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Hey guys,

I have a 2016 M4 Comp 6mt that I love, but I always told myself I would get an e46 m3 or an e92 m3 at one point. I’m about a year out from the purchase and am saving up on the side. If I did end up getting an e92 it would probably be a very high mileage 2008 model. Instead I could probably get a better condition e46 and that’s what I’m leaning towards. It needs to be 6mt, coupe and well maintained with no accident history or very minor accidents. Flexible on color too.

My goal is to secure a good condition car that I can keep for a long time, with the expectations that after buying it, I’d have to spend money on maintenance and subframe reinforcement. After that, plans for the car would include basic bolt ons and handling mods, with the occasional track day.

I would get a thorough PPI to check mechanically and structurally before hand. With that said, is $12-$15k enough to get me a good condition e46 with 150k miles or less? What’s the highest mileage you would recommend on this car? I honestly wish I could spend more but with two babies and a house purchase in the near future, this is the max I’m comfortable spending and I’m ITCHING for a 6mt e46 m3.

Thanks in advance for any feedback. Pic of the f82 just because...
 

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Mmm, I would tell you to plan on $20k to get what you want and assume you will need to some work it. Manuals are not very common these days so you may need to trade off on the year and mileage of the car.


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$20k is certainly not happening. I have other obligations that require $. No doubt you***8217;re right, but I don***8217;t mind getting a car that needs some minor work and attending to it over the next year in baby steps.
 

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For 12-15k u can get an smg coupe E46 m3. For a manual coupe low milleage plan 20k plus any repairs it needs

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I’d be looking for a higher mileage good condition e46. I know I won’t get a low mileage one with this budget
 

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Are mechanically savy enough to do a manual conversion? You could save thousands this way. It's only $1.5k-2k to convert. You know the synchros will be in tip top shape too because SMGs don't grind gears. The worst part about an SMG is putting the trans back in and bleeding that stupid system. Still I enjoy driving it. I'd say drive an SMG with CSL software. Either way, to get a good condition, moderate mileage, E46 at $12k-15k, it's going to be an SMG.

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Right now I think you could actually get a decent e46 M3 manual in your budget range. I think some people are selling cars due to the Covid-19 crisis and perhaps losing their jobs. I have seen numerous e46 M3 with original prices lowered from the high teens down to mid teens.

You may want to get into the market sooner rather than later.

Good luck!
 

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The entry cost is not the question. Its the entry cost PLUS the maintenance cost. Its not Honda Accord "wait until something breaks" maintenance. The newest E46 M3 is 14 years old. This car WILL cost thousands every year to maintain, replace worn parts and preventive maintenance. Do you have the wallet for a surprise $3-4K VANOS or SMG pump or subframe fix? You CAN buy a well-maintained car (with the paperwork to back up that claim). That car will cost you $25K, perhaps more if it has a bulletproof VANOS, subframe done, all newer bushings, great oil change record, non-crappy pads and rotors and basically the owner didn't poorhouse the car by maintaining it as little as possible and use all cheapest-they-could-find parts/crap oil.

The sweet spot is $20-23K. You still need to maintain that car. Good tires are $1,000-$1,200 a set (that rubber is soft and will wear out faster than you are expecting). OE pads and good rotors are not cheap. Spec oil is not cheap (and don't use cheap oil).


Plan on putting the car on a lift twice a year and have it thoroughly looked at for wear, leaks and problems BEFORE they get bigger.


Don't expect that you'll get into the car for $15K and be done. You won't be. This is not a new car. The parts were new 15 or more years ago. Don't lose sight of that fact. (Your wallet won't).
 

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I’m selling my 2003 6 speed coupe, with 145km on it.
I’m looking for 17,000 Canadian... that works out quite well for you fine Americans.

She needs work though.... some body finishes, subframe reinforcements etc.

Motor, transmission and now diff are good.

Works out to $12,102 us, for a 90,000 miles 6 speed coupe...
I’m about an hour north of buffalo NY


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Not that it can't be imported to US, but

I’m selling my 2003 6 speed coupe, with 145km on it.
I’m looking for 17,000 Canadian... that works out quite well for you fine Americans.

She needs work though.... some body finishes, subframe reinforcements etc.

Motor, transmission and now diff are good.

Works out to $12,102 us, for a 90,000 miles 6 speed coupe...
I’m about an hour north of buffalo NY


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IF the car had certain stickers on the door frame (see import requirements, google it) certifying by mfr that the car met US DOT and EPA requirements it would be a LOT easier to import to US. It seems that some manufacturers are not willing to give a letter of certification for their cars or for certain cars to avoid just this type of purchase in Canada and subsequent import to the US. There is a large amount of legal hoops to jump through, not to mention a 2.5% import duty, etc., all of which have to be executed before bringing the car through customs.

Just sayin'.
 
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