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      09-05-2013, 07:38 AM   #1
Elite47
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Thinking about trading my E92 328i for a E46 M3 of higher milage! Am I crazy?

I love my BMW and BMWs in general. The car I have now is great, fully paid off, 30,000 miles, detailed, and fun to drive...but....

I cannot forget my 2001 E46 330i. It was so much fun, it introduced me to BMW and made me fall in love. My dream for for the past decade has been the M3. Even after the E9X M3s came out, I still had an affinity for the E46. They seemed lighter, more focused, less complicated with over-engineering. (no offense with later model owners, a BMW is a BMW, still an incredible machine)

I was even thinking of dropping a couple thousand in performance parts to really get the most out of my 328i, but then I thought, I might as well get the real thing. Sure they are mostly at 50k miles and for about $29,000 for the options that I want, which is more than what my E92 is worth. But I can't stop seeing them on the streets and just dreaming about one.

Has anyone done anything similar? Or am I just nuts?
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      09-07-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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In my opinion, dropping money into a 328 for performance is a waste of time and money. Buy the real thing. The power you will extract from the N52 wont be worth the dollars you'll spend doing it.

I personally feel like it's worth it as long as you get your M3 with a warranty. The maintenance of the older car will be more to keep up with. Also the car isn't as refined so be prepared to make some concessions in comfort.

In my opinion, if you were fine with owning a 328 in the first place, maybe you should drop a few thousand and get a 335 and get the best of both worlds. You could probably even get one under warranty. 335 will offer similar performance, better comfort, and probably similar reliability as the M3. Its not as raw but if you have a 328, maybe not being too raw is a good thing.
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      09-07-2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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It's easy. You see, all you have to do is find a local E46 M3 at a >dealership<, and test drive it. You'll know if you want an M3 after driving one.
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      09-09-2013, 11:07 AM   #4
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I guess it depends on what you want out of your car. I went from E92 335i to E46 M3. I had a tune on the 335i (325-330 rwhp) which makes it very close to E9x M3 in terms of acceleration, but it just wasn't an M overall.

E46 M3 can be had for quite cheap nowadays, but you gotta set aside $2-3k for some chassis reinforcement and Vanos work. But after that, they'll last well past 100k miles. Just make sure that you know what you should be looking at, or get a PPI done from someone familiar with these cars.

In retrospect, other great candidates would have been 128 sport, E36 M3, and E46 330. You just can't go wrong with the bullet proof S/M52s.

One important thing to note, since you've owned an E46, is that E46 M3 has higher steering ratio than non-Ms, so you may be disappointed in the M3's slower steering feel. Steering precision and accuracy is still on-point, just quite a bit slower.

I can write a lot more on this, but I'll stop here. Let me know if you're interested to talk more.
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      09-09-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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Before my M i had an 04 330i ZHP for 5 years and to this day miss that car a lot. maintenance is cheap compared to M and it was fun to drive. Steering was perfect and the 6spd was butter once warmed up. This would be the one i'd go for instead of E46 M if I was looking for a daily driver. You can get one for about 10k and the car still looks so sick (mine was Black Sapphire). If its just for fun and not a DD the E46 M is pretty awesome.

Your not crazy.
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      09-11-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elite47 View Post
I love my BMW and BMWs in general. The car I have now is great, fully paid off, 30,000 miles, detailed, and fun to drive...but....

I cannot forget my 2001 E46 330i. It was so much fun, it introduced me to BMW and made me fall in love. My dream for for the past decade has been the M3. Even after the E9X M3s came out, I still had an affinity for the E46. They seemed lighter, more focused, less complicated with over-engineering. (no offense with later model owners, a BMW is a BMW, still an incredible machine)

I was even thinking of dropping a couple thousand in performance parts to really get the most out of my 328i, but then I thought, I might as well get the real thing. Sure they are mostly at 50k miles and for about $29,000 for the options that I want, which is more than what my E92 is worth. But I can't stop seeing them on the streets and just dreaming about one.

Has anyone done anything similar? Or am I just nuts?
I can tell you more than that ) ive changed my 328xi M-pack fully equiped with all the stuff you can get, including HUD,adaptive M-suspension, sport gearbox,sunroof,H/K and such and went in for M3 E46 in mint conditon with 10 thousand kilometers on its odometer. It about to celebrate its 10th birthday, but i abosolutely love it. It has nothing to the modern BMW models. Its clear, crisp and sharp. And provides tonns of emotions with its road feel and inline 6 made of cast iron, revving all the way up to 8 thousand rpm with that drilling sound.
The only downside for me is that i lost a big amout of money, but....who cares ? we live only once )
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      09-11-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsmkr01 View Post
Before my M i had an 04 330i ZHP for 5 years and to this day miss that car a lot. maintenance is cheap compared to M and it was fun to drive. Steering was perfect and the 6spd was butter once warmed up. This would be the one i'd go for instead of E46 M if I was looking for a daily driver. You can get one for about 10k and the car still looks so sick (mine was Black Sapphire). If its just for fun and not a DD the E46 M is pretty awesome.

