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2002 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe

2002 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe

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Details

Price: SOLD | Visit the Bring a Trailer auction

Mileage: 33,000 Miles

Transmission: 6-Speed SMG II Drivelogic

Exterior color: Phoenix Yellow Metallic Exterior (445)

Interior: Black Leather Interior (N5SW) with Titan Shadow Interior Trim

Additional features:

Glass Sunroof

Manual Sport Seats

Auto Dimming Rearview Mirror

Xenon Headlights

BMW Business CD with HiFi Sound System

Automatic Climate Control

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

Continental Extreme Contact High Performance All Season Tires

Indoor Car Cover

100% Stock and Unmolested

Time-Capsule Condition

1-Owner Car

Clean Carfax

Rod Bearing Recall Complied With

Background

2002 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 power 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 bearing 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.

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 lies 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 2002 Phoenix Yellow Metallic M3 is a time capsule, collector grade E46 M3. Phoenix Yellow was an exclusive and highly desirable color for the E46 M3. It can be polarizing, but that is also what makes it special. Black leather is the perfect complimentary interior color, and much more appropriate that the grey interiors that most Phoenix Yellow M3s came with. It is 100% stock and unmolested. The original owner special ordered it from BMW Seattle in Phoenix Yellow with SMG, manual seats, xenon headlights, and parking distance control—nothing else. It has always been dealer maintained by BMW Seattle or BMW of Palm Springs, including regular oil changes (more frequently than the factory interval), brake fluid flushes, and coolant flushes. BMW Seattle completed the rod bearing recall in September of 2004 at 6000 miles. BMW of Palm Springs inspected the rear subframe in November of 2009 at 15,000 miles and no cracks were found. We inspected it again in preparation for sale, and it remains crack-free. The last major service, Inspection II including the valve adjustment, was done in 2015 at 26,400 miles. In preparation for sale we gave it a fresh oil change. Overall its condition is nearly perfect, it still looks and smells very much the same as the day it was driven off the assembly line. The leading edges are protected by Stonegard clear bra, installed shortly after the owner took delivery. Factory floor mats are included, along with an indoor car cover. Three keys are included; one is in the BMW leather switchblade case. All owners’ manuals are present, along with an E46 M3 marketing brochure and a VHS cassette.

The color combo, condition, and mileage make this E46 M3 an outlier example. We have priced it accordingly and would like to find a new owner who will appreciate and care for it as it has been, and enjoy it for years to come.

Exterior

2002 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe exterior photo

Phoenix Yellow Metallic is one of the best colors in E46 M3 color palette. It changes dramatically in sunlight or shade, but always looks fantastic. The paint on this example is in pristine condition; there are no glaring imperfections. It has always lived indoors and been spared harsh weather and UV exposure. The leading edges are protected by Stonegard clear bra, which is in excellent condition. All paint and body panels are original 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, it has one chip that has been filled and is out of the driver’s line of sight. The headlight lenses are crystal clear and the fog light lenses are crack-free. All remaining light lenses are also crack-free. The Style 67 18-inch wheels are straight and true with no curb rash. They are wrapped in Continental Extreme Contact tires that are worn evenly with lots of tread remaining.

Interior

 interior photo

Black leather is the perfect match for the Phoenix Yellow exterior. There are no odors other than that fine leather smell of a low-mileage BMW. 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 soft to the touch and has the matte luster of leather unsoiled by excessive human contact. The seats have no failed stitching or tears, with very minor creasing visible on the driver’s side bolster. Manual seats are lighter than power seats and have no motors to fail. 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 / HiFi 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 notable interior defect I could find is minor wear on the lower center console storage compartment door ahead of the shift lever (an easy fix). 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 except for the lug wrench, which I will source; all factory manuals are present, along with the previously mentioned keys.

Mechanical

 engine photo

This is a turn-key E46 M3. 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 an even fresher oil change. The brake fluid, coolant, gearbox, and differential fluids also appear to have been done recently, which is in accordance with Mike Miller’s Lifetime Maintenance Schedule. The rod bearings were replaced with the updated bearings under recall in 2004. I only have copies of important records like the rod bearing recall and subframe inspection, but the Carfax shows regular service intervals. The engine fires on command, idles smoothly and pulls strongly to redline (once the oil is warmed up, of course). It does not leak, drip, or spot. The VANOS is quiet. The clutch and SMG shifting are factory-crisp. The brakes are firm, the suspension is compliant, and there is no driveline or wheel bearing vibration or whine. As it sits, this is a turn-key E46 M3; it was just driven from Seattle to Denver with no issues. It has never been tracked or autocrossed, but Performance driving instruction and coaching are available through us if desired.

*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 collectability of this M3.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • Vehicle Identification Number: WBSBL93452JR18741
  • 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: Pheonix Yellow Metallic (Phoenixgelb Metallic – 445)

  • Upholstery: Black Leather (Teilleder W.n./schwarz – N5SW)
  • Production Plant: REGENSBURG
  • Production Date: 8-7-2002

Options

  • 403 Glass Roof, Electric
  • 441 Smokers Package
  • 473 Front Armrest
  • 508 Park Distance Control (PDC)
  • 522 Xenon Headlights
  • 640 Car Telephone Preparation
  • 650 CD Player
  • 676 HiFi Loudspeaker System
  • 692 CD Changer I-bus Preparation
  • 793 SMG Drivelogic
  • 896 Daytime Running Lights
  • 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 Attachment