Used 2004 BMW M3 Consumer Reviews
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 (Harmon Kardon) is the best OEM I've ever had as well. The convertible does flex a bit. Top up, there are blind spots. It's also hard to judge the corners of the car from the driver's seat and easy to scrape the front spoiler. Parts and oil can be expensive, but considering the car's 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. UPDATE 11/28/16: Still love this car. Had the CDV removed and it does shift much more smoothly. The strong online enthusiast community for these is helpful, friendly and informative. Some people find the e46 M3's ride too harsh; I suspect this is regarding the coupes and the convertible's extra weight improves things. Also, the 19-inch wheels reportedly result in a much firmer ride (I have the 18s). As the cars get older parts can be crazy high, but here again the online forums are a great resource. And a quality, well-reviewed independent mechanic is invaluable. UPDATE 11/30/19: This is a second-car, so the miles are low - it only has 60K. Had the Inspection II service done at my independent repair shop for around $1,600 after a 25 percent discount from a promotion the shop was running. Other than that, nothing to report. A great thing about the cars is that you can buy aftermarket head units that look stock and have up-to-date features like Apple CarPlay - I just bought an Avin Avant 4 and look forward to installing it.
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.
I have owned 58 cars - this is the very best - first drove a friend's new one in 1994 and vowed I'd get one, one day - well I am fortunate to own such a magnificent beast! The grin factor is huge - I always enjoy starting her up , letting her warm up - then giving more and more stick - and then there's still the Sport button - wow what could a person want? Looks good in an understated way - just the way I like it - best thing I ever did on the motoring side of things! Find myself wondering what I could replace it with - nothing comes to mind!
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!!
I special ordered my m3, my first bmw, and my last. It's been serviced 11 times in the past year, mostly for problems with the smg. the smg is the most overrated transmission ever and should not be sold until perfected. It's sluggish in first, sometimes choppy, and most recently just stalled completely. it had to be towed back to the dealership to replace the relay...again.