With E46’s majorly coming down in price, we’re starting to see performance products made for the car do the same. From overstocked items that need moving to used items coming off old e46s, now is the prime time to make a bid on certain parts that used to cost much more when the e46 was in its prime popularity.
For example, take this awesome oem performance intake made for the M54 engine. 10 years ago it would have cost $1,000 and that’s for some extra noise and 3 more horsepower. Hardly worth the $1000, but I was able to score one for only $300 off of a used 3 series that was being converted back to stock in preparation to be sold. For this low amount, the extra grunt the engine made and the smoothness and extra refinement in throttle response was well worth the price.
For anyone who is interested in this modification. GET IT. You will not regret it. The car now has a very mean and deep growl to it especially from 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear. There is a very slight woosh! noise that sounds really cool and very different from the high pitched whining noise that come from cheaper after market cold air intakes. Usually it’s pretty vague what kind of power aftermarket intakes produce, but the oem BMW one makes a verifiable 3 horsepower which, of course, can’t be felt at all but it’s nice to know that it’s an actual quantifiable result. 187hp > 184hp am I right? Add some headers, an exhaust, a larger Dinan throttle body and this car could produce just about 200hp which would basically make it keep up with modern day entry level sport sedans. The difference is that this engine actually sounds good, and not like a turbo 4 cylinder 😉
A pure driving machine. I’ve always wanted one of these and found a bare bones no option 2003 model with only 85,000 miles on the clock. One requirement though, it had to be a stick shift.
The E46 chassis of the 3-series is by far and will always be my favorite iteration of the famed sports sedan. One doesn’t need a ton of power to how fun in a 3er. The engine, despite only being a 2.5 liter putting out 185 horsepower and 176 lb ft of torque, sings as it screams towards red line in each gear. Making trips to the gas station more frequent unfortunately.
Compared to the 4 cylinder turbocharged models of today, which sounds like listening to Taylor Swift on a pair of shitty Jawbone bluetooth speakers, the snarl of the M54 inline 6 sounds like a tube amp producing the warm, thick but raucous guitar notes of a Rolling Stones anthem. Sure the 4 cylinders produce power, but it’s not all about power. Sure you might get to the next stop light or on ramp 1 second faster than me, but it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.
It’s 1am in the morning as I write this, but I think I’ll go take it for a spin one more time before having to think about all the preventative maintenance I’ll have to do on it to keep in tip top shape.
Summer Every Day Carry 2015
Vintage Style Raybans to stand out from the crowd, a “polaroid” camera for those special moments where you want to give the photo away immediately, JBL Clip which produces one of the richest and deepest sounds of all the portable speakers (highly recommended over the high price and poor quality Beats and Jawbone brands), a waterproof watch on a bright summer appropriate perlon strap (woven nylon) to prevent your wrists from getting too sweaty and a watch strap changer to help you quickly go from daytime fun and casual to serious dinner time fashion.