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”:
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