The E46 realized a nearly 100-hp boost over the previous model, thanks to a new stronger iron block capable of a higher RPM redline. Well over 300 ponies reside under the hood and the iconic straight-six can rocket to a ceiling of 8,000 RPM. This is the first M3 that will really wag its tail given a heavy foot when exiting a turn. That can be a good thing, and it by no means means the car’s cornering ability is diminished; it just means there is a lot of juice lurking under that bulging hood. Taking a look around the E46 you will notice the wider flared fenders that nod to the E30 and accommodates the wider stance of the M3 compared to the 3-series. Sure it’s the largest M3 to date – which may have some questioning the philosophy of its build. Take a seat and put your foot down, however, and it will all become clear that the E46 is nothing but pure M.
The E46 M3 features strong acceleration, as seen on its 0-60 mph time of 4,7 seconds. In terms of handling, it is equally impressive due to a stock 50/50 weight distribution, although it would benefit greatly from weight reduction modifications. The top speed of the E46 M3 is 174 mph (280 km/h).