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      06-25-2014, 10:54 AM   #1
mcalc55
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Pristine e46 or F30 N20

Hey guys,
I currently have a great f30 I love with lots of goodies (HUD, Navi, MPE) and I love the car. I have the 8AT but just 'learned' how to drive a stick the other day from a friend and really enjoy it and think I would love a more 'drivers' oriented car.

I came across a 2002 e46 m3 manual that I might be able to get into for $23,500. The car is in excellent condition, probably within the top 10% on the road and it only has 52,000 miles.

I think I want a more sporty car, the 8AT is fun but I've always dreamed of having an M car. I would have to give my f30 to my dad and pick this one up since the f30 is still leased.

My question is does anyone have any thoughts around the transition from the two? I guess it comes down to my own personal preference around creature comforts in the f30 (the HUD and bmw navi app that i love) vs the raw M power in the e46. I know repairs will run me about 1500-2k a year on the M to maintain vs included maintenance. I really only drive about 8k a year so it wouldn't get abused.

Here's the description:

Premium Package
Cold Weather Package
Bi-Xenon Lights
Side Rear Airbags (Rare)
Harmon Kardon Sound
Navigation System (Upgraded to the MKIV DVD Computer with wide screen and CD player up front)
Seats are power with Lumbar, Adjustable Bolsters, and Heating

2002 M3 Coupe
2 owners
Never winter driven (or rain unless caught in it unexpectedly)
Garage Kept by both myself and the previous owner
No Accidents or Bodywork (only bumper refresh)
6 Speed Manual
Titanium Silver Metallic
Imola Red Interior (One of the cleanest Iíve seen in a used M3 regardless of year)
52,xxx Miles
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      06-25-2014, 11:04 AM   #2
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Keep in mind the e46 will be give u lot of maintenance headache in the future.
Older technology
No Turbo
and by today's standard its not considered a very fast car anymore.
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      06-25-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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Read this:

http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/the...33171/+pgeorge
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      06-25-2014, 11:34 AM   #4
mcalc55
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Originally Posted by Tron-M3 View Post
Nice thanks, yeah i just found that and another comparo, it sounds like alot of people thing you're getting 90% of the old m3 except for some of the rawness. I got a steal on my f30, unless its a night and day difference in driving im not sure I'll be happy, i need to test drive one
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      06-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #5
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So I came from an e46 (330ci) to 328i Mt6 N20

What I miss about my e46
1. Having a key, after 1 year still not used to not having a place to put it
2. Engine - 6 is so much smoother, especially in stick mode
3. Radio & controls - no I drive, much easier to use
4. Random errors and messages I get via idrive
5. Size - the F30 is large compared

What I like about the f30
1. Most comfortable car ever driven - period
2. Low wind noise - the e46 was louder
3. Warranty - I have a CPO so good for a long while; you will need a lot of suspension work b/c the bushings on the e46 go at about 60k.

Both cars are great, however each has its own pro's & cons. My suggestion would be to go with a F30 / e90 335i stick (if you need 4 doors) or e82 135i stick (those can be had for about the same as the M3 you mentioned) and have a Turbo 6 which can be modded to incredible gains!
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      06-25-2014, 11:44 AM   #6
mcalc55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyP View Post
So I came from an e46 (330ci) to 328i Mt6 N20

What I miss about my e46
1. Having a key, after 1 year still not used to not having a place to put it
2. Engine - 6 is so much smoother, especially in stick mode
3. Radio & controls - no I drive, much easier to use
4. Random errors and messages I get via idrive
5. Size - the F30 is large compared

What I like about the f30
1. Most comfortable car ever driven - period
2. Low wind noise - the e46 was louder
3. Warranty - I have a CPO so good for a long while; you will need a lot of suspension work b/c the bushings on the e46 go at about 60k.

