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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 05:48:01 PM   #291
EricSMG
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by TheSt|G View Post
I’ve had both the BRZ and the E36 M3, neither were sold because of their performance level.

BRZ’s EPS was numb, the clutch had zero feedback, and the general fit and finish was that of a tin can. Combine that with flat spot on the engine and the issues I had with the engine, it found it’s way out the door.

E36 M3 remains the yardstick to which all are compared for feel, but it was eventually sold for being such a poorly made hunk of trash. Occasionally I come close to getting another one, but then I just think back to all the comedies of ownership like opening my door and still having the door card in the frame.

Miata never happened because I physically don’t fit.


If I have a choice in it, I take the old and slow 911 whenever possible. E46 M3 just happens to be the ideal daily driver when I need more practicality. So yes, IDGAF about performance.
Agree that the 36M is a benchmark, but other than the shitty door panels (which you're blowing WAY out of proportion - I had 6 of those cars, never any major panel issues that couldn't be easily fixed) you're essentially saying that shitty door panels are worse than the vanos/subframe issues of the 46M.

Sorry, but no. The 36M overall is a very well put together machine with minimal/no serious defects.

You choose to deal with the 46's mechanical issues because it's a much more exciting overall package with better performance - it's a more thrilling machine to drive.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 06:09:59 PM   #292
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by evil panda View Post
If you can DD a manual e46 m3, you can DD a GT4 or a 991 GT3. They are supremely tractable on the street, as long as you donít need the back seats, of course. And if you donít spec the LWBís, thereís really no difference in practicality vs a normal 911 or Cayman.

The 997 GT3, much less so. I dailied one for two years because Iím hardheaded and dat purist life yo, but ultimately I had to admit that itís a pain in the ass
I didn't dispute that you can daily a GT car, just saying that a 'base' Cayman/911 S or GTS is already more than capable on the street. Buying a GT3/GT4 is ALMOST overkill if you don't track at all. Emphasis on almost, as I'm sure we would all love a new GT3 for a weekend car/occasional commuter, but I'm just not sure the ~$100k premium is worth it over a 'base' Porsche if you don't really get to use (ie track) it. Basically the marginal returns are not enough to justify the crazy cost.

What's a new GT3 cost now, nearly $200k? Is it 4x the car as a clean 997 C2S? I wager no, the 997 is probably 80% as good as the GT3 in the real world. That's not to say I don't exceedingly lust for a new 6MT GT3 touring

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Originally Posted by nasieg View Post
Non GT Porsches are very capable, but the real difference between them and GT Porsches, is that the ladder are ready out of the box for the track. This is what I keep hearing from those who have owned both.

To get back on topic. Not offering a more track ready car is where BMW has gone wrong IMO. Track days are pretty popular now a days, a lot more than they were back when the e46 M3 was new, but now they really don't offer a good car for those who take HPDE's a bit more serious. Sure you can take a new M car there, but it won't hold up unless you address a number of things first. Neither did the e46 for that matter, but as stated, track days were not as common back then. Either way, the e30 M3 was a lot more of a racer and really what the M brand was for, so in essence BMW M is going backwards and has become too diluted and mainstream, while GT Porsche is picking up steam. Sure BMW made the M4 GTS, but in limited production and for a price that would send many to buy a used GT3 anyway.

I don't think this is an overnight fix for BMW. IMO they screwed up with their focus on efficient dynamics and all the other things they do. I don't mean they aren't doing well as a company, or aren't offering great cars. I know they are, but they are not an enthusiasts brand anymore like they were in the late 80's up to the early 2000's....... and might never get it back.

This! It is the best decision I made 6 years ago. It makes my second car (e46 M3) feel more special, it keeps it in pristine condition and from depreciating unnecessarily, and I don't have to compromise as much on tuning and mods. I will never go back to a dual purpose car.
For sure the GT cars fill the track-car niche, but still, a basic 911 or Cayman is already better set up for the track than any BMW. I just don't think that BMW, primarily a luxury sedan manufacturer (now more weird gran touring crossover things), has much incentive to produce a track car. They need a bespoke sports car chassis to compete with Porsche.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 06:17:39 PM   #293
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by BTB View Post
For sure the GT cars fill the track-car niche, but still, a basic 911 or Cayman is already better set up for the track than any BMW. I just don't think that BMW, primarily a luxury sedan manufacturer (now more weird gran touring crossover things), has much incentive to produce a track car. They need a bespoke sports car chassis to compete with Porsche.

The e30 M3 was pretty competitive even against Porsche. Yes, without a true sports car chassis BMW will not be able to keep up with a Porsche, the one thing that had many chose a BMW, was the fact that it offered the best of both worlds. A car that can haul 4 people, but is still a sports car when you want it to be. For that you need and want to feel that you are going fast, and we now know that they are purposely doing the opposite. Or they are making a Mercedes now. They've gone away from the sports car end of it.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 06:39:21 PM   #294
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by BTB View Post
I'm curious about this, what are the results of removing that check valve you speak of? Or, specifically, what are the effects of oil flowing backwards. I understand the exhaust hub issue, but never heard anything relating to oil flow, other than the S54 (and S85) VANOS use seriously high pressure to function.
The check valve would be placed after the vanos oil pump (which is driven by the exhaust hub). The oil pump pumps the oil in pulses. So you get a period of high pressure, a period of no pressure, and then a period of high pressure again. If the check valve is present, oil flows forward when the pump is pushing it forward. Between pulses, the system pressure will be greater than the pump pressure, forcing the valve closed. It opens back up when the oil pump pressure is greater than the system pressure.

