One very smart owner decided to swap the 3.2 liter naturally-aspirated inline-six out of their E46 M3 and swap it with an S85 5.0 liter naturally-aspirated V10 from the E60-gen BMW M5. The engine-swapped M3 began making the rounds on the interwebs a few weeks back and for good reason. Not only is it much faster than any stock E46 M3 but it sounds absolutely delicious. However, most of the videos we saw of it only featured its look and its sound. In this new video from AutoTopNL, we actually get to see a review about what it’s like to drive.
Obviously, swapping the six-cylinder engine out for a ten-cylinder engine made the E46 M3 far faster and more exciting but there was also another addition made the drastically improved the driving experience — a DCT. Rather than use the ancient feeling six-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG) of the E60 M5 and even the E46 M3, this owner swapped the transmission out for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) from the E92 BMW M3. That did two things to improve the drive of this M3; it made the shifts much quicker and it made them far smoother.
The combination of the screaming V10, which in its stock form made 500 horsepower and revved past 8,000 rpm, and a rapid shifting DCT makes this E46 BMW M3 and absolute riot to drive. While the standard S85 engine sounds amazing, this car has custom exhaust with the M Performance silencer from an E92 M3. It sounds incredible in this video, especially when going through a small tunnel. It’s also amazing to see how much of a difference the DCT makes, as the shifts look every bit as good as a modern sports car’s, while the old SMG was always the biggest point of complain of older M cars.
This build is one of the coolest, most ambitious, and most interesting E46 M3 builds we’ve ever seen. The only thing we don’t like about it is that it’s located in Germany and we can’t drive it.