Both cars are great, however each has its own pro's & cons. My suggestion would be to go with a F30 / e90 335i stick (if you need 4 doors) or e82 135i stick (those can be had for about the same as the M3 you mentioned) and have a Turbo 6 which can be modded to incredible gains!
That's all pretty helpful, the other 'issue' is that it would be a bit of manipulation between my lease and my dads need for a 2nd car to give him my current f30..all the hassle might not be worth it. 20-25k isn't exactly chump change persay
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      06-25-2014, 12:31 PM   #7
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There are a lot of options for that price range if you are willing to go for a 12 years old used car.

You can pick up a 986 Boxster S or E86 Z4M, and the best bang for the buck is going to be C5 Z06 or even base C6 with Z51 package

Personally, I would only get a 12 years old performance carif I knew the previous owner and the car's history. At the risk of stating the obvious, you can really put some hurt on your wallet if you pick the wrong example.
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      06-25-2014, 12:41 PM   #8
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Agreed although I probably like the size of the e46 best, 2 seats is tough although i realize that the back is almost useless in it.

As far as the owner, he's a forum guy on here and very well known so I think the history is pretty good but i'd obviously go for a proper PPI and all that, i know theres quite a few documented issues with the e46 M3 body frame etc...

as far as 'experience' goes...night and day? I need to find one to drive first, this is out of state so it's hard
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      06-25-2014, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcalc55 View Post
Agreed although I probably like the size of the e46 best, 2 seats is tough although i realize that the back is almost useless in it.

As far as the owner, he's a forum guy on here and very well known so I think the history is pretty good but i'd obviously go for a proper PPI and all that, i know theres quite a few documented issues with the e46 M3 body frame etc...

as far as 'experience' goes...night and day? I need to find one to drive first, this is out of state so it's hard
$23k+ for a E46 is a bit steep even with low miles. An alternative is to consider a new 2-series(which many believe as the E46 successor).
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      06-25-2014, 01:42 PM   #10
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It's a 2002 too..
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      06-25-2014, 01:53 PM   #11
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23k sounds like a lot for a 12 year old car, even a pristine M3. But money aside, I just passed my '02 330i to my daughter in October and got a '14 335i for myself, so I'll give you my thoughts comparing the two.

First, I loved that E46 and I'd still be driving it if my daughter hadn't claimed it. The main high-level difference is that the E46 feels very analog, while the F30 feels very digital. What I mean is that everything is very linear and smooth with the E46, where the F30 sometimes isn't.

Some examples. The steering in the E46 is very linear. No VSS variable rack. No lighter effort in parking lots. No button to adjust steering effort. It is what it is, and it's always what it is. Throttle and engine - aside from a twitchy tip-in (this was BMW's first effort at throttle-by-wire), the throttle and engine are pure linear, analog joy. No turbo lag, no early torque, no disconnect between rpm/sound/torque. As rpm's build, engine sound builds, and torque/speed builds. This is the gestalt that we're missing with the early and flat torque curve in the turbos.

One other high-point of the E46 is the awesome visibility. The hood is so low is disappears. The belt-line is lower. You just feel like the greenhouse is much larger. And the car overall is smaller and lighter too. One last thing that may just be me, but I find my 335i's low-speed behavior to be jarring. The E46 is very smooth and behaves like a normal car at low speeds, where the F30 (auto) can be a bit jerky and cranky.

Now some downsides. The E46 has more road and wind noise. The suspension is more harsh. The back seat is smaller (but usable). Various components will start failing. Water pump, fuel pump, gaskets, boots, hoses, belts, radiator, etc. You also won't have any smartphone integration, although you can get a bluetooth adapter to play your tunes.

Tough choice overall. Personally if I was going to spend that much money used, I'd get a cayman or 911. But I hear you on needing a backseat.
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      06-25-2014, 02:10 PM   #12
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I wouldn't touch that M3. The first few years had defective engines that blew up. I thought I was safe with a 2006 M3 but the S54 VANOS blew up at 41k miles and 3 weeks out of warranty. That is a separate issue from the early E46 M3 engines being defective. So if you consider a late one, you need to make sure the nuts on the VANOS have a fix to not come loose.

