For the past year, I have been casually looking around for an E46 M3. The seed was first planted with a Want to Buy ad on the M3Forums. My requirements were strict and my intent vacillated as the months went by. I came to realize that finding the absolute exact car I was looking for may not have been feasible.

I inevitably relinquished to a more realistic approach and added more flexibility to my criteria. Suddenly, I shifted from interested to serious when I returned the Mitsubishi Evo X I was leasing. A year of searching with dozens of dead ends eventually led me to an obscure, bare-minimum ad on AutoTrader for a 2004 M3 with Vorsteiner CSL goodies.

The seller had a very selective tone about him and the sale almost fell through. I guess he had the initial impression that I was some kid just looking for a good deal. By one way or another, I ended up showing him my RX-7 to give myself more credibility. Interestingly enough, the deal was resurrected and on track after that. The seller was particular in nature and I could tell he really treasured the car. He only drove it a few thousand miles and garaged the remainder of the past 8 or so years of his ownership.

Since the car was located in Southern California, I coordinated the pickup around my Coachella 2015 trip. This was my first time going to Coachella and I arrived WAY too early on the first day. It was too hot, the sets were mediocre, and it was too hot.

coachellahot

Go in the evenings.

coachellawheel

saharatent

coachella

It was a cool experience but an exhausting one. I’m still debating if it’s worth going back to the next year.

Back on topic – I eventually met up with the seller and picked up the car.

bmwm3

cinnamoninterior

cslrearm3

bmwm3

On top of the Vorsteiner CSL aero bits, the car came with a few other essential mods. A touch under 40k miles, Jet Black exterior, Cinnamon Brown interior, and SMG (more on this one later).

Out of all the cars available, there is a reason why I chose a 10 year old BMW. Just like the RX-7, the E46 M3 is another car that I gravitated back towards after trying it once. My dad owned one many years ago and I still remembered the way it drove. When I owned the 135i, I always noted to myself that I thought the M3 was still a better car.

I think that the E46 M3 will be one of the last of the “analog” BMWs. Plus, the S54 is a glorious engine. BMWs hit the right formula with naturally aspirated Inline-6s. I also wanted a car with better build quality. I hated the Evo X because of how unbelievably CHEAP it felt. The dash was literally a sheet of plastic. The first step in determining a car’s build quality is to feel how well the doors open and close. The M3’s doors shut convincingly, substantiating the superiority of German engineering.

3 thoughts on “2004 BMW M3

      1. For the convenience and that I thought it paired well with the E46. But ultimately, I didn’t like it. Needs to be manual all the way.

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