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 codenamed M3 is the third model generation of the BMW that replaced the E36 M3 for the 2000 model year.
Unlike the E36 M3 it was not available as a saloon, with body style choices being limited to coupé and convertible.
To address criticism regarding the E36 M3's strong design similarity to regular 3 Series models, it was designed with many unique styling elements such as flared fenders, side vents, a domed aluminium hood, and two double exhaust pipes.
The E46 received a 3.2 litre straight-six engine with a more linear powerband than its predecessor that redlines at 8000 rpm. Other major technical additions include a special limited-slip differential capable of sending 100% of torque to one wheel and floating brake calipers.
The E46 was the last M3 to have a unified chassis code throughout all models, and was replaced by the E92 in 2007.
The E46 M3 features strong acceleration off-the-line as seen from its 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4,7 seconds. Its top speed is 174 mph (280 km/h).
In terms of handling it is equally impressive due to a stock 50/50 weight distribution, although it will be affected by its high weight under hard cornering.
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