BMW M3 (E46): You Know You Want To

You should always avoid buying the cheapest example of any particular type of car that's for sale. So the conventional wisdom goes, anyway. Of course, conventional wisdom is not always wise - and neither are we, which is probably why our head has been turned by an E46 BMW M3 at a temptingly low price.

Oooh look, 18-inch wheels as well
Oooh look, 18-inch wheels as well
£6,999, to be exact. And if you're reasonably well-versed on M3 prices, you're probably thinking that for that sort of figure, it has to be an SMG-equipped car, or a convertible. Well, you're wrong, because it's neither. This is the cheapest manual M3 coupe for sale at the moment. And no, it doesn't have the sort of gopping interior or exterior colour scheme you might expect.

What it does have is a full service history, according to the seller - something almost non-existent at this price point with all of the above boxes ticked. This, then, sounds like a bit of a bargain.

There is, of course, a catch, and it's the mileage. Mind you, this M3's 150,000 miles are not preposterous - indeed, were you to apply the old 10,000-mile-a-year rule, it'd be below average.

Of course, the same would apply to pretty much every M3 out there, so let's not kid ourselves: this is a bit of a leggy M3. There's more, too: the advert wording isn't exactly of the sort that inspires confidence in the fastidiousness of the owner.

But perhaps you're prepared to give the benefit of the doubt. After all, of course, sloppy spelling and photography do not a lemon make. That being the case, the only bugbear is the mileage - and of what concern is that? BMWs of this era are known for their ability to rack up big miles, and while the S54 engine is more highly strung than most, there's no reason why that shouldn't still apply.

Only bit we need to see inside anyway!
Only bit we need to see inside anyway!
And with what looks like a big wodge of history featured in one of the photos, there's all the more reason to imagine it'll be fine. Especially if that history contains evidence of the sort of work these cars need with respect to VANOS and so forth. The advert already makes the point that the subframes have already been reinforced; the pictorial evidence shows a job that looks more toward the DIY end of the spectrum, but that doesn't alter the fact the work's been done. What's more, there's a brand new exhaust, freshly refurbed wheels, four new tyres and a long MoT.

In short, then, this is probably not the best E46 M3 in the world, but at this price, it's still worth taking a punt on. Chances are it won't be a keeper, but if you really want to scratch the M3 itch for a year or two and money's tight, it's not a bad shout. Let's face it: prices are only going up, which means this might be your last chance to buy a manual M3 coupe with a full history for £7,000. All of which makes this particular cheapest-of-the-cheap example look a cannier buy than most.

BMW M3 (E46)
Why you should: It costs peanuts and ticks all the right boxes...
Why you shouldn't: ...except the one marked 'mileage'.

See the original advert here.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (135) Join the discussion on the forum

  • culpz 15 Jun 2017

    There's definitely a rise of people buying these now. I was always under the assumption that you're not going to get one worth buying under 10k. That being said, mileage isn't a huge issue on these as far as i'm aware and obviously the low-mileage pristine models are quite alot more.

    It's still alot of car for the money. It's just the cost of parts with added M tax on them, getting them serviced and fixing any repairs and getting them tip-top which seems to be the main drain on the old wallet. Actually physically buying these cars seems to be the easiest part of ownership.

  • Scottie - NW 15 Jun 2017

    The problem will be when you want to sell this, assuming you put another 10 or 20k or more on over a few years, it's a very small market that would want one with those miles, and with so many on sale it could take a very long time to get rid off.

  • BenGB 15 Jun 2017

    About the same price I paid for my manual coupe a couple of years ago. Don't kid yourself you can run one of these on the cheap though!

  • KMA880 15 Jun 2017

    A recent listing for a Blue E46 CS manual with less than 8000 miles on the clock went for upwards of £60K.
    I called asking the POA price, expecting it to be in the mid 20's....

    Not sure when this bubble will burst, but most of the good ones are already becoming harder to find!

  • Leins 15 Jun 2017

    The last service bill on mine (albeit a CSL) was more than the purchase price of this

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