2001 BMW M3

I get that the wild colors offered by BMW on the E46 M3 don’t appeal to everyone, and I’m aware they tend to be the colors I focus on. What’s special about them to me is that they exist at all; you don’t have to agree that they’re the colors you’d buy, but isn’t the world a better place for them having been made? If I bought a M3, I’d really want to feel special. Of course, getting into any M car is a special experience, right? Well, it certainly was a bit of an occasion in the 1980s, but by the E36 and E46 M3s, production numbers meant they were reasonably common. With over 71,000 E36s made and over 85,000 E46s produced, odds of you seeing another going down the road are pretty strong. Heck, in my daily commute I count on seeing at least one – try that with an older M car. But what I see daily are typical German car colors; blacks, silvers, greys and whites. They look nice, I agree, but to me the appeal is what the M cars were in the 1980s – an event. It’s not so much that I want to be noticed, but more that I want to stand apart from the crowd. And to me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M experience from the norm. Today, there’s a lovely example of the later available on eBay:


Year: 2001
Model: M3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 51,500 mi
Price: $28,000 Buy It Now

This is a beautiful example of a 2001 E46 M3 in Laguna Seca Blue. Enthusiast owned, low milage (51.5K), perfectly setup, high quality mods, and well maintained either by myself or Performance Technic, needs nothing.

I’ve owned it for two years and drove it approximately 11K miles. I made a project out of sorting this car out, with lots of research going into the modifications that were made. It’s a highly capable, yet still comfortable car.

Here are some of the highlights/upgrades:

– Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with good tread. The best all around tire made. 265/35/18 square.
– APEX EC-7 Wheels 18×9.5 et35. 12mm spacer on rear.
– AST 4100 Coilovers (have original)
– Vorshlag Camber plates
– Rogue RSMs
– Rogue Tower Reinforcement Plates
– Rogue Strut Bar
– Rogue Trans Mounts
– New OEM RTABs with Limiters
– Aligned and corner balanced by Performance Technic
– Autosolutions Short Shift Kit, Macht Schnell knob (have original)
– Completed freshening of the front end trim to repair rock chips. This included a brand new OE Euro front bumper (no ugly reflectors), headlight covers, turn signals, grille kidneys, foglight covers, repainted mirrors.
– LED Tailights (have original)
– Motion Motorsports Aluminum belly pan
– Inspection II completed 1500 miles ago by Performance Technic
– Up to date on factory recalls
– New alternator, new coils
– Euro Console (have original)
– Carbon Fiber Gruppe M replica intake (has some cracks. Original installer tightened the bolts too tightly, have original)

Paint is in beautiful shape, it’s been polished recently, and sealed/waxed with top notch products. Has some tiny rock chips here and there, nothing unusual for a car of this age. Too small to photograph.

Interior is in excellent condition, shows some wear on driver’s bolster, but much better than most I’ve seen.

I have a spreadsheet with all repairs/mods completed during my time with the car that will go to the new owner, I also have paperwork from the previous owner. Clean title and Carfax.

I can send you a link to additional photos as well, just ask.

Well photographed, well presented and enthusiast owned, this car looks pretty awesome. The pictures obviously flatter the car well, but I don’t think the condition is being hidden. Miles are low, there’s a 6-speed manual in place, and maintenance is up to date. If I have any gripes, I probably would prefer a few less modifications but they’re not horribly offensive. My biggest change would probably be to drop the tint and the wheels – the design doesn’t bother me, but I think a brighter silver would look better. Normally I’d opt for the CSL/ZCP wheels, but I found a budget set of the optional 19″ wheels that I think would really help this car stand out:

Price seems to be in line with the best examples we’ve seen of E46s, which still seem to be demanding strong money. This seller hasn’t skimped out where necessary and has presented the car well. While the asking price is strong for a 2001, this is certainly one of the better overall examples we’ve seen and doesn’t seem far out of line with the condition presented.


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  1. I love this colour and I’m not the only one. I could be wrong but I think this is the most sought after E46 color. One came up for sale locally this summer and it was gone the same day.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t pay top dollar for this one with it having a 5 owner history.

  2. funny how tastes change!..
    when the E46 was introduced every dealer got an LSB(Smurf Blue) as a demo.and no one wanted them as witnessed by the low number around….BTW the Hollywood quality pics here make the car seem more deep blue than it is…
    while it has low miles…the 01 cars (early builds) had the motor issues…thankfully this is not an SMG car….nice find

  3. Given the write ups that E46 M3’s receive on GCFSB it is obvious that it is a highly regarded performance vehicle that was mass produced in high numbers. It is interesting to read the almost universally critical lambasting the 997/911 takes for being an even higher performing mass produced car. For nearly the same ask you could purchase a 2005 997 that will run rings around an E46. As a current owner of an E46 M3 I find that contrast to be odd but I guess it shouldn’t bother me other than I continue to worry that there is bubble surrounding and growing around all things M.

  4. Oh boy, I don’t think we (in particular) lambast the 996/997 – personally, I think the 997 is one of the better deals going in performance right now, and the 996s are screaming deals if you’re willing to look. But a couple of things – first, I don’t think the 996 is particularly attractive compared to the E46, and the 911s have some concern (warranted or not) surrounding their motors. I’m also not sure you can get into a decent 997 for $28K – most seem to be in the 40,000 range for a decent one. But, it’s a valid point – of course, for less money than either of these you could have an RS6, or as you’ve pointed out any number of Mercedes models. But, to me, the E46 is a special package that most of that crowd doesn’t capture. And, most are still very affordable at well under $20K – I doubt that will change soon, since the E36 is still fairly static. But, it’s a good point for sure.

  5. Well maybe lambast was a little harsh… (but in the case of the ugly duckling 996 it might be accurate) but I do hear mass produced used a lot when citing a reason for a manufactures demise. Don’t get me wrong, I love the E46 M3 and I think that this particular one is beautiful.

  6. Vic,

    Well, the ramp up in volume does seem to generally correspond with drops in perceived quality – true at Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW. In fact, I’d say that the only German company that has a perceived better quality than the 1980s is Audi – though in truth, the 1980s cars from Audi seem to be considerably more stout than the cars built in the 2000s. I looked at some more 997s, and they’re really pretty far out of the range of this car – most are the best part of double the price. So then you’re really looking at a 996 in not prime shape versus this M3, and for me that’s really not a battle that the 911 wins even if it’s marginally quicker around a track.

    To be fair, I don’t personally think that the mass producing of these performance variants of cars makes them worse, per se. It has actually vastly expanded the market of people that can get into them and enjoy them. In some ways, that has also cheapened their badges – but most manufacturers are in business not to create ultra-expensive limited edition models that most can’t get. I think the biggest group that seems to decry the “mass production” of cars is Porsche fans – yet there seem to be more 1980s 911s on the market at any given time than special BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz models combined, so I’m not sure what that says about how limited they were.

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