RE: BMW M3 (E46): Spotted

RE: BMW M3 (E46): Spotted

Thursday 4th July

BMW M3 (E46) | Spotted

One more cheap and leggy E46, but lovingly cared for - worth a punt?



The mileage against maintenance debate is one that will run and run for as long as second-hand cars are available. Of course the ideal scenario is a car lightly used with an impeccable service record, but those cars are a) very difficult to find and b) expensive as when they were sold as a result.

Either side sit, broadly speaking, the low mileage cars that really haven't been used (or serviced) much, the high mileage dogs to avoid at all costs, and those driven, enjoyed, but also maintained to a really high standard. Britain has a unique obsession (some might say affliction) with low mileage cars; higher odo readings don't seem to affect owners (or values) as much on the continent, yet over here a premium is placed on those with minimal mileages.

Which is a curious one, really, since cars are designed to be driven, and while some can impress as static objects, the real joy should be in getting them out on the road. The cynical here will suggest there's quite a lot of joy in holing a car away and selling for lots more money than you paid - we'll stick with the enthusiast's viewpoint for now.


This E46 example of the BMW M3 is the perfect advert for what can be achieved with diligent and conscientious ownership. Believe it or not, the 2002 car has covered 165,000 miles, half with the current owner. In their seven years of ownership, roughly £15,000 has been spent on upkeep (see the Excel spreadsheet for proof!) covering everything that you could ever imagine a car would need. The work is described in the advert as "nothing I would class outside general wear and tear and preventative maintenance"; M3s of this vintage are notoriously costly to keep on top of, and it's nice to see an owner acknowledge the fact. Their enthusiasm and passion for the car is clear to see in mention of two common issues - rear subframe cracking and Vanos problems - being checked (with no apparent problems). They even concede to more rust appearing, saying "I'm leaving this to the new owner to decide how they wish to address this rather than hiding it" - which seems more than fair enough.

Let's not forget, either, that the E46 M3 represents for many a highpoint of BMW M cars. More accommodating than the earlier stuff yet sharper than what followed, there's never going to be a point where this M3 isn't a fast car icon. Unlike the E36 M3, which has only recently received its share of attention, the E46 was loved at launch. And then sort of ever since, too.

At £8,500, this M3 isn't one of the bargain basement cars that once existed, but that isn't going to happen again - the cars are simply too revered. Instead it still represents a reasonably affordable route into one of the 21st century's automotive heroes, even if the next owner will have to be as willing to spend on maintenance as the current one. Furthermore, it's an M3 that can be used and enjoyed as intended; it's always going to be a high mileage car with this number on the odo, so there would be no point storing it. And while it would make an ideal track project donor as a manual car without a sunroof, it seems too good to sacrifice.


Why not, instead, keep it for high days and holidays, a throwback to the glory days of BMW at the turn of the millennium. Engines and chassis like this this will only seem more extraordinary as time passes, so best to make the most of them while possible. With that in mind, perhaps the use could be more regular, and 200k could be up before you know it - what a story that could be...


SPECIFICATION - BMW M3 (E46)
Engine:
3,246cc, straight-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive,
Power (hp): 343@7,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 269@4,900rpm
MPG: 23.7
CO2: 287g/km
First registered: 2002
Recorded mileage: 165,000
Price new: £39,730
Yours for: £8,500

See the original advert here.




Author
Discussion

soad

Original Poster:

30,117 posts

119 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Too “leggy” for most?

bloomen

2,600 posts

102 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
I've had plenty of cars around that mileage and they weren't a massive amount of fun to own even if they'd been kept on top of.

2-4 grand would buy plenty more life and less potential ball ache. I'd be more than happy to pay that.


cerb4.5lee

11,899 posts

123 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
It is too leggy for me...but I have a daft old school view that every engine will go pop at around 100k miles though. They obviously don't but I find it very hard to change my train of thought.

ash73

16,169 posts

164 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
"the car had a mini body restoration in 2015 and a tidy up last summer, however there are early signs of corrosion returning to the rear arches"

I'd expect a good paint job to last longer than that?

Greg the Fish

628 posts

9 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
ash73 said:
"the car had a mini body restoration in 2015 and a tidy up last summer, however there are early signs of corrosion returning to the rear arches"

I'd expect a good paint job to last longer than that?
It would if it was on a good car to start with.

