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2004 BMW M3

2004 BMW M3

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Price: SOLD

Mileage: 117,000 Miles

Exterior color: Jet Black (Schwarz 2)

Interior: Black Napa Leather & Brushed Aluminum Interior

Additional features:

California (CARB Legal) / Colorado Car

Dinan High Flow Cold Air Intake, Air Flow Meter, and Throttle Bodies

Dinan Exhaust

H&R Lowering Springs

AC Schnitzer Pedals

Dice Mediabridge iPhone / Bluetooth Interface

Tint and Clear Bra

Clean Carfax

Harmon Kardon Premium Sound

4–Way Power, Heated Seats with Adjustable Lumbar

Steering Wheel Controls

Keyless Entry - with Radio Preset, Mirror and Seat Position Memory

Onboard Computer – Trip, AVG Speed, AVG MPG, Outside Air Temp

Auto Dimming Rearview Mirror (Solid State not Liquid)

Auto Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers

Auto Headlights

Fog Lights

Adaptive LED Tail Lights

40/60 Split Folding Rear Seats

General

2004 BMW M3 exterior photo

The E46 generation M3 is the last of the normally aspirated, inline 6-cylinder-powered cars that defined the marque for a generation. (E30 M3 purists will note the 4-cylinder S14 engine was the result of lopping two cylinders off the M88 head). The heart of the E46 M3 is the 333-horse power S54B32 engine, an evolution of an architecture that reaches back to the original M535i and M1. It 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 the screaming 8000-RPM redline is a smile-evoking experience only heightened by this M3’s Dinan upgrades.

Here’s the story behind this 2004 E46 M3 in Jet Black 2 (Schwarz 2 in BMW speak) over black Napa leather and shadow-line brushed aluminum trim. A few years ago a friend asked me to find him a good E46 M3. I am a BMW Car Club of America member, performance driving instructor, and have significant experience with M cars. After a few weeks of searching I found this car in Southern California. He bought it and I have maintained it for him ever since. I am selling it on consignment now. We wanted a 2004 or later M3 because they had revised main rod bearings (’01 and ‘02’s were recalled), a factory strut bar, adaptive LED taillights, and slightly revised suspension geometry. On top of that, this car has a Dinan High Flow Cold Air Intake, High Flow Mass Air Flow Meter, High Flow Throttle Bodies, High Flow Exhaust, and H&R Suspension – over $4000 in parts. The wizards at BMW Motorsport GmbH are highly skilled at making cars that result in a sum greater than their parts. Steve Dinan has further refined their work with upgrades that add performance without compromising the stock nature or usability of the M3. Each element is an incremental improvement that when combined together allow it to breath, exhale, and put the additional power to the road.

Mechanical

2004 BMW M3 engine photo

This M3 has had an excellent maintenance pedigree. I have maintained it the “old school” way following Life Time Maintenance Schedule published by Mike Miller of the BMW Car Club of America. It is a turn-key car that is ready to be thoroughly enjoyed by its next owner. At the time of purchase the M3 had 106,500 miles. Before my time with the car it had the following items replaced:

  • Clutch at 70,000 miles
  • Alternator at 85,000 miles
  • Inspection I including a valve adjustment at 96,000 miles
  • DME software update (BMW recall) at 105,000 miles

Since I have maintained the following has been done:

  • 9/5/11 108,000 Oil and Filter Change
  • 9/10/11 108,000 Remove and Replace Window Tint
  • 9/10/11 108,000 Polish Headlights
  • 9/10/11 108,000 Clear Bra Hood, Fenders, A-Pillars, & Headlights
  • 9/15/11 108,000 Rebuild Shifter Assembly
  • 9/15/11 108,000 Manual Transmission and Differential Fluid Change
  • 2/20/12 109,000 Replace Starter Motor and Solenoid
  • 2/20/12 109,000 Replace Dinan Air Filter
  • 3/13/12 109,000 Replace Battery
  • 6/13/12 110,400 Replace Rear Tires, Hankook V12 Evo’s
  • 5/20/13 113,500 Oil and Filter Change, Replace Fuel Filter
  • 10/6/13 114,600 Replace Cooling Fan Clutch
  • 3/15/14 115,500 Replace Water Pump, Thermostat, and Coolant Flush
  • 3/15/14 115,600 Replace Drive Belts, Upper and Lower Idler Pulleys
  • 10/2/14 116,000 Passenger Side Airbag Recall Complied with
  • 8/5/14 116,800 Replace Front Tires Hankook V12 Evo’s
  • 8/5/14 116,800 Oil and Filter Change

