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      10-25-2012, 01:43 AM   #1
rg87
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E90 or E46 M3?

I've sold the E90 330i & the E46 330ci, and now I'm in need of a new car. I've decided to keep it Euro, and go with another BMW again!

M3 seems to be the front runner in choices. I want a car with more power. Here's the dilemma... I can't decide if I should go with the E90 or E46 body? This will be a daily driver. The obvious difference would be a sedan vs. coupe and V8 vs. I-6.

So which M3 body should I go with? Opinions and suggestions welcomed!
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      10-25-2012, 06:30 AM   #2
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lol, search brotha.

E46M will be costly to upkeep nowadays imo. Plus it's kinda old now.. Hop in the v8. You won't look back.
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      10-25-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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Depends.

The E46 M3 will be cheaper to buy and despite slightly higher maintenance cost I can't see that offsetting the savings over the E9x.

But, if money isn't much of an object in this debate then I suppose it really depends and is a matter of 1) what you want the car for 2) what you like and 3) how you find them to be after driving both.

I drove both and decided on an E46 after considering how I'd use it, what they cost, etc. I don't daily drive my M3 and it's mostly a weekend car that I drive spring/summer/fall. If I had been buying it as a daily I'd have bought a 4Dr E90 M3 and been done with it.

Driving them both I found the E46 to be more raw and the E9x to be a bit more refined. Despite the added weight, the E9x feels nimble considering it's size and practicality, but that wasn't really what I wanted/needed from the car.

Both engines are also awesome in their own right. But something about the S54 really does it for me. I joke that it's because it's a little finicky and a bit needy, but maybe that's the truth. It feels race-bred, although so does the S65 (if maybe to a slightly lesser extent).

My real piece of advice is take a long test drive, especially in the E46. When the car is cold is cantankerous. About the same as most people are when they've first woken up. The engine, transmission, driveline, and suspension seem to need a little time to soften up. I didn't find that to be as much the case with the E9x, but again, they are both performance cars and need time to wake up.

Either way, you really can't go wrong. Both chassis are awesome, both engines are awesome, and both cars really strike a great balance and set the standard for the sports coupe.

Good luck!
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      10-25-2012, 06:58 AM   #4
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^he hit it spot on.
Really just a personal choice.
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      10-25-2012, 07:02 AM   #5
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That's a huge $$$ difference between the two cars ....
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      10-25-2012, 09:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
Depends.

The E46 M3 will be cheaper to buy and despite slightly higher maintenance cost I can't see that offsetting the savings over the E9x.

But, if money isn't much of an object in this debate then I suppose it really depends and is a matter of 1) what you want the car for 2) what you like and 3) how you find them to be after driving both.

I drove both and decided on an E46 after considering how I'd use it, what they cost, etc. I don't daily drive my M3 and it's mostly a weekend car that I drive spring/summer/fall. If I had been buying it as a daily I'd have bought a 4Dr E90 M3 and been done with it.

Driving them both I found the E46 to be more raw and the E9x to be a bit more refined. Despite the added weight, the E9x feels nimble considering it's size and practicality, but that wasn't really what I wanted/needed from the car.

Both engines are also awesome in their own right. But something about the S54 really does it for me. I joke that it's because it's a little finicky and a bit needy, but maybe that's the truth. It feels race-bred, although so does the S65 (if maybe to a slightly lesser extent).

My real piece of advice is take a long test drive, especially in the E46. When the car is cold is cantankerous. About the same as most people are when they've first woken up. The engine, transmission, driveline, and suspension seem to need a little time to soften up. I didn't find that to be as much the case with the E9x, but again, they are both performance cars and need time to wake up.

Either way, you really can't go wrong. Both chassis are awesome, both engines are awesome, and both cars really strike a great balance and set the standard for the sports coupe.

Good luck!
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      10-25-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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I have had 3 m3's and the e46 m3 would be my choice with out a doubt at all..

This m3post forum is heavily heavily biased on e9x vehicles... just look at the small ass section for e46 ....

With that being said...

e9x :

PROS: Larger/more hp/newer/less issues
Cons: gas sucks/cost twice of e46 m3/parts cost more

e46 m3:

PROS: way better gas mileage/easier to park/parts cost less/timeless look
Cons:A little smaller
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      10-25-2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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I had this similar debate before picking up my E90. The newest E46 M3 you can get is still almost 7 years old, which is one of the things that turned me away. Since the M3 is my DD, I went with the E90 for maintenance, power, and 4 doors and I couldn't be happier. It does help that my roommate owns an E46 M3 that I can borrow when I want to
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      10-25-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W/// View Post
That's a huge $$$ difference between the two cars ....
it all kinda boils down to this. if you can afford the e90 i don't really see why you would look at the e46. this is all personal preference but when you can only choose ONE then the e90 will be the winner every time. now having said that i would love and will one day have both e90 and e46 my garage
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      10-25-2012, 07:26 PM   #10
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I'll vote for the e46. Cheaper, more low key, but still timeless design. Plenty of fun as a DD and not over the top. Cheaper parts, mods, and less gas.

