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.
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.