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Contigo

3,034 posts

152 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
it's got track car written all over it.

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Not for me, I’d rather save the pennies and buy a better example.

J4CKO

27,708 posts

143 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Would rather have a well used one thats been attended to than pay 20 grand for something thats been stuck in a garage, even if one had 100k less, both still seventeen years old.


HM-2

4,501 posts

112 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Suspect this one might well end up as a track car, given the price and mileage.
All the usual bits that go wrong 150k+ tend to get ripped out, and slightly scabby bodywork is less of an issue.

waftycranker

25 posts

3 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
I’d be interested if I was in the market for an 8 grand toy. Provided the corrosion isn’t too bad.

These won’t be this cheap for long.

JD2329

186 posts

111 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Sometimes, diving into a higher mileage purchase can cut down the unknowns. As in this case, it lends a more transparent picture of maintenance. You could easily sink £3-£4k into something with far less mileage, and carry on contributions at a similar rate.
If it retains enough of the characteristics that made it special in the first place, and the price is right, I would consider it.

LayZ

1,341 posts

185 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Looked into buying an E46 M3 a lot last year. They all need money spent on vanos, boot subframe etc., almost irrespective of miles. I would not object to a high miler that's had this work done as long as you didn't expect it to be investment grade.

blade7

8,711 posts

159 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Most likely a track car, or for someone that can only afford £7-8k, and then tries to run it on the cheap?

g7jhp

5,984 posts

181 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Trying to chase rust out once it's in is PITA. It's a track car.

I'd pay more and buy a rust-free example.

Col325

26 posts

65 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
I guess peoples views of high miles differ i would not be put off by a high mileage car if the service and maintenance history is comprehensive, in fact i put my money where my mouth is and have 2 high mileage cars in my household both bought for peanuts but haven't put a foot wrong besides the odd bulb and wishbone at MoT time. The first is a E39 530d manual tourer with 211k and the others a 55 plate XC90 with about the same. The fact that i bought them for buttons and they have both been in the household for over 3 years means they don't owe anything and if they did go bang i wouldn't be heartbroken and would still be worth a few bob in parts particularly the BMW as its a really nice top spec car. Im of the opinion if its made it past 150k there is no reason why it should not do another 150k and you have the benefit of all the niggles having being sorted before your ownership and the hindsight to see what the problem areas have been before committing unlike a 40 000 mile vehicle. I guess with the hindsight of working in the motor trade i can value up part exes and determine the dogs from the looked after high milers.

nunpuncher

1,220 posts

68 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
ash73 said:
"the car had a mini body restoration in 2015 and a tidy up last summer, however there are early signs of corrosion returning to the rear arches"

I'd expect a good paint job to last longer than that?
Notorious for rusty arches. They need cut out, replaced and painted. Going by that photo and the use of "mini" and "tidy" I'd guess the rust was ground back, hit with body filler and then painted. It'll always come back.

Turbobanana

1,401 posts

144 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
soad said:
...mileage...
bloomen said:
...mileage...
cerb4.5lee said:
...mileage...
The first 3 posts immediately back up what was said in the article: mileage is a big put-off for most.

I take the opposite view. As the former owner of a 246,000-mile Saab I would have no issues with the mileage on this, another well-built, well-designed and engineered car that has had a comprehensive maintenance regime in place for years. I'd be more concerned by the rust, as others have mentioned.

Anyone see the Jalopnik article about the 400,000-mile E39 (I think...) M5 in the US?

aaron_2000

2,999 posts

26 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
Greg the Fish said:
ash73 said:
"the car had a mini body restoration in 2015 and a tidy up last summer, however there are early signs of corrosion returning to the rear arches"

I'd expect a good paint job to last longer than that?
It would if it was on a good car to start with.
Because the E46 is a notoriously poor car, which is why there's next to no fan base right?

Jhonno

3,578 posts

84 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
BMW's can wear mileage well, it wouldn't fuss me, especially with the PO's upkeep!

GranCab

1,501 posts

89 months

Thursday 4th July
quotequote all
I think he meant "good" as in the condition of that car's bodywork ... it's a given that the E46 M3 was a good car.