What year of e46 m3 to buy

Discussion in 'E46 M3 (2001-2006)' started by Jagdeesh, Aug 14, 2019.

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  1. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:35 PM #1
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    Hi All,

    This is my first post here so I hope this is correct.

    I have always wanted to buy an e46 m3 and i am getting to the stage where i am ready to purchase.

    Initially i wanted to purchase a car no lower than 2005 or 2006. However i have seen some great examples of cars at the 2004 mark. My question is, is there any reason I should discount the earlier cars mechanically. As this is a car i want to keep long term is there and value in waiting for a good late model year.

    I am aware of the general issues with the cars, but any thoughts are welcomed.

    Thanks for reading
     
  2. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:42 PM #2
    GolfDuck

    GolfDuck Staff Member Moderator

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    Welcome to cutters!
    I would say no. As far as I'm aware the only minor difference in the later cars was the "strengthened" rear axle carrier panel.
    That has a block of plastic in the corners where the old panel cracked iirc. Not sure how effective this is.
    There's the pre-facelift/facelift choice and then there's the road tax increase after March (some time) 2006.
    The rest is spec/condition/mileage etc.
     
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  3. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:44 PM #3
    MandyM3

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    Hello, welcome along!
    I thought the same, wanting the newest available in the spec I was after, and bought a 2006, which I absolutely love :D
    I'm sorry I can't help with your question about mechanical differences, but hopefully someone else will advise on that. I guess you might want to consider the road tax, as it's very high for mine - I think it was about £570 last time, can't remember exactly 'cos I've blotted it out :rolleyes: It's less than that for slightly older ones, but I'm just used to coughing it up now...!
     
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  4. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:49 PM #4
    monkeyboy

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    Welcome,
    I agree you shouldn’t discount the 2004 year models I have one, I think the later cars 2005/2006 had the ZCP kits too? Which come with the larger front discs too I think?
     
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  5. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:58 PM #5
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    Thanks for the reply!

    Would i be right in saying 2004 was the year of the facelift, this included the rear LED lights and slight changes to the front end?
     
  6. 14 Aug 2019 at 6:59 PM #6
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely dig into the differences in road tax.
     
  7. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:00 PM #7
    GolfDuck

    GolfDuck Staff Member Moderator

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    Other than the LED rear lights I'm not 100% sure on what happened at the front to be honest :muttley:
    Facelift cars can be seen from '03 reg onwards but more commonly they're 53 reg on I think.
     
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  8. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:02 PM #8
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    Haha, yes I always knew about the LED's but was surprised to read the front end changed! Must be very subtle changes.
     
  9. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:04 PM #9
    MandyM3

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    I've just googled it for you - £325 until March 2006 then £570 afterwards
     
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  10. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:04 PM #10
    Alex E46

    Alex E46 On the path

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    Very little in it. Think 2005 + had the same headers as the csl (thinner and lighter). And some extra mig welds on the RACP. However these still crack eventually so is irrelevant really.
     
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  11. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:04 PM #11
    monkeyboy

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    Rear led lights, something changed on the boot handle the boot lock location I think? Updated rod bearings but the age of these cars will probably need doing again or soonish. The front had no changes on the facelift M3 unlike non M3 models that had different shape lights.
     
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  12. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:06 PM #12
    monkeyboy

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    Oh and different size kidney grills on facelif non M3 were larger
     
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  13. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:11 PM #13
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    On the subject of rod bearings (bmw definitely struggled for a while) when do you guys would you reccomend any specific milleage at which to get these changed?
     
  14. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:20 PM #14
    monkeyboy

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    That’s the million dollar question, I did mine cos I was near 100k and got lucky as they were shot and I’ve got loads & loads of history etc some have changed later and they looked fine others changed early and were really worn. People say do oil analysis to check for copper etc. All depends on how the cars been driven previously as I’m driven hard from cold, you don’t see that in service history
     
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  15. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:24 PM #15
    klan8456

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    Buy after the LED rear lights came in. Also after MK60 ABS. After that, avoid the very last year as road tax increased

    There is also a potential nuance related to Euro 3/4 ratings, which is relevant to those living in London.
     
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  16. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:25 PM #16
    stax

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    Don’t get sucked in by the boot floor, head gasket and rod bearing conjecture.
    Fact is they don’t all need such work done to them.
    Find a car based on condition, servicing, ownership, mileage etc., one that you’re happy with.
     
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  17. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:31 PM #17
    R60BBA

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    I believe pre-facelift M3s are appreciating the most at the moment.

    #justsayin’ :muttley:
     
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  18. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:34 PM #18
    Jagdeesh

    Jagdeesh A mere Chipper

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    Thanks all for the comments, definitely opened my eyes to some of the things i should be thinking about!

    The reason for thinking about the earlier models is this car here, yes it is and smg . Any thoughts on this, i am looking for the 50/60k mile cars as i want to keep it for a while and feel more comfortable.

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201801042461064
     
  19. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:44 PM #19
    R60BBA

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    Nice car but strong money.

    For a 50k mile car I wouldn’t pay more than £17,000. (Main Dealer sold a 30k mile Estoril Blue with warranty for £20,000 just last month).

    And that would mean it requires no work whatsoever.
     
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  20. 14 Aug 2019 at 7:45 PM #20
    GolfDuck

    GolfDuck Staff Member Moderator

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    That's been for sale for the same price for quite a while now. It looks really nice and it's got lots of stuff too :)
    There's one thing that slightly puts me off and that's a comment made by the tester on the car's first MOT in 2007.
    It says "vehicle has had accident damage to offside" which I've not seen before on a MOT. One wonders whether it has been properly repaired.
    Having said that the first thing I would do would be to Vcheck it anyway (and have a look on its offside underneath).

    Its reg is RO04NXM
     
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