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2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe

2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe

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Details

Price: $19,800

Mileage: 59,500 Miles

Transmission: 6-Speed SMG II Drivelogic

Exterior color: Titanium Silver Metallic Exterior (354)

Interior: Black Leather Interior (N5SW) with Brushed Aluminum Interior Trim

VIN: WBSBL93463JR23237

Additional features:

Glass Sunroof

Power Memory Sport Seats

Auto Dimming Rearview Mirror

Automatic Headlights

Xenon Headlights

BMW Business CD Stereo

Harmon Kardon HiFi Sound System

Automatic Climate Control

Rain Sensor

On Board Computer

Fold Down Rear Seats

M Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel

Anthracite Headliner

White Direction Indicator Lights

Fog Lights

Style 67 18-Inch Staggered M3 Wheels

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 High Performance All Season Tires

100% Stock and Unmolested

Time-Capsule Condition

3-Owner Car

Clean Carfax

Rod Bearing Recall Complied With

Background

2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe exterior photo

The E46 generation M3 was the last of a legacy of normally aspirated, inline 6-cylinder M cars that defined the marque for a generation. At the heart of the E46 M3 was the 333-horsepower S54B32 engine, an evolution of an architecture that reaches back to the original M535i and M1. The S54 won multiple engineering awards upon its release and, at the time, it produced the highest horsepower-per-liter for a normally aspirated production engine. A pull to its screaming 8000-RPM redline is a smile-evoking experience that is only made better by the communicative and composed E46 chassis. The M3 also got exclusive suspension, brakes, and wheels that gave it formidable performance. Even today, a well-driven E46 M3 can hold its own against much more powerful and modern performance cars. The 2001, 2002, and early 2003 model years had a rod bearing recall that was remedied by mid-2003. The SI B covering this replaced the faulty rod bearings with updated units. Clean, low mileage, 6-speed manual examples in rare colors and options carry the highest premiums, but public opinion has begun to turn in favor of SMG M3s. A mid-lifecycle update starting with March of 2003 (2003.5) model years included several new standard features, the most notable being LED taillights.

Let’s talk about SMG for a paragraph. As a die-hard manual enthusiast, I had a poor opinion of SMG for years. I would write off any SMG M3, clinging to my “from my cold dead hands,” 3-pedals forever mentality. Generally speaking, I still have that mentality, but I have come to prefer an SMG E46 M3 over a 3-pedal manual example. BMW Sequential Manual Gearbox technology first appeared in the European market E36 M3 (technically speaking its not a true sequential gearbox, but I digress). By the E46 M3, BMW had evolved it to SMG II Drivelogic, a vast improvement over SMG I. When it was released, SMG II was still criticized for being clunky and abrupt, but those complaints were due to human factors (culture lag), not the technology itself. SMG is, in essence, a manual gearbox with computer controlled shifting, not an automatic. If it is treated like an automatic, it will be clunky and abrupt and therein lays the human factors element. If driven correctly, SMG II is just as engaging and rewarding as a 3-pedal manual, but it has significant advantages. On the track an SMG M3 is absolutely faster, and not just because it shifts faster, but because it relieves the driver from the physical effort and mental energy of doing so, allowing more attention to be devoted to driving closer to the limit. The ability to left foot brake is an added plus. On the street it can be as smooth as a well-driven manual and just as engaging. BMW’s evolution to the double clutch M DCT in the E46’s successor M3 proved that automated manuals are the way of the future, but there is something nostalgic about the single clutch SMG II. It requires a level of engagement from the driver that DCT does not, and like an early Nintendo, it has carved its own niche in the technological arc of automobile evolution. SMG pumps are prone to failure, but more often than not it is a sensor instead of the actual pump. SMG cars are the easiest M3s to manual swap, too, and I offer that option below.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 2003 Titanium Silver Metallic M3 is an exemplary E46 M3. Titanium Silver Metallic (often referred to by its periodic table element name TiAg) was one of the most popular M3 colors, but there is a reason—it always looks great. Black leather with bushed aluminum trim compliments it perfectly. It is 100% stock and unmolested. The original owner purchased it from BMW of Henderson, Nevada and it remained with them until 2010 and 45,000 miles. It was exclusively dealer maintained during their stewardship. The second owner drove it a mere 6,000 miles before the third owner purchased it in 2015. Comprehensive records since new are included in a 3-ring binder, which, along with the Carfax, show regular inspections and services. The S54 rod bearing recall was done in September 2004 at 17,500 miles. Other notable maintenance includes the SMG programming update, differential and gearbox fluids, and S54 valve adjustments. We gave it a fresh inspection II in preparation for sale, including the 60K mile valve adjustment. Its cosmetic condition is excellent. The bumper cover is protected by clear bra, and there are no glaring imperfections. BMW M3 floor mats are included, along with rubber all-weather floor mats, two keys, M3 marketing brochures, performance delivery center information, and all owners’ manuals.

