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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-01-2020, 05:14 PM   #1
OnTheFence
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Why do you drive an E46 ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by orb View Post
Not to get too off topic with this thread, but two types of people I've noticed are still driving this platform:

1) Those who are broke and can't afford anything better. They would take something better if offered and gladly give up their E46. Not driving an E46 by choice (maybe at one time they were), it's just what they're stuck with at this time.

2) Enthusiasts, ie. this forum. Pretty sure most of us can afford newer cars but still choose this platform for whatever reason. You really have to like a platform to still be voluntarily driving it ~15 years after end of production.

.
The guy who feels new cars are terrible, for whatever reasons?
Value seeker. Depreciated Euro performance. DIY enthusiast?

Why do you drive an E46 ?
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:27 PM   #2
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For me, the e46 platform provides a timeless look that appeals to me and my childhood self while most importantly remains a pleasure to drive while retaining the “raw machine” feel - being you still feel the road, accelerator, steering, there’s feedback, it’s not plastic or synthetic feeling.

I was going to get an f30 but then I took it for a test drive... feels like that cheep car simulator kit you got for your ps2 as a kid... no thanks.

Anyways, it is an amazing platform to work with, parts are affordable while they are still good quality. It has most of not all of the “bells and whistles” of most modern day cars that appease my creature comforts (I honestly don’t need a light on the side mirror to show me that I shouldn’t turn... look where your driving....)

When I drive my e46 I drive it, it doesn’t drive me, there are no new cars that I’ve driven where I felt I was in control. - even new manual cars feel simulated.

The bottom line is I feel that the e46 is the last production of the real BMW name; “The ultimate driving machine”.

That’s just my personal opinion and why I drive the e46 platform. If it were up to me I would have an 2004 M3 to match my 325i too, then i would be complete, I cannot because of space and parking restrictions
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnTheFence View Post
The guy who feels new cars are terrible, for whatever reasons?

Value seeker. Depreciated Euro performance. DIY enthusiast?



Why do you drive an E46 ?
I bought it for her timeless classic look. I kept it for her easiness to work on. Almost sold her a few times over the last 2 years due to her oil consumption but recently fixed that.


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Old 01-01-2020, 06:17 PM   #4
Jackson42
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I've always maintained and repaired my own cars, and have owned BMWs for a very long time. The E46 is the last of the BMWs that a capable DIY mechanic has a fighting chance of keeping going by him- or herself. The newer BMWs have all kinds of techie goodies that don't add value to the driving experience and when they break (not if, but when), will do so expensively. In relative terms, the E46 is still simple enough that it does not get between me and the driving experience. I drive an '04 330Ci with the 6-speed manual, and the engine/transmission combination is nigh on perfect. My wife drives an '03 325iT Touring. We call it our German truck; it's a very satisfying car to drive and it can carry an amazing amount of stuff. The way I figure it, a hundred dollars in parts every couple months is infinitely preferable to huge car payments every month and the lingering fear that the newer cars will break massively and expensively. I keep a large stock of repair and maintenance parts on the shelf, and I can fix the vast majority of the problems with these cars from shelf stock. I intend to keep them going for a long time to come.

If I was in the market for a new car, I likely would not buy a BMW - too big, too bloated, too heavy, too infested with gizmos.
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:50 PM   #5
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A well maintained E46 is a lot of fun to drive, I owned mine for nearly seven years and DIY nearly everything. When it came time to move on I opted for an E92 with 6MT and leather interior not the pleather I had in the E46.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:54 PM   #6
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A well maintained E46 is a lot of fun to drive, I owned mine for nearly seven years and DIY nearly everything. When it came time to move on I opted for an E92 with 6MT and leather interior not the pleather I had in the E46.
How's the e92 for diy?

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Old 01-01-2020, 08:00 PM   #7
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Classic BMW styling & German engineering. Not sure I would want a newer BMW other than perhaps an e93.
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:03 PM   #8
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How's the e92 for diy?

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Generally more of a pain. Just not laid out quite as well for DIY, and they did some things like having no drain plug in the diff.
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:03 PM   #9
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Generally more of a pain. Just not laid out quite as well for DIY, and they did some things like having no drain plug in the diff.
How the heck do you drain the oil then?!

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Old 01-01-2020, 08:06 PM   #10
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How the heck do you drain the oil then?!

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Take the diff out, remove the cover, and drain. And maybe drill / tap an actual drain plug while you're doing that.
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:37 PM   #11
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Take the diff out, remove the cover, and drain. And maybe drill / tap an actual drain plug while you're doing that.
That's ridiculous lol

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Old 01-01-2020, 09:14 PM   #12
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1. I enjoy the way they drive, especially after a few modifications/enhancements.

2. As a hands-on automotive hobbyist, I find them to be accessible and pleasant to work on.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:14 PM   #13
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That's ridiculous lol

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Yes it is. You suck it out with a $10 suction gun. Stupid post.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:15 PM   #14
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I

The E46 is the last of the BMWs that a capable DIY mechanic has a fighting chance of keeping going by him- or herself. .
Absolute nonsense
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:22 PM   #15
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I wanted something with an I6, manual transmission, RWD and back seats. I'd always liked the way E46s looked, and the one I have popped up for sale locally. I'd like to say it's my dream car and I'd always pined for one, but that's not the truth. It was a pretty "logical" purchase, if that's the right word. It checked all the boxes, so to speak.

It's been a good relationship for the past 4 years.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:09 PM   #16
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Yes it is. You suck it out with a $10 suction gun. Stupid post.
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Absolute nonsense
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:14 PM   #17
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To respond to my own thoughts, in a way:

1. It's paid for and cheap to operate.
2. After spending quite a bit on it around 2015-16ish, it's been dead reliable.
3. Drives and looks good enough, also after much money spent on these aspects. Fortunately I'm getting value out of it with a 30 mile round trip commute 5 days a week.
4. Easy to work on and after 8 years I know every system/component of the car like the back of my hand.

Still thinking about getting it a stablemate maybe 6 months to a year from now, but problem is I really have no idea what I want. Looked at everything from the S3, Macan S, and the A6 3.0T on the higher end to low mileage N55 335i's on the lower end. I just want something a little more comfortable for daily driving at this point but still sporty.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:21 PM   #18
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Because it was my dream car for many years. When the E46 came out in the late 90s i was in my late teens and no shot at getting one. As i got older and could afford it, for whatever reason i never got one but eventually in 2015 i said "**** it, i am getting one" and looked for 4-dr, low mileage, 6spd, red zhp.

They have aged very well, especially if you replace the amber tail lights, and drive wonderfully. I love going for a drive and hearing the engine rev up and the overall simplicity of it. You get in the cabin and it's simple and don't have a boatload of buttons to press. Bought it as a "pleasure" car and will stay that way as i have another car i use for daily duties.

I have driven the F30 and whatever the new 3series is called, and they were quite unimpressive so in no rush to sell the E46.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:23 PM   #19
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He's the E46F tough guy wannabe.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
Generally more of a pain. Just not laid out quite as well for DIY, and they did some things like having no drain plug in the diff.
No oil dipstick...no coolant temp gauge...
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