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      03-19-2010, 07:36 PM   #67
germain1124
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i owned an 01 E46 M3 6 speed, now have an 08 E92 M3 with 7 spd DCT. the E46 was great, light and nimble but overall the E92 is a better car on the track and even more so as an everyday driver. if an E92 is not an option, the 135 is a great car with affordable power and great hanlding
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      03-22-2010, 10:07 AM   #68
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OP, this is a pretty good question and there have been some insightful posts. I'm in a somewhat similar situation to you.

Here's my 2 cents: My 335xi lease is up later this year and while the most practical choice is to order an e92 m3, for some reason part of me wants to get back into an e46 m3. I've driven the e92 numerous times and it's undoubtedly a phenomenal car and as others have said, on paper it destroys the e46. However, there was something about my e46 that just stirred my soul (canít really describe it). After driving the e92 I canít really say the same. IMO it feels a bit mundane, even in the most aggressive settings, for driving around town/ a little back road fun. To me the e46 was a blast to drive around town, highway cruise, and open up a bit on back roads. The car just felt more connected and raw, a few things I value highly. A reason for this could be that the e92 has such higher limits that I have not/probably never would come anywhere near exploring. Iím sure the e92 is a total beast on the track but since I donít track cars I donít see myself deriving the same enjoyment out of the car as I did from my e46.

At the end of the day Iím probably going to end up with the e92 since Iíve already owned an e46. Also, the new car warranty is a big plus considering I will drive ~15-17K miles per year and keep the car for ~3 years. The thought of putting that many miles yearly on an e46 that is out of warranty doesnít sit too well with me.

Good luck with the choice (itís not a bad situation to be in). Theyíre both great vehicles and you canít really go wrong with either.
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      05-05-2010, 09:07 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montoya View Post
Yes I did say in my opinion. Thank-you for stating yours. That's is what I love about our cars, we get so passionate about them!

But in my defense let me lay out my thinking less emotionally:

My opinion is that the soul of BMW has been to build sport sedans or at the most GT cars in the true Grand Touring sense. Cars that you can rack up 100's of miles a day in at high speed, in all conditions, on all roads, in relative comfort (comfort meaning control and physical comfort).

Now, again in my opinion, the E46 tried too hard to be a hard edged sports car rather than a true sports sedan in the BMW tradition. Here the logic behind that argument:

Suspension: When I owned it in Chicago I felt the suspension was too harsh for the roads there. It was almost grit your teeth harsh going over the frost heaves. Now, granted the car was new and it mellowed overtime and was less of an issue out west. But, despite the harsh suspension, the handling, while great, is not comparable to the E92 with EDC- which is much smoother with better handling.

Acoustics: I also loved the inline six, yet why was there a rasp? This is again just to make the car acoustically 'rougher' or the driving experience more raw. Nobody can tell me the rasp was not intentional. BMW spends 1000's of hours working on the acoustics for all their cars.

Hood Bulge: Total marketing, like they wanted to put a V8 in it eventually. The bulge was even called a 'power dome'. Totally unnecessary.

Engine Redline: Now I know from my own seat of the pants after 5 years of driving it, the stock E46 M3 did not produce more power above 7800 RPM or so. Yet we had a redline at 8200 RPM. Why? The M roadster and coupe both had the same engine with a much lower redline. Mike Miller from Bimmer Magazine and Roundel has stated his opinion the redline is total marketing. I agree. Let's not even start talking about the two bottom end recalls done on mine.

Refinement: For what it is worth all my M3's have been pretty stripped down. My present car has no I-Drive, and my E36 and E46 had manual seats with no sunroof. So, I like comfort but not at the expense of weight. Unfortunately my present M3 has a sunroof, but I bought it used. So no, I don't value comfort over performance. I value refinement with performance. This is my final argument: The E46 M3 designers deliberately chose to make the car less refined to give it a more sporting appeal.

So those are my arguments. Could BMW have made a smoother more refined, 'raspless' M3 that was just as fast as the E46 M3, without the hood bulge and just as much power with a lower redline? Of course. And, to my argument, that would be more of what BMW is about from the 2002 tii to the present E92 M3.


And who cares about grandma? I don't let her near my car!!

(EDIT: Of course I don't mean make lower revving engines! High revving engines are also a BMW tradition- just set the redline based on Engineering, not Marketing).
I know this is bumping an old thread, but m3forum is down and I'm bored.

Some points:

1) hood bulge is necessary to physically fit the engine... which honestly is a much more legit reason to have a hood bulge than an air box... and ours doesn't dominate the view out the windshield. "Power dome" does not mean V8 in any way. Having the bulge does not imply a V8 in any way.

2) The side gills are functional as well, at least the drivers side is-- it's an ECU cooling vent. Passenger side one is there for symmetry.

3) Peak power in the S54 is 7900 rpm, redline is 8000 rpm. That said, if you don't know why you'd want to be able to drive past peak power, you should probably hit the track. Often your mid corner, and hitting redline or shifting will throw the car off balance. Being able to stay in gear is a huge advantage, even if, in a straight line, it would mean slower acceleration than a higher gear.

4) The suspension on all e46 M3s was made softer for 04-06. I don't know what year you had, but I would suspect an earlier one.


