The BMW M3 E46 is a part of the BMW 3 Series lineup and is the fourth generation of the M3 series. It is powered by a 3.2-litre inline-6 engine, known as the S54B32 engine that produces 343 horsepower. It comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, while an optional 6-speed SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) is also available. The BMW E46 is highly regarded among enthusiasts and is often considered one of the best generations of the M3 series due to its balanced performance, raw driving experience, and classic design.
BMW M3 E46 Summary
343 hp @ 7,900 rpm
365 Nm @ 4,900 rpm
BMW M3 E46 Price in India & Variants
BMW M3 E46 Coupe
Rs 51.75 Lakh
BMW M3 E46 Cabrio
Rs 60.89 Lakh
BMW M3 E46 Images
BMW M3 E46 Colours
Pros & Cons
Equipped with a high-revving inline-6 engine with an impressive power output
Well-tuned chassis and suspension provide excellent handling and stability
A driver-focused interior with a sporty ambience
It has an iconic timeless design that looks sporty and aggressive
Given its high-performance nature, it is not fuel efficient
It carries a premium price tag
MotoTech India Expert Ratings
Design & Styling
Our Take on the BMW M3 E46
The BMW E46 offers an exhilarating and engaging driving experience. Its powerful naturally-aspirated inline-6 engine provides instant throttle response and linear power delivery. While it’s a bit older now, the E46’s performance capabilities still hold up well against modern sports cars. It features a driver-focused interior with supportive sports seats, a sporty steering wheel, and M badging, creating an immersive driving environment. The BMW M3 E46 has achieved an iconic status over the years and it is one of the most celebrated models from the brand’s 3 Series lineup.
The BMW M3 E46 has a classic and timeless design that continues to turn heads today. Its aggressive styling, wider fenders, and M-specific touches give it a distinctive and appealing look. Its chassis is constructed using a combination of high-strength steel, aluminium, and composite materials to achieve a balance of rigidity and weight savings. The suspension setup on the BMW M3 E46 is designed and tuned to provide excellent handling characteristics while maintaining ride comfort. It is equipped with an independent MacPherson strut suspension at the front and a multi-link suspension with coil springs at the rear. For braking, the BMW E46 utilizes large ventilated disc brakes like the Audi S3 that help dissipate heat generated during hard braking.
It is powered by a naturally-aspirated, high-revving, inline-6-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3.2 litres. The BMW M3 E46 makes 343 horsepower at 7,900 rpm and 365 Nm torque at 4,900 rpm. Its engine features double-VANOS variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts, enhancing power delivery across the rev range. It comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission as standard that offers precise and direct shifting. BMW also offers this sports car with a 6-speed sequential manual gearbox that provides automated shifting with the convenience of paddle shifters for manual control. The BMW M3 E46 has a top speed of 250 km/h and it can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds.
BMW M3 E46 Price in India
BMW M3 E46 was not launched in the Indian market, it was mostly sold in the western countries. Had it been introduced in India during its worldwide debut from 2000 to 2006, the price of the BMW M3 E46 could have ranged between 51.75 to 60.89 Lakh.
BMW M3 E46 Competitors
The BMW M3 E46 faced competition from several other high-performance sports cars and sports sedans during its production run between 2000 to 2006. Its major competitors are Audi S4, Cadillac CTS-V, Porsche Cayman S, and Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG.
Verdict: Is the BMW M3 E46 a Good Car?
The BMW E46 design, with its flared wheel arches, aggressive front bumper, quad exhaust tips, and other M-specific accents, has become iconic and is often considered one of the best-looking M3 models. Its powerful 6-cylinder engine delivers exceptional power and torque. Its sports-tuned suspension along with a rear-wheel drivetrain provides an engaging and dynamic driving experience, especially around the corners. The BMW M3 E46 also offers an impressive boot space and comes with a comfortable interior with seating for 5 people, making it a practical choice for daily use.
BMW M3 E46 Top Features
Straight 6-cylinder S54B32 petrol engine
Double VANOS system
6-Speed sequential manual transmission
Limited slip differential
Coil spring suspensions with anti-roll bar
Ventilated front and rear disc brakes
Brake assist and anti-lock braking system
Brake pad wear indicator
Automatic stability control with traction control
Cornering brake control
Quad exhaust tips
Supportive sports seats for driver and front passenger
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Central locking system
Double-spoke alloy wheels
BMW M3 E46 Specifications
Engine & Gearbox
S54B32, 6-cylinder, naturally-aspirated, 24-valve
No. of Cylinders
Valves Per Cylinder
Rear wheel drive
Performance, Mileage, & Top Speed
343 hp @ 7,900 rpm
365 Nm @ 4,900 rpm
Suspension, Brakes, & Wheels
Rack-and-pinion hydraulic steering
Independent MacPherson strut with coil spring & anti-roll bar
Multi-link suspension with coil spring & anti-roll bar
Dual-spoke alloy wheels
Front Wheel Size
Rear Wheel Size
Front Tyre Size
Rear Tyre Size
Dimensions & Capacities
Fuel Tank Capacity
No. of Doors
Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
Blacked out with chrome inserts
Analogue-digital instrument cluster
Automatic Climate Control
Front windows only
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
Traction Control System
Electronic Stability Control
Seat Belt Warning
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Rear Vision Camera
Comfort & Convenience Features
Adjustable Driver’s Seat
Adjustable Front Passenger Seat
Push Button Start
BMW M3 E46 FAQs
What is the top speed of the BMW M3 E46?
The BMW M3 E46 has an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
What is the seating capacity of the BMW M3 E46?
It offers seating for up to 5 people inside its comfortable and roomy cabin.