2011 BMW M3 Individual

My search for a Phoenix Yellow M3 consumed years, and along the way I checked out plenty of other custom yellow options. There were plenty of Dakar Yellow E46s and E92s, but it’s always neat to see something a little bit different. Named after a desert in Chile, the color was originally launched on the Z4 – but, of course, that didn’t stop a few imaginative souls from specifying BMW Individual to paint their pride in joy in the orange-yellow tone. It’s no small feat to do so, so while you’re there you might as well tick every option box, right? The results on this M3 are pretty interesting; from a $55,900 base price, the original buyer selected no less than $20,000 worth of options. Of particular interest to me (outside, of course, from the exterior color) is that they also had the imagination to order something other than black inside. Does it work?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 2011 BMW M3

This past weekend, I went out to Coventry Motorcar to sample some of the cars. My wife and I took out a nearly new RS5; it was impressive for sure. Then we took out the twin-turbo V12 CL65 AMG that was chipped; with well over 700 horsepower and enough torque to bump-start a Saturn V rocket, the throttle pedal simple corresponded to a large amount of giggling every time I dipped into it. But the car that we drove that stood out was the less powerful, older BMW M3. It was an E46; getting on a decade older than the RS5 – and obviously the technology has increased in leaps and bounds, as the Audi has near infinite adjustments for every aspect of the car. But driving dynamics? The M3 showed why it was, and still is, the benchmark that all other cars are compared to. It was thoroughly composed down the road, and slipping inside you felt instantly at home. A throaty shout announced each touch of the throttle, growing in vigor to a scream as the motor worked its way up the tach. On the go, it felt more composed than the Audi; amazing as it sounds, the Audi felt like it was trying to convince you it was fast. The BMW felt relaxed and at ease; it was like Usain Bolt showing up at a power walker’s evening workout. It just felt natural. When I got back to the shop, the manager said “if you liked that, wait until you drive the 2011”.

Move up to the E92 chassis, and the lack of technology that the E46 employed was remedied. Check out the option list on this particular example, and you’ll find everything conceivable and probably more than you need. The Premium Package gives you the power to move your seat, open your garage, fold your mirrors in tight spaces, navigate to those spaces thanks to the compass in the mirror, and connect your phone to the car. Premium 2 gives you an even better sound system than standard and Sputnik sending soundwaves to it. Then there’s the Convenience Package, which means you don’t need the keys to start the car, you don’t need to know exactly where the trunk is when you’re backing up, Magellan in your dash so you don’t need to remember how to get anywhere, voice command so you don’t need to use your hands, and traffic warning updates so that you can seek alternate routes. When you start to explore those detours, you’ll find the S65 V8 to be even more useful than normal thanks to the addition of the dual clutch transmission and Competition Package, which upgrades the wheels, suspension, and brakes. It transforms from simply a means of transport to a happiness generator, making you smile with each sweep through a corner and stomp on both the throttle and brakes. And on your mountain excursion to avoid the traffic jam the car alerted you to, it’s got the Cold Weather package as well to make sure you tush stays warm. The only thing this car doesn’t do is wipe your bottom after you go to the bathroom, but head to a race track and it’ll still embarrass supercars with its driving dynamics and otherworldly abilities. It is, quite simply, the best sports coupe you could buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on German Cars For Sale Blog

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Tuner Tuesday: 2006 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R

My ongoing search for a clean E46 M3 continues, and despite the relatively high number produced it does indeed seem more difficult to track one down than it probably should. Early cars are typically more suspect, with many owners, dubious modifications and higher miles. Additionally, my criteria for getting into an M3 is admittedly limiting. The car must be a manual gearbox, and given that I have a preference for some of the more expressive colors like Laguna Seca Blue and Phoenix Yellow, that seems to be more difficult. But in my search I happened upon an unexpected gem that threatened to turn my head from the Crayola-toned early examples; for the most part, I’ve ruled out the later M3s because they demand higher asking prices and there seem to be less in wild colors. This car stood out for not only being the last model year of the E46 M3, but also because it was a ZCP car. Though I’ve sworn I’d never voluntarily buy into another black car, the ultra dark midnight blue hue of Carbon Black Metallic is compelling enough to consider. Add low miles, careful ownership and some discrete modifications from the best in the business to the recipe and this appears to be one of the nicer E46 M3s on the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW M3 Dinan S3-R on eBay