Without the check valve (as in the case of the S54), that pressurized oil now flows backwards back to the pump, which makes the oil pump have to work harder since it now has to overcome that backwards flow and send some volume of oil forwards. BMW probably ran its calculations and decided it won't cause major problems. However, the S54 was designed with 5w-30 in mind. With the rod bearing issue and the switchover to 10w-60, the forces involved became greater than what the system was designed to tolerate.

For those of you medical folks out there, the concept is very similar to an aortic regurg
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 06:50:56 PM   #295
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by TheSt|G View Post
I’ve had both the BRZ and the E36 M3, neither were sold because of their performance level.

BRZ’s EPS was numb, the clutch had zero feedback, and the general fit and finish was that of a tin can. Combine that with flat spot on the engine and the issues I had with the engine, it found it’s way out the door.

E36 M3 remains the yardstick to which all are compared for feel, but it was eventually sold for being such a poorly made hunk of trash. Occasionally I come close to getting another one, but then I just think back to all the comedies of ownership like opening my door and still having the door card in the frame.

Miata never happened because I physically don’t fit.


If I have a choice in it, I take the old and slow 911 whenever possible. E46 M3 just happens to be the ideal daily driver when I need more practicality. So yes, IDGAF about performance.
Why not an E46 non-M then? Cheaper, more reliable, lighter, and better steering feel (especially w/ the Z4M control arm bushings). Available in 4 doors too if you want practicality.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 06:59:39 PM   #296
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by EricSMG View Post
Agree that the 36M is a benchmark, but other than the shitty door panels (which you're blowing WAY out of proportion - I had 6 of those cars, never any major panel issues that couldn't be easily fixed) you're essentially saying that shitty door panels are worse than the vanos/subframe issues of the 46M.

Sorry, but no. The 36M overall is a very well put together machine with minimal/no serious defects.

You choose to deal with the 46's mechanical issues because it's a much more exciting overall package with better performance - it's a more thrilling machine to drive.
I had engine failure within 1000 miles of ownership thanks to that lovely oil pump nut on the E36. #NoSeriousDefects


Generally speaking, I don't mind issues that have permanent fixes. Subframe and VANOS on the E46M don't bother me because you can completely lock it down and never think about it again. Other people opting to be cheap and then having massive repair bills as a result isn't part of my metric for enjoying the car.

If I own an E36 M3, I am securing the oil pump nut.

If I own a 1978 911, I am installing a pop off valve on the airbox.

If I own an E46 M3, I am installing Besian VANOS parts.

If I own a C6 Z06, I am updating the head.

If I own a E39 530i, I am installing GAS DISA kit.


None of these scenarios bother me. The issue has been identified, is fixable, and can subsequently be put on the back burner. I don't currently own an E36 M3 because the interior is trash, the AC is borderline non-functional, and the safety is a massive step back from the E46 M3. All of that makes it a worse daily driver, which is the role that the E46 M3 fills for me.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 07:14:39 PM   #297
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by EricSMG View Post
Agree that the 36M is a benchmark, but other than the shitty door panels (which you're blowing WAY out of proportion - I had 6 of those cars, never any major panel issues that couldn't be easily fixed) you're essentially saying that shitty door panels are worse than the vanos/subframe issues of the 46M.

Sorry, but no. The 36M overall is a very well put together machine with minimal/no serious defects.

You choose to deal with the 46's mechanical issues because it's a much more exciting overall package with better performance - it's a more thrilling machine to drive.
Umm... e36 is easily the worst built m3:
Front shock tower failure
Rear shock tower failure
Front sway bar mounts tearing out
Rear sway bar mounts tearing out
RTAB pockets tearing out
Subframe (not rear floor) failure
Oil pump nut, resulting in engine failure
60,000 mile cooling system lifespan
Glue that doesn’t hold up in the interior, so everything falls apart
5th gear lean
Still have to rebuild the vanos, to address the vanos rattle
Oil starvation under hard cornering
Fuel starvation under hard cornering
Cluster back lights going out
Climate control resistor failure
Headlights that are so bad they may as well be broken, stock
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 07:23:00 PM   #298
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

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Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
Umm... e36 is easily the worst built m3:
Front shock tower failure
Rear shock tower failure
Front sway bar mounts tearing out
Rear sway bar mounts tearing out
RTAB pockets tearing out
Subframe (not rear floor) failure
Oil pump nut, resulting in engine failure
60,000 mile cooling system lifespan
Glue that doesnít hold up in the interior, so everything falls apart
5th gear lean
Still have to rebuild the vanos, to address the vanos rattle
Oil starvation under hard cornering
Fuel starvation under hard cornering
Cluster back lights going out
Climate control resistor failure
Headlights that are so bad they may as well be broken, stock
So tell us how you really feel, lol!

Nah, I bought an E36 M3 sedan as a daily this year and I absolutely love it, but I've experienced some of what you listed. Luckily the previous owner gave me the reinforcement plates and he had addressed a lot of the other issues because he was prepping it for track use.

What's the "5th gear lean"? I notice that sometimes it's hard to find 5th and I can accidentally go into 3rd.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 07:35:11 PM   #299
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

The one aspect of the E36 interior that I wish my E46 shared is the high-quality, non-rubber paint covered console plastic. Why BMW thought it was a good idea to put a delicate rubberized paint on areas that fingernails, rings, keys, etc would come in contact with is beyond me. Who cares if it feels grippy?
I'd much rather have a smooth, high-quality plastic finish that doesn't scratch if you look at it the wrong way.
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Old Sun, Oct-14-2018, 07:38:23 PM   #300
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Default Re: BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts

I actually really do like the e36– I’ve had 3. I just don’t think holding it up as a standard of build quality is remotely reasonable.
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Discussing BMW upset with E46 M3 enthusiasts in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)