any e46 M3 experts?

Stebo

RMS Regular
Location
Banbridge
Drives
A7
I am looking for a fun 4 seater (two kids in the back) convertible for a bit of spinning about over the summer. Budget is about £15k and I've always had a notion for a e46 M3 convertible..... but I don't know a pile about them.

I've did a bit of reading on the various forums, etc. but responses range from "bullet-proof" to "don't touch with barge-pole", therefore I would been keen to hear from anybody on RMS that has owned one. I appreciate that the convertible isn't going to be as sharp as the coupe but it's something I can accept for the "roof-down-occasion". I'm more concerned with whether I should avoid the SMG, what common faults they have and what essential / preventative maintenance should have been carried out on a well looked after car, etc.

This one here has p***ked my interest
Used Bmw M3 3.2 Convertible M3 3.2 Convertible SMG | Quality Cars Today -
Obviously not having the 19" M3 wheels, and the fake carbon kidneys, etc. aren't desirable (but can be sorted) but I though it looked good for the money. I would really appreciate some critique from anybody on here who knows more than I do about e46s.

Or alternatively if anybody knows of a nice clean one for sale locally??
 

AlpineF30

RMS Regular
Drives
BMW M3
Haven't had one myself but I think the most common response you will get is the cracks in the boot floor where the rear subframe connects to.
 

pablo

RMS Moderator
Location
Glengrimley
crank bearings would be a good precaution once you buy
boot floor cracks where the subframe bolts (AI Autosport can do a good job on those)

an SMG vert is the cheapest combo so if thats what youre after then you should get good value for money. Personally I think the SMG is not good enough especially compared to more modern DSG/8sp ZF etc. Some people love it, I couldnt.

At that kind of money you are around 4 series convertible money (not ///M but realistically a better car, especially if its a kiddie taxi)
 

P2ULW

RMS Regular
Drives
M3/STI/CR-V
I've had a coupe for many years, I'm not an expert but I've read all the forums and know the common faults etc. I'd say they are pretty reliable if they've been maintained and problems addressed as they surfaced, I'd look for a car that has been well maintained and hasn't been bought and sold 5 times in the last couple of years, general issue is people buy one, run it for a while and try to avoid spending anything and punt problems on to the next guy, so signs of diligent ownership would be a must.

For resale I'd want a manual coupe, SMG and convertible would be the least desirable, though I understand the convertible is nice for sunny days
 

Steviegsi

RMS Regular
Location
Co. Down
Drives
E46 M3
I have put 40k on mine this past 5 years, and aside from servicing and tyres, all mine has needed is a diff seal and I got the alternator rebuilt. It was resprayed as well but that's down to me using it 12 months of the year and the front wings needing replaced..... All probably down to my reluctance to wash it for weeks/months at a time!

Great cars..... even the bootfloor isn't that big of a deal to get the strengthening plates welded in. Personally I would rather it wasnt done before hand, either by BMW and their resin or anyone else, and sort it myself for piece of mind. Crank bearings can be an issue if it hasnt been warmed up properly or its not had the proper oil.

Drive a couple if you can, to try and rule out a ropey one.
 

Stebo

RMS Regular
Location
Banbridge
Drives
A7
Thanks for the comments.

I appreciate that the convertible has always been less desirable, but it suits me and I was hopeful that I will be able to get a fresher better car because of that. In reality technology has moved on and it isn't going to be competitive round a circuit regardless. I'm looking for something to take out on a sunny Sunday for a bit of a hoon along a nice coast road, or possibly a spin to Newcastle / Portrush with the family.

At the back of my head there is a sensible voice saying "get a 330ci", but I can't help but think it would lack the occasion of a weekend car, and man-economics is saying M3 will hold money better
 

Eager

RMS Regular
Location
fields
Drives
broooooom
I possibly read somewhere the subframe floor issue doesn’t exist in the convertible cars, could be wrong or could be right as I know convertibles may have a stronger floorpan to compensate for the possibility of a crash with the roof down, so might play in your favour

Head gasket known to give up on them too.
 

Boydie

RMS Regular
Location
Co.Antrim
Drives
Audi S3 8V Revo
Yeah, I love the E46 but there are fresher, as powerful and more modern examples to be had like the 335i or 4 series
 

wonka

RMS Regular
Location
Tandragee
Drives
Octavia VRS
One of the most fun driving experiences I've ever had was in an E46 M3 Vert.
From memory, it was an 04, in silver, with the SMG gearbox - as others have suggested, probably the least desirable M3.
At the time, I was doing a bit of work for a local car dealer and he got me to drive it to meet a potential buyer and take him a run out in it.
It probably wasn't that nice a day, but I had the roof down the whole time.
Wasn't a big fan of the SMG, but then I didn't know much about it at the time - it just seemed a bit 'fragile' if that makes sense?
 

