Amazing balance of performance and practicality. Research the VANOS, cam bolts, and rear subframe. Upgrade kits and parts are available for all. They can cause major damage if not inspected and addressed (if nec., as far as the subframe). Convertibles are reportedly less likely to have the rear subframe problem. Skip the SMG - arguably hard to live with, unreliable, expensive. Consider removing the manual transmission's Clutch Delay Valve (CDV). The car can be hard to shift smoothly and fellow owners recommend it, saying doing so solves the problem (I'm planning to do it). Car is a remarkably comfortable tourer on the highway, and is equally adept at carving up mountain roads. Seats are the best I've ever had and upgraded stereo (Hardon Kardon) is the best OEM I've ever had as well. The convertible does flex a bit. It's also hard to judge the corners of the car from the driver's seat, if that's a problem for you. Parts and oil can be expensive, but considering the performance, it's still a good value. You can drive it like a Honda all day or get on it and accelerate like a hoon.
Bought this amazing car last year with 55k orig miles. I've since driven it for 12k miles and can only say great things about it. It runs, drives and handles outstanding. The solid build, craftsmanship and styling of this car is top notch. The exterior color is called Carbon Schwartz. At first glance, it looks Black; but, in sunlight it seems to change to metallic dark Blue. Have to see it to believe it! Interior is Black with Black convertible top and 19" wheels. All original, non SMG, regular 6 spd. No problems at all. A practical yet powerful convertible sports car with room for 4 people and suitcases. A powerful, great handling sports car that gets 20mpg!! BMW got it right!!
Style, power, handling, build quality, gas mileage, room for four, plenty of trunk space, and reliability.
If you can find a well maintained used one, buy it.
It's a keeper that will never go out of style and will have you smiling every time you drive it.
Can't think of anything. Except, maybe a little deeper interior middle console storage compartment, to keep sunglasses, eyeglasses, etc. But it's not a big deal,
as there are other storage compartments to make use of (glovebox and door panel lower pockets).
I have been driving my M3 for the last 4 years. Truly amazing car. So responsive with exceptional handling. It is turning like on a rail I am not kidding. SMG is amazing once you get used to it - takes a while but once mastered you will love it. So much fun driving in the city. I am getting around 18/25 MPG not great but worth it. Lower the gear step on the gas boom you are there. It is rock solid in terms of reliability. No issues whatsoever. Only change oil twice a year around 100 bucks. E46s are probably the most reliable BMW model ever built. I heard M39s are also pretty reliable. This is one of the best sports car ever. Definitely a head turner. I am sad because it is getting older.
Acceleration, handling, style, reliability, SMG. Handling did I mention that already?
It is hard to put into words about the magical smiles my '04 M3 makes on my face! You need to be the screaming passengers or a gutsy driver to take advantage of what this car delivers! FUN!!. The SMG takes time to learn, but I have a blast at Laguna Seca Raceway! I will have to refer people to the customer M3 reviews seen here to explain what I have to say about my M3! By far the best scariest time in total control! The most fun you can have with your pants on! I have done only 4 mods to my M3. Racing bushings for suspension, -1 degree camber for handling, Cool Carbon brake pads for the track, and K&N air filter. Stock other than that. Can't wait to drive! You have to pry me out of the seat!
The whole package is well engineered!
My wife loves the heated seats, and the business radio, Harmon Kardon stereo system ROCKS! Nice to cruise at 80 mph with the A/C on with AC/DC getting 24 mpg!
SMGII failures due to electrical gremlins and the hydraulic clutch heat sensor placement giving high heat temps in stop and go traffic that leads to the SMG failure cog to lite up. This can be a safety issue!