You will have to factor in maintenance for the e46 since it will be much older. Though a e9x may also break your wallet if it is out of warranty.
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      10-25-2012, 07:42 PM   #11
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I went from an e46 M3 to e92 M3. Between the two, the current M3 is the better car overall. I have way more fun in my e92 because of some of the improvements. Fyi, I went from SMG to DCT.
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      10-26-2012, 02:13 AM   #12
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E90/End thread
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      10-26-2012, 02:34 AM   #13
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personal choice, i had an e46 m3 for ten years, and i just got an e92... e46 is raw, u feel the road, the e92 is much more refine.
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      10-26-2012, 04:45 AM   #14
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Getting 6mt I'd probably go for a mint enthusiast owned e46. If not the e90, SMG is the worst transmission I have driven in my life. The only thing it does better than DCT is aggressive downshifts.
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      10-26-2012, 07:10 AM   #15
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For a daily driver I would get the E90 and not think twice. Assuming money is not an issue... it is more comfortable, more modern, more tech, faster, etc. Really, the only thing the E46 has on the E90 is the "raw" feeling which I could understand wanting if you wanted a weekend/track car but not for a DD.
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      10-26-2012, 07:32 AM   #16
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Get em both!
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      10-26-2012, 08:23 AM   #17
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e90: more power, faster, more comfortable, more modern gizmos, less issues (newer), smoother automatic, can be had in 4 door.
e46: more fuel efficient (significantly), cheaper parts, lower purchase price, feels faster, more fun, more tech than you'd think for being 7-14 years old, more involving automatic.

IMO it really comes down to if you want fast and comfortable or more involving.
(though, if we're honestly, both are fast, comfortable, and involving, so it's just a matter of degree). Also, how you feel about the looks.
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      10-27-2012, 08:10 AM   #18
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sources like car mags seem to regularly describe the e90 M3a the greatest of all time. Having owned multiple BMWs and 3 M cars and driven every type of M3, I agree. The driving feel may be different between them, but any claim that the e46 is better or more involving is mostly just nostalgia.

Just got done with my first track day in my E90 and it was quite simply the most incredible and connected I have ever felt with a car. It may be smoother, but it does what you want it to, when you want it to, with an almost telepathic immediacy. Just spectacular.
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      10-27-2012, 02:52 PM   #19
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sources like car mags seem to regularly describe the e90 M3a the greatest of all time. Having owned multiple BMWs and 3 M cars and driven every type of M3, I agree. The driving feel may be different between them, but any claim that the e46 is better or more involving is mostly just nostalgia.

Just got done with my first track day in my E90 and it was quite simply the most incredible and connected I have ever felt with a car. It may be smoother, but it does what you want it to, when you want it to, with an almost telepathic immediacy. Just spectacular.
Depends on the reviewer.

Chris Harris, who owned an e92 M3 for a while, recently said that the e46 M3 is the greatest car of all time

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      10-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #20
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I'd say with the prices that people are demanding for their e46 M3s now, I would go with an e9x.
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      10-27-2012, 05:00 PM   #21
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If you are coming from a 330i, either would be a lot more entertaining. Whichever fits your budget.
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      10-28-2012, 07:43 AM   #22
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Depends on the reviewer.

Chris Harris, who owned an e92 M3 for a while, recently said that the e46 M3 is the greatest car of all time
Cool vid, thanks for sharing. I still think a lot of this, and the opinions shared in the video, are nostalgic nonsense. Granted it sounds like Chris Harris has access to the CSL, which I highly doubt the OP is considering, but that could change the discussion.

My point is that if you could erase people's memory, eliminate the sentimental or collect-ability (especially for the E30 M3) factor, and showed all 4 generations of the M3 to 10,000 car enthousiests, just let them drive them for a week, on and off track, I think 9,000+ would pick the E90. It has the most power, greatest straight line performance, phas the highest revving, best sound engine. In terms of Chassis, the e90 has it for me there, as well. The suspension and chassis stiffness allow for the highest grip levels of all M cars, and the car is phenomenally balanced and condfidence inspiring. The steering is different, but it is incredibly accurate and the steering wheel feels the best in your hands (obviously subjective).

I don't want a DCT, not because its less challenging on the track (I can use any help I can get), but because I enjoy rowing the gears around town and the weight savings. I think the transmission concerns in the video are fundamentally different than steering feel, electronic gizmo arguments.
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