Exterior

2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe exterior photo

Titanium Silver Metallic always looks good, but the paint on this example is in pristine condition. It has clearly always lived indoors and been spared harsh weather and UV exposure. There are no glaring imperfections anywhere. The hood was protected by clear bra, which has since been removed. The lower bumper cover is still protected, but there are several small imperfections in the clear bra. The rear trunk trim has one small touch up paint area. All paint and body panels are original (appeared perhaps a couple panels have been repainted, further inspection necessary) and the factory VIN tag and placards are in place. There is no rust. All trim work is in place. The windshield is free of cracks and pitting. The headlight lenses are crystal clear and the fog light lenses are crack-free. The post-facelift LED rear tail light lenses are crack-free and look great! The Style 67 18-inch wheels are straight and true with no curb rash, except for one small spot on the left rear wheel. They are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 all-season tires that are worn evenly with lots of tread remaining. I used to be no fan of all-season tires, but the A/S 3s are a game changer. I mounted a set of these tires on my wife’s M3 and set a faster dry lap time on them than my well-used, but still sticky R1s!

Interior

 interior photo

The Black leather is in excellent condition. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet has no stains or tears and has been protected by factory BMW M3 floor mats. Overall the leather is in excellent condition, it is still soft to the touch. The seats have no failed stitching or tears, with minor creasing visible on the driver’s side bolster. The rear seats are in great shape, and are the desirable fold-down type. The M steering wheel has no excessive wear or failed M-colored stitching. There are no failed pixels in the instrument cluster, radio, or HVAC panel, and no warning or check engine lights. The auto-dimming rear view mirror functions and has not leaked any fluid. The headliner does not sag. The BMW Business / Harmon Kardon sound system sounds great. The heat blows warm and the air conditioning blows cold. The blower motor does not chirp, and the final stage resistor functions correctly (common issues). The only interior defects I’ve noted are minor wear on the driver’s door handle, and typical center console and driver’s seat bolster wear. The SMG knob and paddle shifters function correctly, and the shift lever surround is not loose. All power windows, door locks, and the sunroof operate correctly. The door cards are tight and the window regulators are quiet. The trunk tool kit is complete (lug wrenches were not included with M3s because of the mobility kit).

Mechanical

 engine photo

This M3 comes with comprehensive maintenance records going back the original purchase. They show regular oil changes, regular inspection I and II services, and recalls including the S54 rod bearing recall, SMG II programming, and air bags. All preventative maintenance is up to date and all common issues have either been addressed or are not present. It has just had Inspection II completed, including the S54 valve adjustment and a fresh oil change. All fluids (brake, power steering, coolant, gearbox, and differential) have been done in accordance with Mike Miller’s Lifetime Maintenance Schedule.

This is a turn-key M3. The engine fires on command, idles smoothly and pulls strongly to redline. It does not leak, drip, or spot. The VANOS is quiet. The clutch and SMG shifting are factory-crisp, and there are no codes. The brakes are firm, the suspension is compliant, and there is no driveline or wheel bearing vibration or whine. It has never been tracked, but performance driving instruction and coaching are available through us if desired—there is no more potent weapon for the money than an SMG E46 M3!

*If you want me to manual swap it, I am willing to discuss this, but I strongly recommend against it based on my personal preference for SMG II and the condition of this M3. Also, we have several manual M3s either for sale or in our queue.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • Vehicle Identification Number: WBSBL93463JR23237
  • Type: BL93
  • Model: M3 – USA
  • Development Code: E46 (2)
  • Chassis: Coupe
  • Steering: LL
  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: S54
  • Displacement: 3.20

  • Power: 333 Horsepower

  • Drivetrain: Rear

  • Transmission: Manual (SMG)

  • Color: Titanium Silver Metallic (Titainsilber Metallic – 354)

  • Upholstery: Black Leather (Teilleder W.n./schwarz – N5SW)
  • Production Plant: REGENSBURG
  • Production Date: 4-26-2003

Options

  • 403 Glass Roof, Electric
  • 441 Smokers Package
  • 459 Power Memory Seats
  • 473 Front Armrest
  • 508 Park Distance Control (PDC)
  • 521 Rain Sensor
  • 522 Xenon Headlights
  • 640 Car Telephone Preparation
  • 650 CD Player
  • 674 HiFi Loudspeaker System Harmon Kardon
  • 692 CD Changer I-bus Preparation
  • 737 Brushed Aluminum Interior Trim
  • 792 M Lt/Aly Double Spoke Wheels
  • 793 SMG Drivelogic
  • 925 Shipping Protection Package
  • 946 Consideration of Price Dependency

Standard Equipment

  • 210 Dynamic Stability Control
  • 249 Multi Function Steering Wheel
  • 354 Green Stripe Windscreen
  • 431 Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror
  • 520 Foglights
  • 534 Automatic Air Conditioning
  • 550 On-Board Computer
  • 645 Radio Control US
  • 661 Radio BMW Business
  • 710 M Leather Steering Wheel
  • 775 Individual Anthracite Headliner
  • 785 White Direction Indicator Lights
  • 845 Acoustic Belt Warning
  • 853 Language Version English
  • 876 Radio Frequency 315 Mhz
  • 992 Number Plate Attachement