As for background on me, I've had 4 M3s now-- 2 e36s, 2 e46s (both bought new). I had a downpayment on the e90, but didn't go through with it. Currently I have a e46 m3 daily and a 2415 lb, 385 hp (NA S50B32) e36 M3 track car. That thing is a pretty "pure" M3, imo
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      05-05-2010, 09:26 AM   #70
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Quote:
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If you can keep both cars, do it! I've had my E46 for 7 years now and when my E92 gets delivered I won't be getting rid of my E46. It's like an old g/f you want to keep on the side while in another relationship lol. I just can't part with her. The E46 will become my winter beater and I'll probably drop an AA S/C in it since it's now outta warranty and won't be my daily driver.
Dude that E46 is f'in beautiful. It's almost a sin to use that as a winter beater.
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      05-05-2010, 12:48 PM   #71
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After this weekend I can say I had more fun with my E46 on the track, although I will say how well the E92 can handle its weight, it is definitely there. My E46 was set up for the track with Clubsports and BBK, etc., and I talked to many people at the event that while E92 is good, the E46 was better in track for than the E92, and it would take much much more work to get the E92 to be able to do as well as the E46. I still have both and I've yet to take the E46 out for about 2 months. I am 100% satisfied with the E92 in stock form, and I am booked for another event in 2 weeks.
This doesn't apply to 90% of BMW owners tho, who think they can drive.
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      05-05-2010, 11:09 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
I know this is bumping an old thread, but m3forum is down and I'm bored.

Some points:

1) hood bulge is necessary to physically fit the engine... which honestly is a much more legit reason to have a hood bulge than an air box... and ours doesn't dominate the view out the windshield. "Power dome" does not mean V8 in any way. Having the bulge does not imply a V8 in any way.

2) The side gills are functional as well, at least the drivers side is-- it's an ECU cooling vent. Passenger side one is there for symmetry.

3) Peak power in the S54 is 7900 rpm, redline is 8000 rpm. That said, if you don't know why you'd want to be able to drive past peak power, you should probably hit the track. Often your mid corner, and hitting redline or shifting will throw the car off balance. Being able to stay in gear is a huge advantage, even if, in a straight line, it would mean slower acceleration than a higher gear.

4) The suspension on all e46 M3s was made softer for 04-06. I don't know what year you had, but I would suspect an earlier one.


As for background on me, I've had 4 M3s now-- 2 e36s, 2 e46s (both bought new). I had a downpayment on the e90, but didn't go through with it. Currently I have a e46 m3 daily and a 2415 lb, 385 hp (NA S50B32) e36 M3 track car. That thing is a pretty "pure" M3, imo
Yeah this is an oldie but a goodie. It took me 20 minutes to read it all over again. I think I made some good points and hey, I took a controversial stance on the E46 M3, but please note that in this long thread I made clear I owned it and loved it for 6 years.

Yes mine was an '03 so early on the suspension was stiff. I made the point about the readline because while yes, an extended redline prevents unnecessary shifts mid corner, in the case of the S54 engine they pushed it way too far- my bottom end was rebuilt twice. And, while the published literature for BMW shows the S54 producing max power at 7900 RPM, most dyno's showed not much or no increase in power past 7600 RPM (5 HP or less). In hindsight it is IMHO a case of marketing winning over engineering. I can't remember did I say the side gills were non-functional? My point on the power dome is that I believe it was not needed. I'm pretty sure a stock hood will work on the E46 M3, unlike the E92.

By the way, some of the guys just get so passionate that they loose perspective on things. I loved all my old M3's for what they were, but time has given me a better view of what they were and are. Again I was just having fun, tongue in cheek pointing out some of the issues on the E46 that I think stand out in perspective to the E92.

I'm sure that if I took that approach about my old E36 compared to the current E92 (like it was just a white washed, sports model of the 3 series, because we didn't get the S50 engine, etc, etc) that the response from this board would be the sound of crickets because few on this board actually owned an E36 M3 new and almost none own one now. It is just an old car, and eventually the E92 will be too.

But, right now while we own one or both of the E9X and E46, then by god let's have a good old time getting ourselves all excited comparing the both of them! LOL! Passion about our rides is why we own M3's and not some econbox.
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      05-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montoya View Post
Yeah this is an oldie but a goodie. It took me 20 minutes to read it all over again. I think I made some good points and hey, I took a controversial stance on the E46 M3, but please note that in this long thread I made clear I owned it and loved it for 6 years.

Yes mine was an '03 so early on the suspension was stiff. I made the point about the readline because while yes, an extended redline prevents unnecessary shifts mid corner, in the case of the S54 engine they pushed it way too far- my bottom end was rebuilt twice. And, while the published literature for BMW shows the S54 producing max power at 7900 RPM, most dyno's showed not much or no increase in power past 7600 RPM (5 HP or less). In hindsight it is IMHO a case of marketing winning over engineering. I can't remember did I say the side gills were non-functional? My point on the power dome is that I believe it was not needed. I'm pretty sure a stock hood will work on the E46 M3, unlike the E92.

By the way, some of the guys just get so passionate that they loose perspective on things. I loved all my old M3's for what they were, but time has given me a better view of what they were and are. Again I was just having fun, tongue in cheek pointing out some of the issues on the E46 that I think stand out in perspective to the E92.

I'm sure that if I took that approach about my old E36 compared to the current E92 (like it was just a white washed, sports model of the 3 series, because we didn't get the S50 engine, etc, etc) that the response from this board would be the sound of crickets because few on this board actually owned an E36 M3 new and almost none own one now. It is just an old car, and eventually the E92 will be too.

But, right now while we own one or both of the E9X and E46, then by god let's have a good old time getting ourselves all excited comparing the both of them! LOL! Passion about our rides is why we own M3's and not some econbox.
Fair enough!

Though, the stock hood won't fit and I've found the engine to be bullet proof-- my engine has 102,000 miles on it now, bounces of the rev limiter multiple times every day, and has over 4000 track miles on it (as well as drag strip and autox), and never even the slightest hint of an engine issue. In fact, I've had a couple times where I've been forced, mid corner, to leave it just sitting at 8000 RPM for a couple seconds before I could straighten out the car and shift.

M3s are the only cars I've owned where I haven't caused engine issues
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Last edited by Obioban; 05-07-2010 at 07:57 AM.
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