The BMW E46 Guide

Introducing the BMW E46

Guide Version: 1.0. This guide was created on 09-18-2015 and updated monthly with new information.

To follow the legendary E36 would be an accomplishment—and the E46 just happened to come close to that as much. The more curvaceous model of the E46 granted it a better and smoother driving experience for the BMW purists.

By measure of units’ moved and sheer amount of positive feedback, the E46 was larger than its predecessor, the E36. Initially, the E46 was offered with the 323i and the 328i saloon models. To note, the E46 was rather larger than the E36 and is justified by the drastic improvements to it. To allow the equal weight distribution of the car, the wheelbase was increased to 107.3” which gave the E46 the 50/50 offset for the vehicle.

Although the E46 is known to have delivered the same solid driving experience from the E36, the shape and size of it is a marked step up from the primer model. The proportions up to lines were more generous and gave more plump. When driving, it was firm planted on the road, the steering was guaranteed, comfort was not compromised for the firm ride, and the engines seamlessly grooved into smoothness and responsiveness.

What You Need To Know About the BMW E46

Performance

To start with the obvious, the engine is the E46’s strongest point. The six-cylinder unit that has a 3246cc displacement was able to produce 338 bhp at 7900 rpm. Its straight-six cylinder provides an effortless reach that has the zingy, metallic edge yet packed with air-tight with the lipped howl of the engine.

Driving

Driving the M3 should feel special, so the E46 went and did the job right. Even after years of turning the key in the E46, it’s still going to be a welcoming event whenever you’re out for the drive. Although the M3 may sound tinny when it’s cold, warming up returns that same roaring engine you’d expect.

The Sport button does the job if you want to sharpen the throttle response. Without the Sport button activated, it may feel a little docile like a standard throttle which means fly-by-wire switch with your right foot meant you’d open the throttle completely.

Interior

In terms of comfort and equipment of the E46, it comes with the usual standards you’d expect from the classic M3 line. Although it does welcome a familiar sight, it’s not generally an exciting dashboard to be honest, but certainly not to the extent of being a boring one at that. There are automatic systems that makes use of whatever they can when inside. There are heated seats, a TV addition, and some little touches to the dash that makes controlling the system a lot easier. It’s similarly an early attempt at creating the now innovative iDrive system, yet hasn’t reached the full potential in the E46.

You’re granted with the option to close the windows or the sunroof with the help of the lock button on the key fob. Then there’s the self-recharging key whenever plugged in the ignition so it’s really not bad of a deal considering the technology used back then.

BMW E46 SPECS

ENGINE TYPE: 2979cc 6cyl DOHC

HORSEPOWER: 225 hp @5900 rpm

TORQUE: 214 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

FUEL ECONOMY- 9.8 L/100 Km

TRANSMISSION- 5-speed auto,

FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 15.8 gal.

DRIVE TYPE: Rear wheel drive

TOP SPEED- N/A

0-60MPH- 6.4

Price: $ $56,170 to $158,000 (base)

WHAT MADE THE BMW E46 A CLASSIC

It’s as simple as putting the right elements into the right car, really. The styling alone stands as the eye-candy of the model. Backed together with the lineage of the M3 series and there’s a sure-fire way that they’ll stop at nothing to create this successor even more famed than the previous E36.

The pace, handling, reliability, equipment, interior, space, and boot all are within the package and they done the E46 a job well remembered. Proportioned perfectly is what would best describe the all in one package you’d need from a souped-up sedan that ultimately turned into a classic.

For the BMW, the E46 was insanely successful. In 2002 alone, BMW managed to sell 561, 249 units. This marked the beginning of an era where body style became the benchmark in which luxury sedans have been competing over.

PROS

√ Performance is on-point, easily launches its acceleration

√ Has tight handling

√ Aesthetically appealing

√ Filled with a lot of features and equipment during its launch

CONS

× Traction control doesn’t have tight grip off-road

× Torque seems inefficient

× Ride doesn’t seem to fare well as flat and composed