2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test


2002 BMW M3: Parting Shots

August 13, 2009

RockinM3.jpg

" ^ 'nuff said" Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor.

That's right, our 2002 BMW M3 is gone (Read the Long Term Wrap up here.) As sad as it is (for some of us-- the ones who weren't responsible for keeping the cabinet full of liquid-gold M3 oil), let's pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and take a walk down memory lane with the latest installment of Parting Shots. Walton said it best above, but follow the jump for more, and don't forget to leave your own Parting Shot in the comments.

"A car for the ages. Timeless. A true modern classic. Not exactly cheap to own, but greatness rarely is. In a few years E46 M3s will be under $10,000. I think I see some late night internet shopping sessions in my future. I'll own one eventually. My wife will just have to deal with it."

-Scott Oldham, Editor-in-Chief, Inside Line

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"The lesson here is to never, ever loan your M3 to a friend. This car is a victim of serial abuse - every shift ripped at peak rpm. Is it any wonder that the engine swills oil, the second gear synchro is toast and the shift linkage is worn? This car needs on on lengthy spell in rehab and a careful elderly owner."

-Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Inside Line

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"I'd like to use my space to mention the navigation system. In short, avoid it on a used BMW. You might as well have a big hole in the dash with a nice potted bamboo growing inside. It's slow, unintuitive and somehow manages to make first-gen iDrive make sense. This certainly shows the folly of this decade's rapidly evolving in-car electronics interfaces. The latest-and-greatest in your new car quickly becomes a hapless dinosaur in somebody else's used car."

-James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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"If I remember correctly, the original idea was to see what kind of cool car we could get for about the same price as a new, nicely equipped Altima or Camry. Would I rather have this used M3 rather than a new car that's at the same price range - yes, yes, 100 times yes!!!

What a blast to drive - it still feels fast and still looks good. Price of maint. and/or repairs might ultimately keep me away however."

-Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

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Nav sucked. Stereo sucked. Shift linkage sucked. Clutch sucked. Maintenance sucked. Trim pieces sucked. Stinky crayon smell sucked. Dropping it into 3rd gear with a quick blip of the throttle as you approach a 60mph bend, feeling the front wheels grab hold of the road surface as you will the car through the corner only to have the car will you back, urging you to go faster as you crest the next rise with the engine tearing past seven thousand rpm's... I'm sorry what? I'll take it.

- Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor

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"My favorite memory of our E46 M3 is the weekend I autocrossed it. It got so loose through the cones, but its precise, communicative steering made it a friendly car to gather up. It soon became a game of how big a slide I could get it into and still bring it back. And once I figured out how the M3 wanted to be driven, it ran some pretty good times, too"

- Erin Riches, Senior Editor Inside Line

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Sadlier: "I've never gotten such satisfaction out of simply starting a car up -- there's nothing like the e46 M3's unadulterated growl at ignition. You know this car is special from the first time you turn the key."

Magrath: "Do you mean "you know it's special" because it's always asking for oil when you start it? Or because you're high from the crayon smell?"

Sadlier: "You should include your replies to the parting shots as well."

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant & Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor

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"I'm going to miss this M3 for many, many reasons. I have fond memories of sliding it around Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, slinging it through the local mountain roads and listening to its 8000-rpm swan song before every shift. But, the memory I'll never forget, the one that is forever etched into my cerebral cortex, is that of my wife -- in labor -- screaming at me from the passenger seat as I searched for a gas station on our 1:00 am trip to the hospital for the birth of our first child.

To say I have some memories in this car is, as they say, an understatement."

-Josh Jacquot, Senior Road Test Editor

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"It's the dream car. Can't afford an M3? Wait a few years and it's still an awesome car, now affordable. The new M3 may have a better nav system and hill-hold, but the old one has character. Just add a 99-cent air freshener and you're all set."

-Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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Remember that spare quart of oil in the trunk that sprung a leak? And we didn't realize anything was wrong until it was almost empty? Well that was me. Sorry.

Anonymous.

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"Proved beyond a doubt that the M badge is more than a fashion accessory.

Every time we beat on it, it shrugged it off and came back for more.

I'm amazed at how excellent the leather still looks.

I don't recall the Crayola-scent option from 2002, but this M3 definitely has it."

-Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor (again)

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Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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