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Modded Blues – E46 M3 Double Take

The E46 BMW M3 is at a tipping point where examples are getting inexpensive enough that the second, third or fourth generation of owners is able to pick them up and modify them. Buying a modified car cuts a tremendous amount of labor and money off the price if you like the mods, but you’re also buying a car that you know has been used – perhaps hard – by what’s likely a non-original owner in a car with no more warranty. There are a lot of modified E46s out there to choose from, so today I took two blue examples that modded in different directions for a comparison. Which is the one to buy?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M3 on eBay

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The One? 2004 BMW M3 with 9,900 Miles

For some time I’ve talked about how I’d really like to get an E46 M3. I still remember well when the M3 launched; it felt as if a giant weight had been lifted from the collective shoulders of those who complained that the E36 was too watered down for the American market. Under the hood lurked the high-revving S54 3.2 inline-6, replete with individual throttle bodies. It was a return to form for BMW M, who managed to squeeze over 330 horsepower from that engine. In the world of racing cars, before 2000 it was considered to be quite good if you could make 100 horsepower from a normally aspirated liter; but Honda and BMW both left countless engine builders shaking their heads in disbelief as they were able to best that feat while retaining day to day drive-ability, longevity and a warranty. Outside, BMW stepped up the game to make the M3 stand out a bit more than the E36 had. Like its predecessor, the E46 had revised and deeper front and rear bumper covers, but the M3 added some venting behind the front wheels and some quite sexy rear flares and wide tires, along with four exhaust pipes. It was as if someone had taken the better styling ques from the M roadster and M3 and combined them. Then, there were the colors – Laguna Seca Blue has proven to be a fan favorite, but I always loved Dakar Yellow. So, I was quite excited to get a poster when new of the color that personified the rebirth of the M3 – named Phoenix Yellow – with the tag line “Okay, a Ph.D is pretty impressive, too”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on E46fanatics

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Mellow Yellow Double Take: 2004 BMW M3 Convertible

In many popular women’s magazines there are style sections in which two celebrities are shown wearing the same dress with the simple question “who wore it better”? Often it’s quite obvious; one of the celebrities is as you’d expect – glamorous, perfectly polished and just out of the gym. The opposing look is typically a tad overweight, over jeweled, looking like the subject in question has just been out on the town for the 43 consecutive night with minimal personal hygiene. Looking through cars this week, I was reminded to this comparison when I ran across two yellow M3 convertibles. Both E46, both 2004 – same motor and interior, with light modifications; but there is where they separate. The first is a manual BMW Individual Dakar Yellow example, while the second is a SMG-equipped Phoenix Yellow example. Which wears the yellow shade better?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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2004 BMW M3 with 16,000 Miles

I think it’s safe to say that I don’t drive my car very much. We live in a city and walk most places, and even when I do drive it’s generally less than 15 miles away. Yet, despite my car sitting weeks at a time and the very short drives that I do take, I’ve managed to put about 3,500 miles a year onto the car since I’ve gotten it. To be honest, sometimes I can’t even figure out how I’ve even put that many miles on the car, but they sneak up on you. I really enjoy driving my Passat, too – so it’s not a case of “I hate driving this car” either. That’s why I find today’s M3 particularly puzzling – here’s a car I’d really, really love to drive and own, but it’s only accrued an average of 1,598 miles a year for ten years. How is that even possible?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on eBay

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2005 BMW M3 Competition Package

