2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

2002 BMW M3: What M3 Would You Buy?

October 20, 2008


If you had $20,000 to $30,000 to drop on a performance car, would you end up with an E46 M3? And if you did, what year M3 would you chose?

Having the keys to someone else's M3 (in this case, Inside Line's 2002 M3) makes me think of stuff like this. No question in my mind -- the E46 is one of the all-time greats. It's great enough that you think of liquidating what's left of your 401K to live the dream. (No, I really don't know what the "dream" is. Presumably, it involves Halle Berry somehow.)

Because I'm all for national service, I've even devoted a whole hour (!) of my work day to help you with your M3 purchase. Here's some background. The E46 M3 was produced from 2001 to 2006. Following is Edmunds True Market Value pricing, dealer retail for ZIP code 90404 as of 10/20/08. Note that these prices are comparable but don't include any variation for options, condition or mileage.

2001: $19,070
2002: $21,105
2003: $24,440
2004: $27,876
2005: $31,474
2006: $34,875

There weren't many changes to the M3 during its run. Perhaps the most significant item was the availability of the Competition Package for 2005 and 2006, which included forged 19-inch alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, quicker steering, revised suspension tuning and a less intrusive stability control.

A scary amount of stuff has broken or failed on our M3. So maybe stay away from the older cars and get a 2004 or a 2005 with the Competition Package. Then again, it seems like we've fixed just about everything on our car short of an engine rebuild. And it has those nifty tires and brakes don't ya know? So maybe think about buying ours when we sell it in a few months. It might as well be a celebrity car.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 63,082 miles

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