2001 BMW M3

Of all the various iterations of the M3, the E46 version is my favorite (and the only one that I’ve actually driven. My dad owned one for a while). I love the S54 engine. The 3.2 liter, straight six powerplant emits an intoxicating, raspy howl when you mash the throttle and puts out just over 330 hp, enough to get the car to 60 in under 5 seconds – numbers that remain respectable today. I love the looks. The standard E46 coupe is attractive, in a sober and responsible way, but the bulging wheel arches, wider track and squat stance dial up the menace and aggression without overdoing it. And finally I love the everyday usability of these cars. The E46 cabin, for example, is a study in perfect ergonomics, offering a comfortable driving position and thoughtfully laid out controls. The chassis is taut and communicative, equally at home on the track or on the street doing the grocery run. Either way, it’ll put a smile on your face every time you drive it, which you can comfortably do, every day. These cars were produced in large enough numbers that finding one isn’t difficult, but you might have to wait a while (and spend a bit more) to get one in your ideal spec. For me, that would be a 6-speed manual coupe in a dark metallic color.


Year: 2001
Model: M3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 77,499 mi
Price: $21,900 Buy It Now

2001 BMW E46 M3 / True 6 Speed Manual gearbox / 77k miles

Beautiful Steel Gray over black with piano black trim and every option except nav.

Black leather
Heated seats
Power seats with lumbar adjustment
Glass Sunroof
Xenon Headlights
Park Distance control (Reverse backup up sensors)
Harmon Kardon
6 disc CD changer

100% factory original BMW / stock with zero aftermarket parts.

The only deviation from the window sticker are a set of OEM BMW ZCP Competition package wheels and a set of OEM BMW ZCP Compeittion package brakes with steel braided brake lines and the addition of window tint and OEM ZCP calipers painted red.

Stock intake / Stock suspension / Stock exhaust etc.

Everything works / no issues / no leaks.

Subframe has been regularly inspected and is free of any wear.

Maintenance is all up to date with fresh fluids / spark plugs / motor and cabin filters / VANOS inspection.

I have a good amount of records for the car which has been in the same family for the past 10 years / always garage kept and meticulously maintained.

The car shows extremely well with no dings / dents. A few stone chips on the front end that comes with the mileage and a drilled front bumper from a license plate. In 2009 the passenger door was backed into at a shopping center and was repaired. I have all documentation and the work completed was done superbly.

OEM ZCP wheels have no curb rash / Tires all have approx 95% tread.

Clean and clear title in hand.

The M3 is turn key / needs nothing / and ready to go.

This particular car ticks all the right boxes. It comes in Steel Gray, a moody, dark gray metallic color available up until the facelift of ’03 (when it was replaced with the lighter silver gray).  I think it’s a fantastic color, and here it’s tastefully paired with a black leather interior. Since this is a pre-facelift car, it doesn’t have LED tail lights like later models, although that can be remedied fairly easily. The addition of the ZCP wheels – a very welcome upgrade – really sets off the exterior. Apart from the wheels and upgraded brakes, the car is entirely stock.

Condition inside and out appears to be excellent, befitting the relatively modest 77k miles on the odometer. The only apparent flaws are some rock chips at the front end. While there are certainly cheaper M3s out there, very few of them match the condition on this one. It really does look as if it has been pampered. Sure, you could buy a cheap, high-mileage example for around $10k less. But around $20k seems about right for a car that shows as nicely as this one does.

– Craig

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  1. Nice example. No mention of the rod bearing recall or the airbag recall. To me the ZCP brakes are not an improvement unless you’re heading to the track. They’re significantly more expensive to replace than the original and won’t offer better braking on the road. Red calipers are overkill, but I think a red interior would have been better here. No mention of the sway bar upgrades either, or subframe check. Mileage is good as is condition, but I paid less for my ’03 with half the mileage of this example in a more rare color (albeit polarizing, but generally considered a color that demands a premium). Overall you could do (much) worse, but I think you might be able to do slightly better if you hold out.

  2. Edit: saw the subframe check listed.

  3. Love to see these cars stock, as in stock form they’re limits are way beyond what most drivers are able reach, especially on the street. They’re perfect out of the box.

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