IIRC a change was made in 2003.5 model. But you can find all kinds of info on the M3 boards about the early ones blowing up.
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      06-25-2014, 06:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Agreed although I probably like the size of the e46 best, 2 seats is tough although i realize that the back is almost useless in it.
just go for the 2 seater! you won't regret it
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      06-25-2014, 09:13 PM   #14
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I would take a e46 M3 over a f30 328i without second guessing it. Even though it is a older car, they are just so much fun to drive. They make a great track car as well.
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      06-25-2014, 09:15 PM   #15
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I would take a e46 M3 over a f30 328i without second guessing it. Even though it is a older car, they are just so much fun to drive. They make a great track car as well.
Not a 2002 one. That's trouble waiting to happen. Unless it already blew up and BMW fixed and warranted to 100k.
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      06-26-2014, 03:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcalc55 View Post
Nice thanks, yeah i just found that and another comparo, it sounds like alot of people thing you're getting 90% of the old m3 except for some of the rawness. I got a steal on my f30, unless its a night and day difference in driving im not sure I'll be happy, i need to test drive one
Agreed, you need to drive one. I would only buy one I could evaluate up close in person, so if you can't make a trip to New Jersey I wouldn't consider that one, though it does look like a gem.

This decision is kind of like deciding to buy a really old house, because you love the character of houses that age. If your love is strong enough you may really enjoy it even though the upkeep is significant. It all boils down to how much satisfaction the classic character gives you.
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      06-26-2014, 09:02 AM   #17
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I can definitely see the car, as my father lives nearby so that's less of an issue. Thoughts on a reasonable price? 23 is too high?
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      06-26-2014, 09:05 AM   #18
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Wow looks like those seats have never been sat in.
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      06-26-2014, 10:38 AM   #19
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Wow looks like those seats have never been sat in.
it's extraordinary how good the interior looks!
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      06-26-2014, 10:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mike@x-ph.com View Post
Keep in mind the e46 will be give u lot of maintenance headache in the future.
Older technology
No Turbo
and by today's standard its not considered a very fast car anymore.
Bunk, you will never experience a car like the E46 M3 in the future. It is manly, throaty, stiff and sounds visceral and has visceral throttle response. It has a real diff and while it will take more maintenance, it is a destination.
What this poster is saying is like don't backpack around Europe, climb mount everest, K2, just buy a nice condo in Orlando and watch others do it in comfy surround sound. Every car in the future will be digitized, soft, electric automatic. You have an opportunity to get a clean E46 M3 with a screaming NA inline 6 and real manual transmission. It's time to do a plumbing check my friend, pull out the belt and look down there and make sure you still have the right plumbing. You will always be able to get digitized engine sound, no temp gauge, dynamic suspensions, idrive displays, comfort access, comfort this comfort that going forward. If you find you don't have the right plumbing , IM me with details on this clean M3...please.
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      06-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #21
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I would probably rather go for a used Cayman S. Those are cheap used. They are mid-engined so for me that's more of a sports car than even an M3. As far as maintenance cost it will be high, no doubt, just like the M3 tho.
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      06-26-2014, 01:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Bunk, you will never experience a car like the E46 M3 in the future. It is manly, throaty, stiff and sounds visceral and has visceral throttle response. It has a real diff and while it will take more maintenance, it is a destination.
What this poster is saying is like don't backpack around Europe, climb mount everest, K2, just buy a nice condo in Orlando and watch others do it in comfy surround sound. Every car in the future will be digitized, soft, electric automatic. You have an opportunity to get a clean E46 M3 with a screaming NA inline 6 and real manual transmission. It's time to do a plumbing check my friend, pull out the belt and look down there and make sure you still have the right plumbing. You will always be able to get digitized engine sound, no temp gauge, dynamic suspensions, idrive displays, comfort access, comfort this comfort that going forward. If you find you don't have the right plumbing , IM me with details on this clean M3...please.

I completely agree with you with everything u said about the e46 m3.
I would get it as a second or third car though.
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