Stebo

RMS Regular
Location
Banbridge
Drives
A7
If it was a sunny Friday evening and you fancied a spin up the coast for an hour, and had both a e92 335i cab or an e46 m3 cab sitting in the drive, which would you jump into?

I appreciate that there is technically better cars out there for the money, but for a purely second car, there is something about the M3 I don't know you could get with a non ///M?

Ideally I would have a 997 911 cab, but they're still a bit spendy, and I've never really fallen in love with the 996 (which still be out of my price range anyway)
 

Boabybooster

Saab Beard
Drives
Skip
If it was a sunny Friday evening and you fancied a spin up the coast for an hour, and had both a e92 335i cab or an e46 m3 cab sitting in the drive, which would you jump into?

I appreciate that there is technically better cars out there for the money, but for a purely second car, there is something about the M3 I don't know you could get with a non ///M?

Ideally I would have a 997 911 cab, but they're still a bit spendy, and I've never really fallen in love with the 996 (which still be out of my price range anyway)
335i and a few mods including exhaust backbox mod. Loved that engine in mine.
 

Marty Lad

RMS Regular
Location
Tyrone
Drives
E46 M3
Excellent all round cars, although they are getting on in years now and a lot have had hard lives. Still quick even by today’s standards. I’ve never driven an SMG, always felt that manual was the way to go for that age of an m3, the SMG pumps also give intermittent and expensive problems too. Have a look round one, the dash / sat nav is quite dated now and you may want something a bit more modern.

Boot floor cracks are common but not massively expensive to fix now.

Proper maintenance is expensive (decent tyres £150+ each, front brake discs are £300 a pair etc.) so try to get one with that doesn’t need anything for a while.

A 330i / 335i etc. Would never have the same appeal for me, also prices for a good e46 are close to e90 m3 territory now too.
 

Eager

RMS Regular
Location
fields
Drives
broooooom
Other angle, e90 and 335 etc are all just depreciating. Could get in and out of the e46 idea and loose nothing if you buy a good one.
 

amg306

RMS Regular
Location
Kilkeel
Drives
Anything
In my experience you have to drive the tyres of the M3 to get it at its best, if you dont, then it's hard to see what the fuss is about. So for a spin up the coast with the kids, I can't see you doing that, so possibly a sorted E90 335 might be a better idea.

But I also understand the ///M itch, I had to do it too, and I'm glad I did!
 

Woodcutter

RMS Trader
Drives
P&C Pug Partner
Mate of mine has a silver manual convertible with red leather E46 M3 available very soon, it's a late car being registered 2006, 1 owner with full Bavarian history, 4 new OE wheels fitted last year, pretty low mileage IIRC, but I can't recall exactly how many.

Not sure how much he's asking, but it'll be sensible enough money I reckon.

Can get more info if interested.
 

Stebo

RMS Regular
Location
Banbridge
Drives
A7
In my experience you have to drive the tyres of the M3 to get it at its best, if you dont, then it's hard to see what the fuss is about. So for a spin up the coast with the kids, I can't see you doing that, so possibly a sorted E90 335 might be a better idea.

But I also understand the ///M itch, I had to do it too, and I'm glad I did!
Oh it would definitely still be getting a proper skelp from time to time, but also being able to carry two kids for a run to Mauds on a Sunday evening will drastically reduce the wrath I would get from my wife if I landed home with say a z4m :grinning:

Mate of mine has a silver manual convertible with red leather E46 M3 available very soon, it's a late car being registered 2006, 1 owner with full Bavarian history, 4 new OE wheels fitted last year, pretty low mileage IIRC, but I can't recall exactly how many.

Not sure how much he's asking, but it'll be sensible enough money I reckon.

Can get more info if interested.
I wouldn't be a massive fan of silver, but I wouldn't let that put me off if the condition, history and price was right, so yea that would be great if you could send me on the details. (y)

I'm looking to pull the trigger on something pretty soon - am over in England at the minute and was going to go lift that red one but it's sold unfortunately 8-(
 

dddrrift

RMS Regular
Location
Peninsula
Drives
AMG
had a convertible SMG myself a few years ago. Miss it badly. The SMG isn't perfect but you do get used to it and id happily buy another. The convertible is grand but the chassis does have a lot more flex in it and you do really feel it. If its what your after you wont be disappointed.
 

Stebo

RMS Regular
Location
Banbridge
Drives
A7
had a convertible SMG myself a few years ago. Miss it badly. The SMG isn't perfect but you do get used to it and id happily buy another. The convertible is grand but the chassis does have a lot more flex in it and you do really feel it. If its what your after you wont be disappointed.
Aye, I appreciate that there is a bit of a trade-off, but then if it was out-and-out performance there are better options out there than either the coupe or cab. It would only be for sunny dry days, so I can't help imagine a lot of the time I might wish I had a convertible. Maybe when I've had it a while I might regret it, but at least I'll know.

Still not really decided on smg / manual. I think I'd be happiest with manual, but I'll not let SMG put me of a good straight clean car.
 
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