Used 2006 BMW M3

2006 BMW M3
List price range
2006 BMW M3


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


  • Uninspired exhaust note, basics like power seats and an alarm system cost extra.
BMW M3 years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

vehicle overview

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.

2006 BMW M3 configurations

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.

2006 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 BMW M3.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Good showing from the last true M-car
My E46 really is an awesome vehicle. In this car you can enter a turn using all engine-braking, turn the wheel and the car will seem to make a perfect pivot, as if it had been planted on that point. If you go in too fast, an instant of understeer will slow the car to the right speed and then the lightning quick turn will begin. It really is tough to drive it poorly (in good driving conditions of course). The engine sings. I saw a review that said the exhaust note is inadequate, I found the engine to have a beautiful sound, it actually sounds similar to a racecar, very nice.
E46 M3 Coupe - One Gorgeous Machine
This is a car that is so good looking, I walk away from it backwards so I can keep looking at it. I've put 7,000 miles on it, and continue to look forward to the next drive! What a balanced package; taut, yet supple, suspension, quickness, and turns are fun again! The last of BMWs great inline NA 6 cylinder engines has won Ward's International Engine of the Year award in its 3.2 liter class for at least five consecutive years. One drive, and I know why. The SMGII tranny is a blast to operate. It's a 6 speed manual tranny, and you modulate the gas pedal just like you would on a stick shift. I can shift aggressively, for fun and speed; or smoothly, for passengers. It's all about timing.
Best bang for buck under 100k
Ben Prusinski,11/24/2009
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.
If the next one's better?
doug t,12/03/2005
I picked up my car yesterday and can't stay out of it.The handling, power delivery, and brakes are completely dialed in without being too harsh. I considered the S4 and like 911's, the M3 should make me forget about those. I don't think I'd need a 400 HP v8 that the next one has, after all, It'll take some time to learn all that this model has to offer. Looking forward to some track days.
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Features & Specs

14 city / 22 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
333 hp @ 7900 rpm
See all Used 2006 BMW M3 features & specs
More about the 2006 BMW M3
Used 2006 BMW M3 Overview

The Used 2006 BMW M3 is offered in the following submodels: M3 Coupe, M3 Convertible. Available styles include 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M), and 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 BMW M3?

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Which used 2006 BMW M3s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2006 BMW M3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW M3 for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,879.

Find a used BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,412.

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Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $17,481.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 BMW M3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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