10 things everyone forgot about the BMW E46 M3

10 things everyone forgot about the BMW E46 M3

BMW It’s about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the high-performance division of M in 2022. What initially started as a subsidiary that facilitates the German brand’s racing program has turned out to be one of the world’s most recognizable names when it comes to producing super-maneuverable sports cars, such as the BMW M3.

Over its five generations, the M3 has evolved from being a pure sports car from motorsport to acquiring comfort and becoming a powerful, compact modern sports sedan that continues to provide the ultimate in driving pleasure. However, many enthusiasts believe that the peak of the M3’s potential came in the third generation of the M3, called the E46, which wielded modern amenities while staying true to its roots as an analog chauffeur car.

10 Made from 2000 to 2006

The E46 M3 was first revealed in October 2000 at the Geneva Motor Show dressed as a coupe. Together with the first generation E30 M3, the car did not have a four-door sedan design followed by the current generation M3.

Instead, the E46 M3 was introduced in a two-door convertible design for open-top cars in 2001. It was on sale until 2006 when it was replaced by the E90 M3 with a V8 engine.

RELATED: Here’s What We Love About the 2000 BMW M3 E46

9 Bestseller M3

As mentioned, many of the greatest enthusiasts believe The E46 M3 .’s balance of power, performance, and everyday usability has been improvedand this is even shown in the number of units produced by BMW.

To date, the E46 M3 remains the best-selling M3 of all time, with a total of 85,766 models delivered during the model’s run, surpassing the previous model, the E36 M3, with more than 14,000 units, and its successor, the E90 M3, by nearly 20,000.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why The E46 Is The Best BMW M3 You Can Buy

8 ‘Ring Beast

Getting around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than 8 minutes nowadays Can be achieved through most hot hatches. But back in 2004, going under 8 minutes on Green Hell knocks supercar land, and that’s what the E46 M3 has been able to do.

The CSL version of the E46 M3 hit the track in just 7 minutes 50 seconds. For comparison purposes, that’s five seconds faster than a Ferrari F430 made in the same era as the M3. That’s a quick fit.

RELATED: These are the 10 best BMW M3 versions


7 carbon fiber roof

The E46 M3 was the first M3 to come standard on the CSL model with a carbon fiber roof to save weight and lower the car’s center of gravity.

The successful M3 models followed this trend, adding more evidence that the E46 was indeed the bridge between the race-bred E30 and the current G80.

6 performance numbers

The standard E46 M3 can go from standstill to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds, and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Compared to its predecessor, the E36 M3, the E46 sped almost seconds faster to 62 mph.

On top of that, the E46 M3 has some serious grip the way it handled 0.89g on the skateboard, showing off the expertly tuned chassis dynamics that made it such an icon.


5 Lantern

BMW still uses the inline-6 ​​in its latest M3 and M4 models. However, the E46 M3 is the last one to be naturally aspirated. The S54 engine in the E46 M3 was the final evolution of the BMW S50 engine, which produced 338 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque in the M3 standard. I used BMW’s proprietary variable valve timing system called VANOS, and it was the first M3 to use a wire throttle.

On top of that, the S54 had single throttle bodies, and produced one of the sweetest induction sounds you could hear from any internal combustion engine.

4 SMG انتقال transmission

Another step the E46 M3 took into the modern era was its use of a sequential manual gearbox, or the SMG-II transmission on BMW’s terms.

Gearshifts can be selected via the gearshift lever or via the folding paddles located behind the M3’s steering wheel. At the time, it was praised for its quick turnarounds and great on-track performance, but it was a problem during daily use.

3 M3 CSL

BMW has only applied the CSL badge twice in its rich history. The first was with the homologation model, which is perhaps better known as the “Batmobile”, while the second was with the E46 M3 Special Edition, which was limited to just 1,383 cars.

There has been a lot of focus on making the E46 M3 as light as possible. There was no air conditioning, the rear windows were thinner, the trunk floor was made of fibreboard, and even sound insulation was removed to make the M3 CSL 243 pounds lighter than the standard M3. On top of that, it had more power than the standard M3, with the CSL’s S54 engine producing 355 hp.


2 Competition Pack

Toward the end of running for the E46 M3 model, BMW decided to take some components from the CSL parts enclosure and mount them in the standard M3, giving birth to the Competition package.

However, compared to the CSL that had the SMG-II transmission, the M3 CS had a six-speed manual. On top of that, it didn’t have the CSL’s lightweight parts, but it did have stiffer springs, a faster steering ratio, and an M-track mode that increased the M3’s stability control.

1 M3 GT

The E46 M3 may be the best-selling M3 to date, but the model itself was also one of the most popular limited production versions in history with the M3 GTR – the first M3 to feature a V8.

Only 10 models of the M3 roadster GTR were built to meet the racing requirements of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and each cost $330,000 in 2001. It was a detuned P60 V8 that had 380 horsepower and had the same dry sump lubrication used by the M3 race car. GTR, made famous by the video game Need For Speed.

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