Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Imola Not Ebola: 2003 BMW M3

If you've got $15k to spend on a small late model BMW sedan, you might be tempted to buy a 335i from the previous generation...which would be a good choice, but you might not be familiar with how cheap the E46 generation M3s have become.  And while a newer 3-series might be similar on paper and in terms of horsepower/etc, but the M cars are where BMW puts all of its technological might -- complete with upgraded suspension, limited slip differential, fancy single clutch automated manual transmission, 8000 rpm, individual throttle bodies and power everything.  If the regular 3-series is a milkshake, the M3 is a white Russian.  Find this 2003 BMW M3 here on eBay offered for $15,500 buy-it-now located in Midland Park, NJ with a few days to go.

From the seller:
This 2003 BMW E46 M3 is finished in Imola red, full paint exterior respray along with new moldings, cowls, and vents. Gloss black kidney and fender grilles also installed.

Includes Factory 19" Wheels with good tires all around.

The interior is trimmed in black Nappa leather, and brand new relocation bracket, shifter trim, center console, and cupholders.

The 3.2-liter S54 inline-six is paired with a 6-speed smg sequential manual gearbox and produced 333 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque when new. Recently changed front brake with textar pads and Zimmerman rotors. Upgraded adjustable rear control arms. 

Subframe inspection in January 2019 showed no signs of cracks.

The car comes with an owner’s manual, clean title, and 2 keys.

Year: 2003 VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): WBSBL93403JR22276
Mileage: 79000 Interior Color: Black
Make: BMW Transmission: Manual
Body Type: Coupe
Vehicle Title: Clear Exterior Color: Red

See a better way to drive with the red mist?


  1. This ad trips all my triggers of run away... basics... no mileage shown, title is shown as "clear", yet subframe check is referenced as a plus. I recognize that it says that there is no record of 'accidents' but somehow, this one smells of salvage title or unknown challenges.
    Couldn't help but notice there are no plates on it...should it turn out to be a car with a bit over 146K miles on it. One sold at auction in OH w/146k miles in late Feb for $8k.
    Seems like there's more that is not being said, than is being disclosed. Just a gut feeling.

    1. My mistake on all counts.. Didn't see the mileage and am not informed enough to know about the frame issues. Based on the "unknown' commenter below I should remove my previous comment but then, his comment would be strange. (Though I suspect it was Cflo being kind:)

  2. @Hunsbloger

    You might be right. However E46 chassis in known for tearing the rear sub-frame mounts, inspecting them is standard practice for an enthusiast. They need to be re-enforced for track duty. Also mileage is shown as 79k. Looks pretty clean to me..

  3. I don’t know what the average price is in the seller’s part of the country, but around here 15 grand is pretty much top dollar for any E46 M3 with an SMG (though it’s true that you won’t find many with miles this low), although the asking price on any decent one with three pedals will almost always be more than that price now. It’s amazing how much of a difference in price there is these days between these cars with the SMG and those with the 6-speed manual, though it’s certainly understandable why

  4. At that purchase price for a SMG, I would want the subframe reinforcement to be done & documented as well as the vanos issues & current oil analysis to know the condition of the engine bearings, but that's just me ...

  5. Based on the subframe being OK one of 2 things have happened:

    1. It was replaced at some point after it cracked, the repair can be almost invisible if done well.
    2. This thing has truly been babied.

    The manual swap is pretty simple, but for this much $$$ I would want it already done. The SMG destroys these cars, you have to adapt your driving style way too much for it to be any fun.

  6. The sub-frame does not crack(typically), the mount locations in the uni-body do. If they are cracked it can be repaired/reinforced. If they are torn out it's an awful mess. With a clean pedigree and mileage this car is worth 15k.

  7. Looks like a "whole lotta nope" here!
    That SMG is a fucking time-bomb!

  8. The chief attribute of the BMW X5 is its size as the vehicle can carry five passengers comfortably and all of the stuff needed to transport them to their various activities. used car dealerships


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