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 8 months since we looked at a E46 M3 Competition Package, but we spend so much time playing catch-up on popular models that sometimes we don’t look at the models that will be classics of tomorrow. Amongst those potential future classics, few shine quite as bright as the E46 M3. As a car that’s affordable and still fairly new, the E46 M3 offers performance levels few sports cars reach. It’s also one of the last BMWs mere mortals can work on, the last offering of the S54 motor before the M division switched to twin-turbocharged inline-6s and V8s. To some, the E46 was a mass-produced marketing tool; but to me, the E46 M3 corrected many of the perceived faults of the E36 M3. Of course, the motor was a large part, but outside the M3 was now really set off by flares, quad exhausts, bulges, gaping intakes and vents that really made it look as special as it was. Denied the CSL, for U.S. customers the most special of the breed were the late run ZCP “Competition Package” cars like today’s Interlagos Blue example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 BMW M3 Competition Package on eBay

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2005 Dinan S3 BMW M3

When I wrote up yesterday’s 2002 Dinan S3-R M3, I wanted to find an equivalent model to it for sale for value comparison. Naturally, I think the best counterpoint would be a lower mile late build E46 M3 equipped with the ZHP competition package, the hardest-edged M3 available without modification in the U.S.. To my surprise, I found an even better comparison; a ZCP equipped M3 with enough modifications to get a Dinan registration, but without the supercharger and suspension rework of the S3-R. Today’s example looks ready to race in Imola Red:

Year: 2005
Model: Dinan S M3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed SMG semi-automatic
Mileage: 39,003 miles
Price: $35,991 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 BMW M3 Dinan S on Ebay

2005 BMW M3 Coupe w/ $20K in DINAN upgrades!
1 Owner! – Low Miles! – Never Raced! – Creme Puff!

Call Laurel BMW Sales – 630.537.0311

Over $20,000 in DINAN upgrades include:
— Performance Exhaust
— Air Package
— Throttle Bodies
— 3.9 Rear End
— Additional Oil Cooler
— Water and Oil Guages
— Stainless Stainless Steel Brake Lines
— Stiffener Braces front and rear
— Cam Shaft
Dinan Registered
 
VIN:   WBSBL93495PN62120
  Chassis Number:   PN62120
  Line Make:   01 – BMW 
  Model Year:   2005
  AG Model Code/Desc:   BL93 – M3
  NA Model Code/Desc:   0537 – M3   

Exterior Color Code:   405  (Imola Red)
  Interior Trim Code:   N5SW (Black Leather)
  MSRP:   $59,740.00   

Vehicle Production Date:   2005/02
  Motor Type:   S54 
  Platform/Engineering Series:   E46   
        

   
   Original Options
   0ZCP  Competition Package 
  01CA  CO2 relevant vehicles
   0403  Moonroof
   0459  Power front seats 
  0473  Center armrest
   0494  Heated front seats  
 0508  Park Distance Control
   0521  Rain sensor and auto headlight
   0522  Xenon headlights
   0640  Phone preparation 
  0650  In-dash CD player
   0676  Hi-fi sound system 
  0692  CD changer preparation
   0793  SMG-Sequential Manual Gearbox  

509

The ZCP Competition Package on the M3 added some nice details, but in my eye the best of those is by far the wheels. Those BBS 19” wheels transform the car’s look to be both prettier and more aggressive at the same time. There are some modifications to add some power – the exhaust sounds great, the throttle bodies add a few horsepower, and the 3.91 rear end gives you a bit better acceleration, but to me these modifications don’t really alter the M3’s basic characteristics, unlike the supercharger addition in the S3-R. Imola Red fits the character of the M3 well and is one of the prettier reds available on any car, although I still don’t understand why anyone would spec a car with black leather. This car with caramel leather, or better yet Imola leather, would just put it over the top in my opinion. As is, though, the car presents very well and looks to be in fabulous shape.

Both the 2002 Dinan S3-R M3 and this car are priced right at the top of the E46 market. One of the long term benefits of not having the supercharger is less wear on the transmission (in my mind, a big benefit with the SMG) and perhaps a less expensive engine rebuild/replacement if you owned it long enough. To me, that’s probably a good enough trade off for the loss of acceleration. I don’t think the Dinan registration helps the value short or long term on this vehicle, but I also don’t really think the modifications detract from the value and are pretty easily reversible if you wanted to revert to stock specification. Which would you rather have?

-Carter