Finally got to buy a 2002 SMG M3 Interlagos Metallic Blue Coupe, what a car!
Just have it for two month now, got it with 109,500 on it, and had put it over 1,000 miles already, the only thing I did was change the throttle body sensor and change the oil, everything was about U$375.00 in an aftermarket BMW shop ( don't dare to go to the dealer, they will charge you U$160.00 just to read your car with the computer) so the EML and Engine service soon light went away!
Yes it can be a litter expensive to maintenance, but the car won't be breaking every week or turning EML or engine service soon lights on, Is a daily driving car,with no problems!
Love the distinction between the normal 3 series and the M3.
SMG transmission set on 3, is a very smooth daily driving experience and very good on gas too, turn the "sport" on and gas goes away!!
Set the SMG transmission from 3 (daily driving mode) to 5 or 6, turn on the "sport mode" and you will soon realize what does BMW means by: "The Ultime Driving Machine"
Interior quality materials and they should support their M cars more with full and easy recall warranties, no matter what year!
You want the car to last like a Toyota? change the oil and filters always, don't spin on it and take off like if you are in a drag race, take care of this Icon, is a classic sport car not a scum bag civic, treat him like an BMW and stop abusing the car.
I wanted an e46 M3 or e39 M5 since they were introduced. Finally bought '02 M3 MT coupe in 2010.
WOW, what a machine! Perfectly balanced, high-revving and powerful engine (love the exhaust note), great in the corners, stops on a dime.
Other cars, including the M5, may be faster but this one is just a blast to drive every day.
If you're accustomed to owning non-M BMWs, be prepared to spend 3X or more per year to maintain this vehicle.
If that's not a problem, then you're going to love this car - it is a true performer!
I understand why Edmunds says this will be one of their favorites of all time. I also understand why none of the editors bought it after the long-term test :)
The pure performance of this vehicle is outstanding.
Power, handling, braking, exhaust note.
The car goes 100+ in 3rd gear - whoah.
Did I mention the exhaust note approaching 8k under full throttle?!
If you want to really have the ///M driving experience, stick with the expensive, super-sport/summer tires.
I made the mistake of opting for all-seasons due to cold weather.
The car handled like it was on rails with the summer-only tires. Don't sacrifice in this department - I will be going back to the sticky tires!
Build quality/durability of non-drivetrain parts (roof lining, exterior mirrors, door lock system, audio system, others...).
Some of the other reviews cited clunky transmission/differential noises - I experience this in my car too.
It is only noticeable during "normal" driving and does not seem to hinder performance while driving spiritedly.
Independent service shop says it's normal for these cars.
I'm a working Joe, military guy, car enthusiast. I've had faster cars and slower cars, but I like BMWs the best. This car is a blast. I got my steel Grey/cinnamon m3,6-sp manual, lease turn-in; 26,000 miles, in 2005. It now has 106,000 miles on it and has cost me over $9300.00 in repairs and maintenance (including 4- sets of tires thus far) over and above my car payments. It's 2010 now, so for 5 years--that's pretty expensive! My m3 got a "new motor" sometime in its 1st owner's life because of the main bearing cap recall. The motor/trans has been flawless! All the complaints that folks have documented are valid for mine. Call me crazy, I still love my m3. It's one gorgeous sports/gt car.
The fact that it is a raw,"Old School BMW" with a 6-sp manual transmission. Visibility is good all around and the size of the car is just right. It's extremely comfortable, fun-to-drive, gets 20 mpg combined city/hwy and the motor makes awesome sounds as it screams to 8000 rpm. Oh, and it's gorgeous!
The interior cloth--glued window, A and C pillar trim, cannot handle Florida Summers and falls off! I Super- glued it and it worked, looks fine. The leather seats wear rapidly from ingress-egress, even if you are careful. Parts and service are crazy expensive when there's no warranty left.
I sold my 2006 G35 6mt coupe and got an 02 M3. Wow, night and day as far as performance! Yea, the deck rattles from the bass and the front tweeters seem to be blown and the pass side window trim was sagging. But its a $55000 plus car I stole for $15000 and other than the few inexpensive problems its my favorite car ever! So fast, smells german inside, the paint is amazing, the looks, the sounds, the power and yes, even the gas mileage is out of this world. I hope it stays this great! I put 89000 on my G and never one time in the shop. That I will miss and hope my new bemmer does just as well. Dont buy a ragged out one, if they took care of it, it will take care of you. M3 for Life!!!
paint, power, smell, interior, seats, looks, gas mileage, driving it, steering wheel, looking at it!