Video: BMW E46 M3 Review Finds It Timeless

BMW M3, Videos | June 29th, 2016 by 5
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Today the world is concerned with criticizing new models for their lack of ‘soul’, ‘feeling’ or some sort of other criteria that you just can’t …

Today the world is concerned with criticizing new models for their lack of ‘soul’, ‘feeling’ or some sort of other criteria that you just can’t grasp. However, are the benchmarks of the past really that good? Taking a look back might prove a point or two and luckily, some cars are still around for us to drive and draw our own conclusions, such as the BMW E46 M3.

The guys from Roads Untraveled wanted to drive one and see whether it rose up to their expectations. Truth be told, the BMW E46 M3 is regarded as one of the best M3 models ever to come out by a vast majority of BMW drivers. It uses a six-cylinder atmospheric engine and it is fast enough to get your heart rate going but people tend to forget that it is over 10 years old now.

Putting a decade of technology between two models will raise some questions, undeniably. In terms of practicality, the F80 M3 is a lot better. You can adjust the dampers and throttle response, you can tone it down if you want while also connecting to your car’s infotainment system seamlessly, things that just weren’t available back in the day. If they were, using them was a lot harder to do.

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On the other hand, the E46 M3 is on point all day long. It’s hardcore and ready to pounce at a second’s notice and that’s fun for the most part but it can get tiring after a while. Having personally driven an E46 M3 I can tell you that it is a lot of fun to drive. The steering tells you exactly what the front wheels are doing while the high-revving engine will make you want to keep accelerating into oblivion. Would I take one of those over a new F80 though? Probably not, but as a second car, it would be my number one choice.

The guys from Roads Untraveled seem to agree with my own conclusions, among other things saying that ‘the steering makes you feel like a hero’. And while that’s certainly a good feeling, it’s also quite dangerous. In the end, while the performance figures will start getting less and less impressive as time goes by, the car’s design will last forever, something not a lot others can brag with.



5 responses to “Video: BMW E46 M3 Review Finds It Timeless”

  1. John says:

    I find it strange when technology is referred to as timeless.

  2. LucyPup says:

    @GNica, yes, a very clean design! That said, the front bumper/fascia is just a flat face without real character/character lines/pretty design whatsoever. And the little piece of trim under the headlights is nothing more than gratuitous.
    @John, the best word for these cars , IMHO, is ‘direct’ as far as how they feel to drive. I had three, one 6-speed and 2 SMG’s (ugly). the handling really was superb.
    Now an M4 (best ever BMW!) – yes, it is a bigger car. I traded out of a 991 S because I wanted a turbocharged car! I Love it! I do not want or need the Competition Package, or the, or any other HYPE. That is what everything else is.

  3. Philip Daniels says:

    The looks were no nonsense and the same for the infotainment, it wasn’t about that then, it was a hotrod and not too many people were interested in using an iPod with it, just driving it was entertainment
    enough, listening to that engine sing beautiful songs. We got to drive them a lot, because we always had a few in stock and they always had the most miles when we sold
    them, yeah! …
    The steering, handling and brakes are still incredible in my opinion, I love rowing the manual transmission and it was silky smooth along with the engine, but the clutch was stiff and it gets old. A lot of people didn’t want a car that rode like a Jeep, sports package seats like spruce boards, that don’t seem to have much padding (The women hate them) with a clutch like a truck and I can’t say anything good about the climate control either, it was weak and it took a long time to warm up or cool down, to keep up with the weather. I don’t know if it was under driven on purpose or not.
    The SMG in the M3 was the strongest of the lineup back then and properly adjusted for what you wanted to do was good, but it was a little clunky and it didn’t always respond the way you expected. Cruising along in town and then nailing it to get on the highway, always left it deciding what to do for a second, even if you had all the buttons set sporty.
    It was one of the first cars to have launch control and it was kind of cool when the tach would light up like a video game, letting you know what to do when, with the shift lights, good fun. It didn’t come from the factory with posi-traction, whatever they call it.
    If you wanted both wheels hooked up to the power, you had to order it for about an $8k option I believe or have an aftermarket tuner install it and it wasn’t cheap. They have traction control, but it’s kind of a let down that it doesn’t come with posi, if you didn’t order it. I found that out when a salesman parked one on a grade in the lot, with one wheel on pavement, the other on ice. One wheel rolled, the other one slid and it went down the hill to my surprise, I thought someone was driving it for a second, didn’t hit anything though. which comes to mind, I’d leave it parked if it was snowing. They swap ends real quick on ice and snow.
    The saddest part about the car is, the hard points where the back of the rear end connects were weak. If you were a lead foot, Turner Motor Sports immediately recommended reinforcement underneath and in the trunk with steel plates, welded in. 330 hp could crack the mounting points or theoretically rip the rear end mounting points right out of the car if not heeded.
    Lastly sad facts with Bimmers back then, not sure if it’s like that now but, after a lot of miles you could spend thousands replacing microprocessors that went faulty and the double-vanos in a lot of them has to be replaced, when it quits performing, $$$$. But at the time, traffic light warriors on twisty roads preferred no other and it was easy to ignore the weak spots.
    The most trouble we ever had with them brand new, was the kidney grills were easy to pop out and people were always stealing them, but the installation of cameras on the lot finished that. If someone offered me one at an affordable price, I’d still buy it! …

  4. jason bourne says:

    Those were the days: Low on tech, high on fun… The way it should always be.

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