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2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe

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Details

Price: $48,800

Mileage: 33,700 Miles

Engine: S54B32 Inline 6-Cylinder Engine

Transmission: 6-Speed Automated Manual Gearbox (SMG)

Exterior color: Titanium Silver Metallic (354)

Interior: Imola Red Leather Interior (N5IM)

Additional features:

Titan Interior Trim

2003.5 Post-Facelift M3

Power / Memory Sport Seats

M Multi-Function Steering Wheel

Halogen Headlights

Automatic Headlights

White Direction Indicator Lights

LED Taillights

Automatic Climate Control

Rain Sensor

On Board Computer

Fog Lights

Parking Distance Control (PDC)

Fold Down Rear Seats

BMW Carpet Floor Mats

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ Tires

Texas Car

Clean Carfax

Mature Original Owner M3

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 service information bulletin (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.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 2003.5 Titanium Silver over Imola Red SMG M3 is a collector-grade example thanks to its low mileage and single original owner who treated this M3 with extreme reverence. There are few better color combinations an E46 M3 can wear than Titanium Silver (TiAg) over Imola red. Items like the factory 1500 Mile Service reminder sticker remain intact and the minimal options list highlights an emphasis on the driving experience over everything else: slicktop (no sunroof), halogen headlights, and the SMG gearbox. The original window sticker and other literature are included with this car and overall, it presents like the Sunday Driver of a septuagenarian (that’s 70+ years old for you non-English majors) original-owner example that it is.

The M3 was originally delivered in August of 2003 to Moritz BMW in Arlington, Texas and it lived with its original owner a handful of miles away from the dealership until we acquired it this year. The Carfax and fastidious service records show that this car received consistent dealer service and was driven sparingly yet consistently throughout its life. At this point in time, an E46 M3 in this condition is a rare sight indeed, and the color combination and enthusiast-spec ‘Slicktop’ ensure that this one is worth keeping around for the long haul. The big three; rod bearings, VANOS, and subframe are all healthy on this example; the former being post 2003.5 and post-recall and the latter two showing no issues. We found little to gripe about on our pre-purchase inspection. In preparation for sale all that was needed to bring it up to par was replacing the driver’s side door handle trim. The records are included in a three-ring binder, along with all owners’ manuals and two keys.

Exterior

2003.5 BMW (E46) M3 Coupe exterior photo

The Titanium Silver paint is in great condition and shines uniformly in one of BMW’s classic colors. The paint is clear and shows wear on the light side for a thirty-thousand mile example; imperfections appear to be related to rock chips and road debris as the car was garaged its entire life. The clear coat and body panels are clear and straight and the majority of the exterior is in remarkable condition for its age. There are some minor rock chips present on the front bumper and a couple of small paint dings on the flared fenders, the worst being the right rear fender. There is no rust and minimal evidence of driving in conditions aside from sunny Texas weekends. The factory VIN placard is in place and all trim work presents very nicely. The windshield is crack-free with minor pitting. The headlight lenses are clear and slightly pitted. The rear taillights are exceptionally clear. The factory M Double Spoke wheels present very well with minor curb rash on each wheel and Michelin Pilot Sport A/S3+ tires with 2016 DOT codes.

Interior

 interior photo

Overall, the interior is in great condition. There are no odors to speak of. The headliner is extremely clean and the trim on the A- and C-pillars is exceptional. The carpet and factory carpet floor mats present very well. The Imola Red interior is in great shape with light wear on the outside bolsters of the driver’s seat and very light wear on the passenger side. The rear seats are the desirable fold-down type. The M steering wheel is in great condition with only the lightest wear on the primary touch points of the soft-touch leather rim and painted plastic spokes. The SMG paddles show a bit of paint wear which is unavoidable with these early soft-touch materials. There are no failed pixels in the instrument cluster, radio, or HVAC panel and there are no warning or check engine lights illuminated. 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). There is minor scratching of the center console. The shift knob surround has very few of the typical E46 wear marks. The power door locks and windows work correctly; this slicktop example has no sunroof to worry about. The door cards are tight, and the window regulators are quiet; we replaced the driver’s door titan trim piece. The trunk tool kit is complete (lug wrenches were not included with M3s because of the mobility kit). All owners’ manuals and two keys are included with the sale, along with the original window sticker.

Mechanical

 engine photo

All preventative maintenance is up to date and no common E46 are present. The service records are thorough and reflect better-than-specified maintenance for this car’s age and mileage. 2003.5 and later model year M3s do not have the rod bearings issues that early E46 M3s had, and the OEM ones usually last well into the mid-100K mile mark. The transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant have been flushed regularly. The engine fires on command, idles smoothly and pulls strongly to redline. It does not leak, drip, or spot. The VANOS is quiet. The SMG unit functions correctly, the clutch does not slip. The brakes have lots of pad life and rotor run-out remaining. There is no driveline or wheel bearing vibration or whine. This M3 is an excellent, exceptionally clean low-mileage example that will offer years of great driving and collector potential to its new owner.

VIN Decode

 exterior photo

VIN Decode

  • VIN: WBSBL93453JR24475
  • Type Code BL93
  • E Series E46 (2) Series 3
  • Type COUPE
  • Model M3 (USA)
  • Steering LL
  • Doors 2
  • Engine S54
  • Displacement 3.20
  • Power 252
  • Drive HECK
  • Transmission MECH (SMG)
  • Color Titan Silber (354)
  • Upholstery Leder Walknappa/imola-rot (N5IM)
  • Prod Date 7-23-2003

Original Vehicle Options

  • 210 Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • 249 Multi-function For Steering Wheel
  • 354 Green Stripe Windscreen
  • 431 Interior Rr Vw Mirror with Auto Dimming
  • 441 Smokers Package
  • 459 Seat Adjustm., Electr. W. Memory
  • 473 Armrest, Front
  • 508 Park Distance Control (PDC)
  • 520 Foglights
  • 521 Rain Sensor
  • 534 Automatic Air Conditioning
  • 550 On-board Computer
  • 640 Car Telephone Preparation
  • 645 Radio Control Us
  • 650 Cd Player
  • 661 Radio BMW Business
  • 676 Hifi Loudspeaker System
  • 692 Cd Changer I-bus Preparation
  • 710 M Leather Steering Wheel
  • 775 Individual Roof-lining Anthracite
  • 785 White Direction Indicator Lights
  • 793 Smg Drivelogic
  • 845 Acoustic Belt Warning
  • 853 Language Version English
  • 876 Radio Frequency 315 Mhz
  • 925 Shipping Protection Package
  • 946 Consideration Of Price Dependency
  • 992 Number Plate Attachement Management