2002 BMW M3: Welcome To The Machine
October 16, 2008
There are a lot of things to love about our E46 M3. One of my favorites is how it never lets you forget that it's different than all other 3 Series. Yes, it's a BMW, and it has leather upholstery, automatic climate control, a navigation system (albeit a crappy one) and a backseat. But lurking underneath all that luxury is a real sports car.
Just sitting still, it looks agressively purposeful thanks to the widened fender flares, pumped up hood and wide rear tires. When you're piddling around parking lots in first gear and push in the stiff clutch, the transmission clunks like a muscle car's. On the freeway, the engine can still be heard above wind and road noise. And when you drop the hammer, the engine rips to a furious crescendo while the shifter satisfyingly connects from gate to gate.
There's a mechanical soul to the M3. And every time I hop in it, I know it's going to be a fun drive.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 63,012 miles