38. EVERGET says:

    I believe E46 is a future classic, keep it well maintained and in some years time it ll be appreciated like an e30 sport evo !!! It incorporates strongly aggressive design and it screams like a bitch! E92 is much more refined, less distinctive, but I appreciate much its extra body stiffness (80% more)!

  39. e46 m3 says:

    Great comparison and I agree with EVERGET – the e46m3 is already a classic. The E92 is pretty hot too!

  40. chris m says:

    I chose a well modded low mileage E46 M3 over the E92 M3. I just can’t seem to adjust to the E92 design. For some reason I love the 335 design better.

    Anyway, besides buying the E46 M, I also traded in my ”06 durango for a ‘2010 Honda Oddysey. So I got 2 cars for the price of the E92 M3. Never regretted my choices.

  41. diago says:

    Hi, I have a e46 m3 2002 black with the full schnitzer convertion
    I also own a e92 coupe. E46 is by far a greater more brute n better
    Feeling race and everyday car.

  42. Andrew says:

    I like the e46 but your photos don’t allow a fair comparison. The E92 photos are poor and the e46 photos appear to be enhanced. Lets make it a true comparison or none at all.

  43. Hhhaaammmaaannn says:

    Hi I have a question. I’m from the Czech Republic. I want to buy a BMW / / / M3 E46. But I still ride in a BMW E36 328i Coupe. I was wondering if you think that / / / M3 E46 in two years to reduce its price? I have some tips that are around 18-20k Euros.

  44. Hhhaaammmaaannn says:

    Hi I have a question. I’m from the Czech Republic. I want to buy a BMW / / / M3 E46. But I still ride in a BMW E36 328i Coupe. I was wondering if you think that / / / M3 E46 in two years to reduce its price? I have some tips that are around 18-20k Euros.

  45. Chuck says:

    e46 all day. The body style is aggressive, and I don’t see that same look in the e92. Yes it does have a bigger engine and a better top end. But body style points, gas points, and price points go to e46. Power and interior points can go to the e92. I’d go with an 06 e46 m3. Last year with the e46 before the body change and it is still relatively a new car. My point about all of this is that you have to love how it looks or your going to hate driving it. And the e46 fills that void.

  46. Giorgio says:

    e92 m3 sucks. the only good thing about it is the dash layout. Its v8 is proposed dead, this is why the new m3 would have a 3.6 liters v6 engine (triturbo)
    as for the styling, i would prefer the e46, unless you slap on the e92 m3 a vorsteiner gtrs widebody and paint it flat black.
    as for the modding, the e46 is so much more tunable. 
    the thing is, id be lost when you compare e46 m3 with e9x 335. 335 is so much more tunable than the m3 and would outrun the m3 with the right mods (jb4 etc..). and since some companies are starting to produce aftermarket turbos for it, i recon it can hit 600-700 hp slap on an lsd and aftermarket suspention and it would STILL cost less than an e92 m3.

  47. Michael Speede says:

    I am a former Mercedes Benz owner of at least 5 models, so having my first pre-owned E46 M3 is new to me.  With that said, I have always liked the E46 body-style for years and, still today, would prefer its more shorter wheel-based and compact appearance.  The Inline 6 (333 hp) is certainly enough for me. As most experience when a new model hits the market how difficult it is to accept change, I still enjoy the E46 and have no interest in ever changing my mind.  

  48. Hesam says:

    e46 is My Dream …! Fantastic Car .. i loVe it …!!

  49. Zim786 says:

    i own an e 46 m3 as well it a 2005 modelits gt 60000 kilos on the clock and ive gt my motorplan till 2013 extended time offcourse i purely liove it over the e 92 m 3 it attracts a whole lot more attention than the e92 im nt saying it nt an awwesme car it is but for the price it a bit dissapointing the straight 6 3.2 extraxcts awesme power n oh wat a drive its like it has a soul the e92 is to refined n u cnt still beat tht exhaust note of the e46 music to my ears

  50. Camausmh says:

    Euro e36 m3 has the same engine similar suspension and brakes but is 200lbs lighter.Looks aside same performance so what’s the big deal about e46 m3?

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