BMW ended production of the M3 E46 way back in 2006, so finding an unmolested example in 2023 is quite tricky and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. The sports car comes from a time when Bavaria’s designs were far less controversial and massive screens were (thankfully) not the norm. A new video shot on the Autobahn shows a pristine example while being pushed hard as the driver rows through the gears of the six-speed manual transmission.

The top speed run is a veritable blast from the past, when naturally aspirated inline-sixes were still around. That S54 sounds amazing to this day and with forced induction and gasoline particulate filters taking over, it’s understandable why many miss the good ol’ NA days. We can see the M3 E46 being pushed all the way up to 8,000 rpm in fifth gear, at which point the car was traveling at speeds of around 280 km/h (174 mph).

It’s one of the 85,000 M3s made during the E46 era, packing a more than decent 343-horsepower punch without the help of forced induction. Its modern-day successor, the G80, is a lot more potent, but lest we forget the sports sedan is also substantially heavier. The current-generation model tips the scales at 1,705 kilograms or roughly 200 kg more than this car. The M3 E46 CSL dropped 110 kg over the regular model to achieve an impressive curb weight of only 1,385 kg.

Some people have gone as far as to say this car is peak BMW, and they’re probably right to some extent. A more exciting M3 is right around the corner as the CS should be officially revealed in the coming weeks with more power and less weight than the Competition model. However, purists will be sad to hear the limited-run special edition will be sold exclusively with xDrive and an automatic transmission.

Source: AutoTopNL / YouTube