My dad had an e46 vert (see sig), and I drove it every couple weeks and the car ROCKS.
No squeaks or rattles after 35k miles, car did feel more edgy over bumps but that was to be expected.
Can't compare it to an e92 M because mine will be here on Tuesday!! Overall it is an absolute blast to drive, a looker with the top down, and produces that awesome raspy high-pitched wail at WOT.
Gas mileage supposedly MUCH better also.