BMW M3 E46 (2002)

Additional information

by Telmo

Reserve price not met

The ultimate driving machine


S54B32 – 3246 cc – naturally aspirated, inline 6 cylinder


343 hp


Automatic, 6 speed


62.000 km





Owners until now

Four owners, current and three previous

Body Style


The Story

Perhaps one of the most successful and well-known automobile sagas in the industry is the one that BMW started in 1985 with the sportiest version of its 3-Series: The M3 model, which still exists today.

Within this magnificent saga of automobiles, the third generation commonly known by its development code E46, was presented as a concept at the International Motor Show in Germany in 1999, and formally presented to the public at the International Geneva Motor Show, during the last quarter of the year 2000.

This model was developed under the direction of Siegfried Friedmann, who from the first moment wanted to give this new model a greater purity in sporty driving, getting closer to the origins of the M3 E30, instead of the second generation M3 E36, which since its inception was considered to have a bit more of a GT (Gran Turismo) style driving. To do this, two pillars were established on which to build the model: Lightness, and a high-revving engine.

The M3 E46 became more refined, more luxurious and comfortable than its predecessors but without forgetting those technical and aesthetic aspects that were lost in the E36 version – such as the widened wheel arches, domed bonnet or side vents – that set it apart from the rest of the range and that enchanted so many enthusiasts of the model.

However, without a doubt, the best component of the M3 E46 was under the hood, the S54 engine. A spectacular 6 cylinders in line engine of 3.2 cc of displacement, atmospheric, that with a revving capacity of up to 8.000 rpm, and an improved system of variable regulation of valves (VANOS) granted 343 cv at 7.900 rpm.

The S54 engine has been one of the most awarded engines by the International Engine of the Year organization, obtaining the awards:

  • 2001 Engine of the year
  • 2001 Best new engine
  • 2001 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters
  • 2002 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters
  • 2003 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters
  • 2004 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters
  • 2005 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters
  • 2006 Best engine between 3.0 liters and 4.0 liters

The BMW M3 E46 unit that we present today for its auction in DeliCARtessen, was delivered to the official BMW dealer Lurauto (Guipúzcoa), at the end of 2002 to its first owner, who ordered it to the factory equipped with the aforementioned 344 cv S54 engine combined with the six-speed Drivelogic manual-piloted gearbox. (Better known as SMG-II)

The combination of colors chosen was a bet on black, since both its exterior (Carbonschwarz Metallic) and its interior completely upholstered in leather, was chosen in an elegant and timeless black color.

The car left the factory with the following equipment:

  • Date of Manufacturing: 14-09-2002
  • Color: 416 Carbonschwarz Metallic
  • S403A – Electric sunroof
  • S441A – Smoker specifications
  • S502A – Headlight cleaning system
  • S522A – Xenon headlights
  • S609A – Professional navigation system
  • S630A – Integrated telephone with wireless receiver
  • S672A – 6 CD Changer
  • S793A – Sequential gearbox M Drivelogic
  • S856A – Spanish Version
  • S883A – Literature in Spanish
  • S210A – Dynamic stability control (DSC)
  • S249A + S710A – ///M Sports multifunctional steering wheel
  • S431A – Interior mirror with automatic dimming
  • S459A – Electric seats with memory
  • S520A – Fog lights
  • S534A – Automatic climate control
  • S550A – Travel computer
  • S775A – Anthracite interior roof covering
  • S785A – White turn signals

The car was bought by its first owner in November 2002, who owned it for 4 years and 5 months. In this period, and always according to the maintenance book provided by its owner, the car received the following service:

  • Run-in check at 2.025 km (February 2003) at Official BMW Dealer Gipauto
  • Oil and Filter change, at 15.329 km at Official BMW Dealer Gipauto

In April 2007, the car passes into the hands of its second owner (at a company’s name), who owns it for almost 3 years. During that period, he performs:

  • First service “Inspection I” at 34.823 km in January 2008, at Official BMW Dealer Gipauto. In this same service the connecting rod caps have been changed, part of an official BMW campaign.

In February 2010, the car was sold and passed to its third owner, who kept it in its possession for 6 years and 10 months until December 2016, during which period the following service was performed on the car:

  • Oil and Filter change, at 39.165 km, at Official BMW Dealer Auto Olmo, in Pamplona. (August 2010)
  • In November 2014, the mileage was registered for the first time in the history of the vehicle in an ITV station, marking at that moment 52.513 km.
  • At 53.365 km in November 2014, a service not clearly described was marked in the maintenance book.
  • In December 2016, 55.247 km were marked on the clock, registered at an ITV station.
  • In the same month, December 2016, the driver’s airbag was replaced as was recommended by an official BMW campaign. This operation was done at official BMW dealer AutoOlmo (Pamplona), marking 55.254 km on the clock.

In December 2016, its current owner acquires the car and keeps it until this day. The current owner gives us detailed invoices of the maintenance carried out during his ownership, highlighting:

  • In March 2017, with 56.103 km, an oil and filter change was done at Lurauto Official BMW dealership. During this same visit, following again an official BMW Campaign, the passenger airbag was changed.
  • In that same month, the car underwent a complete checkup and update of its mechanics, equivalent to BMW Inspection II, in the Txabarria Motorsport workshop (Lezama), absolute connoisseurs and specialists in BMW M mechanics.
  • In this review, the following was performed:
    • Spark plug replacement (NGK Iridium IX)
    • Full valve adjustment
    • Change of auxiliary belts. (plus its tensioners)
    • Change of the tensioner of the distribution chain
    • Change of cooling liquid
    • Change of thermostat
    • Work on the VANOS pressure
    • Cleaning and oiling of the rocker arms and engine compartment
    • Change of the camshafts and tensioner screws
    • Review and check of SMG transmission and chassis
  • In December 2017, 59.269 km were registered on the car’s record during its visit to the ITV.

