Collecting Cars

2002 BMW (E46) M3

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This BMW M3 is a well-maintained example of the marque’s accessible performance hero, finished in a smart black-on-black factory colour scheme. It is powered by a naturally-aspirated, 3.2-litre straight-six producing 338bhp, driving the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The odometer shows 94,975 miles from new.

First registered on 26 July 2002, this E46 M3 is an original UK market car with only one previous owner from new. The vendor has owned and maintained the car for the last four years. He purchased the car after a long search for the right example, and as a one-owner car in the care of a mature Senior European PGA golfer in perfect mechanical order, this particular M3 was a great candidate for minor cosmetic smartening up at the time.

The BMW is in largely original condition throughout, with the most significant upgrade being the use of CSL-size calliper carriers and 345mm front discs to improve braking performance. The rear lights have also been updated with LED items, while the renowned Redish Motorsport subframe plates have been installed to reinforce the boot floor area.

Finished in its original shade of Carbon Black metallic, the paintwork has some age-related marks. There are scuffs present on the lower part of the front bumper, as well as a scattering of stone chips present around the front as shown in the photos. The vendor also notes two very minor vertical scratches on the passenger rear quarter below the driver’s side rear window.

The rear bumper and boot lid have previously been painted; the latter due to damage from a bird dropping, while the bumper had been scratched from years of the previous owner resting his golf shoes on it while tying his laces at the country club. The vendor has decided not to repaint the bumper and bonnet in order to preserve original paint, which gives the next owner the opportunity drive and enjoy as it stands, or invest a small sum in what would result in a very smart car cosmetically. It rides on the original 18-inch alloys, which are in good order with no kerbing marks.

Inside, the M3’s cabin is an appealing blend of sporting intent and elegant design. Black Nappa leather is used throughout, and the electrically-adjustable front seats with driver’s side memory function are in good order with no rips or tears. Only minor bolster wear is visible on the driver’s seat, as befitting a car of this age. The vendor notes that there are number of dead pixels on the satellite navigation screen, and that the airbag warning light is illuminated. A code read of the error messages has determined that the seat belt tensioners are the culprit. The vendor will endeavour to get these fixed, but wanted to disclose this for transparency. He is happy that there are no issues with the airbags themselves.

The M3 was last serviced in November 2018 at 89,623 miles. This entailed an oil service, with a replacement oil level sensor and front and rear brake pads. The vendor notes that only the best parts and fluids have been used, with the engine oil being the costly Millers Oils Nanodrive CFS NT+ formula. This work was carried out by a friend of the owner, who is a certified BMW technician. Prior to this, Inspection II services were carried out in 2015 and 2016. A suspension refresh was undertaken in 2017, with Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers fitted.

Plenty of preventative maintenance has been undertaken during the current ownership. The gearbox and differential oil have been replaced, along with new seals and bolts, and new wheel speed sensors and a new costly VANOS solenoid unit have been installed. Outside, cosmetics have further been refreshed by the windscreen valance and rear window weather strips having been replaced, while the interior has been smartened up with a replacement gear lever and new interior mirror glass.

A common affliction on M3s of this era is cracking subframe mounting points on the boot floor. This model benefits from having marque specialist Redish Motorsport’s reinforcement kit fitted, rectifying the BMW design flaw. The vendor also states that the vehicle had the rod bearing recall work carried out at approximately 30,000 miles, and that the running-in service was also completed. No paperwork is on file from the previous owner to evidence this, but it has been confirmed by the vendor directly with BMW HQ in Germany.

The most recent MOT test was on 2 January 2020 at 93,566 miles. This was a clean pass with zero advisories. Shod in matching Continental SportContact tyres, these are reported to be in excellent condition with ample tread remaining.

This Bavarian sporting coupe is offered for sale with its original handbooks, stamped service record and numerous historical invoices. A BMW tool kit, though incomplete, is also present. With common E46 M3 shortcomings and faults addressed at this point in the car’s life, it should provide many years of faithful service for the next owner. This is a very low owner count, sub-100,000 mile coupe, with the manual gearbox and without the heavy sunroof, which is undoubtedly a great combination for a driver’s car.

Offering scintillating performance allied to a high-revving, naturally-aspirated soundtrack, this E46-era BMW M3 has been comprehensively maintained. It is an eminently useable example of the ‘everyman’ performance hero, which could be treated to further cosmetic refurbishment to smarten it up, or could be immediately put into service as a capable and entertaining daily driver, or as an occasional track day toy.

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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