Your not crazy.
Where can you find a zhp for $10k? Lol
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      09-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjd598 View Post
Where can you find a zhp for $10k? Lol
E46fanatics is a good start. Get an 04 which is almost 10 years old. When mine was totaled last year with 85k it was valued at 14k an mine was minty fresh.
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      09-11-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsmkr01 View Post
E46fanatics is a good start. Get an 04 which is almost 10 years old. When mine was totaled last year with 85k it was valued at 14k an mine was minty fresh.
I thought that's the type you were talking about. Getting a 2004 100k zhp sedan will easily be found for $10k. I assumed you would want to snatch the decent-prime area of zhps which may be in the 05-06 coupe range.
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      09-13-2013, 12:17 AM   #10
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get the E46 is such a fun car! my dad`s neighbor has one, love seeing the car.
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      09-15-2013, 04:01 PM   #11
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No your a genius!
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      10-19-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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Agree with the above ^^^ posts...


If you have one car, and drive more than 10,000 miles a year, and are on a budget the zhp 330i makes a lot of sense.... esp the 4 door, imo the only e46 coupe that looked really awesome was the M3.

When I bought my e90 330i (sport, stick) over 4 yrs ago, I was going back and forth between e90 335i, e46 M3, e46 zhp sedan and of course the e90 330i. Since at the time I was doing about 20,000 miles a year, and didn't want to put crazy miles on an M3, especially since they have a couple very common expensive issues- some of which are catastrophic such as the crank bearings, vanos, and rear subframe issues I ruled out the M3. At the time, the 335i was still pretty new and the thought of BMW's first turbo effort in years scared me. That left me with the e46 and e90 330i... I found the car I bought for an absolutely smoking deal and I got it. First car I have ever owned that I didn't get bored with after a year or two. Sure, I have put some money into mods to make it quicker, better handling and more fun, but the car has been very very reliable. The only non maintenance or non mod money I had to shell out as a surprise problem was a starter at 60k miles (really?!) and a folding mirror motor. Now with 132,000 miles it still blows me away every time I drive it. Do I want an M3 (or a cayman s or a z06 or...) sure I do, but when I drive it, I don't think about buying another car. Going to work, the grocery store or at the track, the car just spoils me. It feels great, it's just always on my side. Being paid for helps too

IMO, sell the 328, and if you drive around 10k miles a year and can afford a surprise here and there get the M3, if you are on a budget and drive more miles/yr get the 330i.

EDIT- the other rub about the e46 M3, for me at least, is that no matter how much I love those cars in stock for, I would have to put serious money into mods... I would prefer a comp pkg car since they are of course newer and have the convertible floorpan that helps with the subframe issue and the quicker steering rack, but they don't have cruise control, which is effing absurd, so there's money there to make that happen. Then, I would have to get a set of euro headers/cats for some extra hp and way better exhaust sound. And finally there is absolutely no way on earth. I could avoid getting a csl rep intake (evolve?) and tune, as well as a set of coilovers... I mean, how could I possibly live with an e46 m3 without those must have mods ? Haha, I'm such an asshole, never happy.

Good luck whatever way you go and post lots of pics!!
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Last edited by StealYourFace; 10-19-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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      11-10-2013, 04:47 AM   #13
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Went from e90 328xi to e92 335is to e46 m3...... E46 m3 is best by far
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      11-11-2013, 03:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elite47 View Post
I was even thinking of dropping a couple thousand in performance parts to really get the most out of my 328i
Don't do that.. It never works.

I'd take an E46 M3 over a E9X 335, let alone 328. E46 M3 is never a bad decision. All time great car, imo.
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      11-11-2013, 04:55 PM   #15
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Don't bother modifying a 328i.

E46 M3 is far better than a 335i from a performance stand point. Not talking stop light light racing but track performance, handling, and feel.
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      11-13-2013, 02:02 PM   #16
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Get an E46 M3 that has been well maintained, and don't look back. If you can find a ZCP even better. My friend's Interlagos Blue E46 on Pilot Sport Cups was the only car to ever scare me in a corner, that thing was so brutal it made my (at the time stock RS4) feel like a FWD A4 lol. Massive respect for those machines.
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