Every BMW fan would love to own an E46 M3. It’s often regarded as the best driving BMW of all time and is regularly used as a measuring stick for newer M cars. However, there’s one specific spec of E46 M3 that most fans would rather avoid—the E46 M3 Convertible with an SMG gearbox. Because of its lack of popularity among fans, the drop-top automatic M3 is often quite cheap, as this one for sale on Bring a Trailer seems to be. So could it be your cheap thrills sports car or is it just not worth it?
This 2004 BMW M3 Convertible is a good car but it’s in the least desirable spec possible. E46 Convertibles of all kinds were all kind of floppy, even with the extra structural bracing the M3 version had. That lack of chassis rigidity meant that it felt sloppy to drive when compared to the coupe. However, it was still fun if you weren’t looking to absolutely mob it on a track. If you accept that it’s not as sharp or as capable as the coupe, you’ll have a great time.
What really holds this car back is its SMG gearbox. The Sequential Automated Gearbox was a six-speed, single-clutch, automated manual that was frustrating to drive at best when it debuted. Now, nearly 20 years later, when we have rapid-fire dual-clutch transmissions and brilliant eight-speed autos, the SMG seems like a nightmare to use. But even still, if you can work around its shortcomings and figure out how to live with it, you’ll still have an M3 with an astonishing engine and fantastic steering.
And this one might be cheap. With 87,000 miles on the odometer, some enthusiasts might be worried about repair bills. However, the current bid (at the time of writing this) is $8,000. That’s pennies for an E46 M3, considering nicely sorted coupes will fetch six-figures. And this one seems to be in nice shape, with a clean exterior and interior.
Obviously, the current bid will go up over the course of the next four days, before the auction ends. However, it’s still likely to be well under what nice coupes sell for. So this one might be the cheapest, high-quality E46 M3 you’ll be able to buy for some time. Does that make it worth the investment? Check it out.
[Source: Bring a Trailer]