2006 BMW M3 Review | Edmunds.com

2006 BMW M3

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW M3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.2 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 333 hp @ 7900 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 BMW M3

  • Phenomenal BMW handling combined with an equally awe-inspiring engine make this high-performance Motorsport creation one of our all-time favorites. The 2006 BMW M3 is the sort of car that makes enthusiasts wish they were good enough drivers to push it to its limits.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Remarkable engine, racecar handling and braking, sumptuous interior, available Sequential Manual Gearbox.

  • Cons

    Uninspired exhaust note, basics like power seats and an alarm system cost extra.

  • What's New for 2006

    Although the regular 3 Series is redesigned for 2006, the high-performance 2006 BMW M3 continues on the previous-generation platform with no significant changes.

Full 2006 BMW M3 Review

What's New for 2006

Although the regular 3 Series is redesigned for 2006, the high-performance 2006 BMW M3 continues on the previous-generation platform with no significant changes.


With colors like Laguna Seca Blue and Imola Red, there's no question as to where the BMW M3's aspirations lie. These famous racetracks would be fitting playgrounds for any car that promises such stratospheric levels of power and handling.

Whether blasting up Tamburello at Imola or diving into the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, few cars in the world could attack a road course with the tenacity of those wearing the "M" badge of BMW's Motorsport division. Until the 2001 model year, we had to deal with the fact that as much as we loved those Motorsport machines, our European counterparts were getting versions far more powerful than ours. Their M3s boasted 317 horsepower, while ours made do with just 240. Not that we were complaining.

Even with its detuned engine, the previous-generation M3 was still one of the best performance coupes available anywhere. But the grass is always greener on the other side, and U.S. enthusiasts couldn't help but wonder just how much better the M3 was in its Euro-spec trim. With the introduction of the current-generation BMW M3 for the 2001 model year, drivers had to wonder no more. The M3 is now the same whether you buy it in Stuttgart or San Francisco. Better yet, it's been blessed with an even more powerful 333-hp engine, a sturdier, more responsive suspension and slinkier bodywork that, we think, makes it one of the most stunning cars on the market.

Like so many ultrahigh-performance cars of today, finding the limit of the M3's abilities takes more than just an empty road and the guts to hold the pedal down longer than usual. Fortunately, the 2006 BMW M3 gets along just fine in suburban environments, though be forewarned that the ride walks a very fine line between all-out performance and day-to-day drivability. Enthusiasts will find it pleasantly firm, but poseurs had better hold on to their cappuccinos.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2006 BMW M3 in offered in both coupe and convertible form. Standard features on the coupe include 18-inch wheels with Z-rated rubber, automatic climate control, 10-way adjustable sport seats, leather and cloth upholstery, one-touch power windows, heated power mirrors, a CD player, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry. The convertible adds power seat adjustments and full leather upholstery; these items are optional on the coupe. Additionally, the drop top comes with a fully automatic soft top (with heated rear glass); a removable hardtop is available. There are a number of option packages available, the most interesting of these being the Competition Package, which outfits the coupe with some of the performance upgrades from the coveted European-market M3 CSL, including 19-inch forged alloy wheels, larger Michelin tires, stiffer shocks and springs, a quicker steering ratio, upgraded brake pads and rotors, a less intrusive M Track mode for the stability control system, and unique Alcantara and aluminum interior trim. Choosing this package deletes cruise control and steering wheel audio controls. Among the other extras are a sunroof, seat heaters, HID headlights, a navigation system, a premium sound system, parking sensors, BMW Assist and an alarm system.

Powertrains and Performance

The BMW M3 is propelled by a potent 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine rated at 333 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG) is offered as an option. The SMG offers both manual and automatic driving modes, and although it is by definition a manual transmission, its clutch is electronically controlled, such that there's no clutch pedal. Drivers can use either steering column-mounted paddles or the shift lever to change gears in manual mode. Unlike other systems, SMG allows you to alter the quickness of the shifts, and in its most aggressive shift program, it's said to be faster than Ferrari's Formula One setup.