At a mechanical level, the car is perfectly up to date, without any pending operations. As mentioned in the previous section, in its latest service job the car passed a general checkup by Txabarria Motorsport workshop, focusing especially on those sections where the M3 E46 models have some common failures, such as the VANOS, the SMG transmission and the chassis.

All these elements were reviewed, and none showed symptoms of a malfunction or special needs. (Apart from their scheduled maintenance).

Additionally, the attachment of the ventilator (commonly known as “viscous”) has been replaced by a genuine BMW replacement part and recently the starter engine has been replaced.

Regarding the SMG transmission, the firmware that manages the gear changes has been changed to the one from the M3 E46 CSL model which is newer, smoother and better in general than the original one from the standard M3 models.

As we said before, the connecting rod caps have been changed on this car as indicated by the official BMW campaign regarding this known issue of this model.

The car equips Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in size 225/45 R18 95Y on the front axle, and Michelin Pilot Sport 3 in size 255/40 R18 99Y on the rear axle. All the tires were installed in June 2017, when the car had 57.077 km, so they are still in a very good condition and have a long life ahead of them. Photographs of all the tires are attached to the photo gallery, where you can see their uniform wear.

We have no documented evidence of a change of brake pads and / or brake discs. Its owner tells us that they are in an acceptable state having still some use left.


The status of the bodywork and paint of the car is exceptional, considering that the car has already 16 years behind it. It does not show any strikes on any panel, and the paint seems in perfect condition, with a lot of brightness and without important marks as can be seen on the magnificent photos made by Josetxo López (@_jstphotography_ on instagram).

The car remains completely standard, without any external or internal modifications. Its owner has indicated that the car has been recently detailed, and that the front and rear bumpers have been painted to fix small scratches. The rest of the car’s panels do not seem to have ever been repainted but no documented evidence of this exists.

The interior is also in perfect condition, showing the low mileage of the car both from the wear of the seats as the steering wheel, which are in an almost impeccable condition. Only some slight defects can be noted, which are detailed in the paragraph below.


As only negative points, we should point out that some rims have some slight parking marks, a slight and very small scratch on one of the wheel arches, and inside the car, the lid of the small glovebox of the center console, shows some symptoms of the passage of time.

Very minor details considering the overall state of the vehicle.


From the legal point of view, as can be checked in the report extracted from the DGT, the vehicle is perfectly legal for circulation. It does not show any issue, and the mileage readings carried out in the different ITV match with the history provided by its owner.


During the last years the market of cars with certain sports aspirations has been particularly “hectic”, being the M3 E46 one of the models which valuation and quotation has risen significantly.

An explanation for this could be that, although a good number of units were made all over the world, fewer and fewer are in a state of adequate maintenance, or with not too much mileage. Additionally, it could be, because many fans see in the M3 E46 the last “pure” M3, having an excellent inline 6-cylinder atmospheric engine and it could also be due to the growth of last years’ economy, which allows more people to be able to fulfill that dream of the early 2000s, of having an authentic M3 in their garage.

For whatever reason, the reality of the market is that the BMW M3 E46 model has turned into a reference “Youngtimer” model, destined to be a future classic, making the prices of this model go up considerably. There are no longer units in good condition and maintenance record below 20.000 euros. Especially those units with a perfectly clear maintenance history, with their endemic problems fixed or under control and that have remained with a configuration as close as possible to how they left the factory.

For all these reasons, it seems to us that this unit is very interesting. The most notable point is the very low mileage of the car, but also, it is absolutely standard, with a clear maintenance history and in a magnificent mechanical state.

Place your bid

Reserve price not met

Auction has finished

Highest bidder was: sheltergarage

Date Bid User
2018-12-13 22:11:1127.505sheltergarage
2018-12-13 22:10:5827.403Igal
2018-12-13 22:08:0327.402sheltergarage
2018-12-13 22:07:0527.001Igal
2018-12-13 22:04:1827.000sheltergarage
2018-12-13 22:03:1126.999sheltergarage
2018-12-13 22:02:0125.000sheltergarage
2018-12-13 21:59:2722.501Igal
2018-12-13 21:50:2622.500sheltergarage
2018-12-13 20:15:4321.999Dmartinez
2018-12-13 20:10:4921.500sheltergarage
2018-12-13 20:00:4021.499Dmartinez
2018-12-13 19:13:2621.101sheltergarage
2018-12-01 19:37:0121.000Dmartinez
2018-12-01 01:51:1120.000Izquierdo
2018-11-30 09:27:0819.002GalBecFJ
2018-11-29 22:06:4719.001Etreinta
2018-11-29 22:03:3319.000Dmartinez
2018-11-29 21:17:3818.101Etreinta
2018-11-29 21:08:0318.000Dmartinez
2018-11-29 15:39:4315.302Etreinta
2018-11-29 09:21:4915.201mutacion
2018-11-28 23:59:3115.101GalBecFJ
2018-11-28 22:49:3615.000Dmartinez
2018-11-28 22:37:3712.900sheltergarage
2018-11-28 22:14:0212.000Izquierdo
2018-11-28 20:50Auction started

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