Based on the 30,000-mile interval, it isn’t due for another valve adjustment for 10,000 miles. The front tires have less than 100 miles on them, the rears have about 7000, both have zero camber wear and at least 7/32’s tread remaining. The brakes have 6-7mm of pad remaining. The H&R Sport Springs and what appear to be relatively new Sachs shocks are very firm, yet compliant. The shock mounts are solid with no clunking, as are the front and rear subframe and control arm bushings. None of the E46 issues are present. There are no indications of subframe separation, the window regulators work as they should, the shifter is tight, there is no VANOS rattle, the adaptive xenon self-leveling headlights level, and the HVAC delivers hot and cold air on command with no blower noise or final stage resistor problems. The most glaring defect is a loose resonator in the exhaust when it’s cold. Once the exhaust heats up, the noise goes away. The trombone power steering is starting to “sweat” but will not require replacement anytime soon.

Exterior

2004 BMW M3 exterior photo

This car presents fantastically; it receives compliments on every drive. People always assume it’s a much younger, lower mileage car than it is - as much a testament to the E46’s timeless design as its exceptional condition. It has been garage kept and fair weather driven in its time in Colorado. The paint has been protected by the clear bra mentioned above and shows minimal scratches, fading, or swirl marks. A close examination will reveal imperfections, but those more consistent of an M3 of half the age and mileage. The trim and black work are very good. I replaced the Roundels and hood vent to make it look even better. There is some minor scuffing on the lower front valence, but you have to look to see it. The wheels are straight and free of curb rash. The front bumper cover was reported to have been repainted by the previous owner. The driver’s side door jam build date / VIN and tire pressure stickers are missing. I had a high-end paint shop inspect the car for accidents and paint work. We could find no indications of accidents, panel replacement, or body work. A paint gauge inspection revealed between between 4-8 mils over the entire car (we could not gauge the hood because it is aluminum). There is a soft edge just inside the driver’s door showing that the driver’s side quarter panel was repainted, but it gauged consistently with the rest of the car. The orange peel is consistent with the other body panels. The seam sealer where the quarter panel joins the trunk panel is factory and shows the panel was not replaced. The inspector said it was a very high quality paint job comparable to their work. Based on the lack of bodywork or replacement, his guess as to why the panel might have been repainted was that it was keyed, but we cannot confirm this. Overall exterior of this M3 is excellent condition and will continue to receive compliments when it is enjoyed by its new owner.

Interior

2004 BMW M3 interior photo

The interior condition is consistent with the exterior. BMW interiors unzip at the seams if they have not been protected from UV exposure. This car’s garage life and tinted windows have preserved and protected the black Napa leather from that fate. It is still soft, supple, and has that fantastic smell that all good E46’s do. Common wear areas like the steering wheel and seat bolsters have just very light aging. I have photographed these areas from several angles. There are no rips or tears anywhere. The headliner does not sag. The brushed aluminum (it’s really plastic) trim is intact with no broken clips. All functions work as they should. There are no blown out pixels in the cluster or HVAC, although the radio has one pixel that intermittently disappears in the small RDS screen. The Harmon Kardon sound system sounds great and the DICE Media Bridge adds modern iPhone functionality. The AC Schnitzer pedals are a functional accent that compliments the brushed aluminum.

Summary

2004 BMW M3 exterior photo

I tried to provide a thorough and accurate representation that is deserving of this M3. We would like to find a new owner who will continue to love this excellent car and enjoy it for another 100K miles.