Safety features include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, front side-impact airbags, head curtain airbags for the front (coupe only) and a rollover protection system (convertible only); rear side-impact bags are optional. The BMW 3 Series earned a "Good" rating from the IIHS in 40-mph frontal-offset crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Aggressive driving is aided by heavily bolstered front bucket seats, a thick M Sport steering wheel with attractive blue and red stitching and distinctive red-needled M instrumentation. The rest of the interior is pretty much standard-issue 3 Series, and that means high-quality materials and tight construction.

Driving Impressions

We've always loved the near telepathic feel of the 3 Series' suspension, and the 2006 BMW M3 is all that and more. The near insurmountable grip and predictable motions inspire cornering speeds that will leave even the most experienced drivers second-guessing themselves. Keep the throttle set in "Sport" mode and the M3 will tackle your favorite set of switchbacks as fast as any production car on the road.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

What i thought it was....awesome

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

I have been looking for a M for 4 years and it was worth the wait. A pure sweet car to drive, every aspect of the car is a joy, totally a head turner with the M3 badging. I am completely satisfied with this car, glad I bought it, true sport inspired. I have had several sports cars and coupes, this one by far is the most fun and pure fun to drive.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Best bang for buck under

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

I have always wanted an M3 since I was a kid. After owning a normal 3-series it was time for fun. I first drove the new 2008-2010 M3 with V8 and while it looks nice and very luxurious it was too soft for a performance car. I then drove the E46 M3 and was blown away by the incredible performance! It's fast as Porsche at half the cost and twice the ability to use as a normal daily driver and more useful. So I bought a perfect 2006 BMW M3 with competition package. The stopping power of the M3 brakes are incredible and blow away most other cars. I am not a fan of the newer iDrive and fortunately this car does not have it.

When only the best will

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

This car is totally amazing. Drop the top and your in heaven! Everything you want in a sports car with a back seat and trunk is here! 19147 miles of happiness (no problems just regular maintenance).

So good i can't sell

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

2006 Carbon Black Fully Loaded M3 CS I am one of those guys who buys a car, and within 6 months starts thinking about his next car. The M3 CS has ruined me. The competition package is the best 4500 bucks one could spend...taking performance cues from the CSL (but I still get a sunroof and other goodies). I just test drove the new m3 (v8) and will not trade, like this one better. NO other car sub 100K can match the ability to drive safely like a maniac, in a car that has such great fit and finish... and a trunk that is huge (and get a car that gets good enough gas mileage). Hope this helps. This car cannot disappoint.

Near perfect

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

A blast to drive! V. fast, great handling (flat, responsive, predictable, good feel, slight understeer at turn-in which is appropriate for even a very fast street car), great braking, absolute performance and feel, instant throttle response, car communicates what it is doing, extremely accurate steering. A perfect balance of characteristics. One warning, watch out for concrete parking curb stops - they will scratch the bottom of the front apron.

///m sweet

by on
Vehicle: 2006 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M)

The E46 by all means is the best ///M platform BMW has put out. My ///M3 has been nothing but fun and reliable. It is great for buzzing around town or for 300 mile family trips! The worst part about owning this car is that you don't have enough days in the weekend to keep driving it! So far nothing but the required service has been needed. All maintenance is taken care of with no out of pocket expense for the next couple of years. I truly love the engine growl compared to my Porsche and the smooth clutch and shifting gate. The interior ergonomics are classic BMW where they make life easier for the driver.

Talk About The 2006 M3

2006 BMW M3 Discussions See all Started By

My winter tires (Dunlop Winter Sport M3s) have gone through 2 winters and about 12,000 miles. I'm not sure how many miles to reasonably expect from them. This figures to be their last winter anyway...

So as all of us BMW fans suspected, BMW got rid of the N54 engine and replaced it with the less tuner friendly, and less ability to make power N55 engine, in order to develop the new M3/M4 engine arou...

I was talking about allow us as in the US, to be able to build a true sport sedan. The current M sport package is a start, but I'm more talking about like the ZPH package that I had in my 330i, close ...

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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