07-22-12 - The E46 M3 Curse

I've been sort of half-assedly trying to buy an E46 M3 for the past few months (planning to then sell the Porsche), and it has become ridiculous how hard it is to find a decent one.

(aside : it's very hard for me to tell if this is actually a rational decision on my part; I've been working a lot trying to finally finish Oodle, and my brain gets into this weird state when I've been crunching a lot where I decide that I "need to do" something, and then only much later do I realize that it was only the mania of Work Mode that made me think I had to do that. Usually at some point during a big Work Mode marathon I'll decide that I need to buy a bunch of random things to "improve" some situation, like I'll go buy a bunch of AFCI breakers and replace the breakers in my panel, and at the time I "had to do that", and weeks later I'm like "WTF did I do that for?". In Work Mode everything becomes either a hassle that I don't want to deal with right now (such as "relaxing" or "socializing"; that shit is definitely priority level 3) or stuff that gets put on the todo list and just knocked out, even if it's actually super unimportant (eg. writing this blog post). Anyhoo.)

The problem is that E46 M3's around here seem to be cursed.

(That's aside from the very big curse that BMW themselves put on the car by making a rear subframe that literally rips right out of its attachment points in the folded sheet metal body) (and ignoring the major curse they put on the engine but fixed by recall). (this is way off topic, but folded sheet metal is one of the great fucking shitty garbage innovations of the last 20-30 years; it used to be that something like a heater grate or a metal toolbox was *cast*, now they're almost always folded, and folded metal fucking sucks balls, it's so much worse, it has weak points at the folds, it has sharp edges, it's ugly, it just reeks of cheapness, we've really gone way backwards on the quality of basic goods, but anyhoo).

So first of all, something like 75% or more of the M3's I see for sale are optioned in some retarded way that rules them out for me. Lots of them are fucking automatics; no thank you. Then a whole god damn mess of them are convertibles.

WTF is wrong with people who buy convertible sedans. If you want a fucking convertible, BMW makes a great one, and you can even get it with the same exact damn engine as the E46 M3, it's called an M Roadster and it's a perfectly good car. Don't take the roof off a sedan. A convertible M3 is in the same family as this :

(in the sense that they contribute to the ugliness of the modern world; concrete block walls, plant beds that are just fields of bark mulch, and convertibles that should never have been convertibles, all vomit-inducing).

Then you get all the bizarro interior colors; white leather, red leather, blue leather !? WTF are you thinking? You're not Liberace, no your "cinammon" interior does not look cool, you are not remotely pulling it off. Leather can only be black or brown unless you are a glam rocker or a stripper.

Okay, so now that we're reduced to the set of cars I could possibly buy - then the E46 M3 Curse takes over.

The Curse says that every E46 M3 around here is either wrecked, or has been "improved" by some suburban Wigger who has "dropped" or "blakt out" or "stanced" or "hella-flushed" the car, thereby ruining it.

It's kind of funny, so many have been wrecked; clearly RWD + Seattle rain is a great recipe for smashing up M3's. The ads just try to slip it in like it's no big deal. Most of them start with "great condition!" and end with "oh, BTW, it was totalled". For example (I haven't even been saving the most hilarious examples of these ads, these are just the ones that happen to be up today) :

2005 BMW M3 6 speed Coupe, Black with black leather interior. 62kmiles.
Heated drives seats, CD, AM/FM, Sun roof/moon roof, Air conditioning,
Automatic climate control, Alarm system, Memory drivers seat, Adjustble
power driver/passenger seats, Steering wheel mounted controls, Leather
steering wheel, Tilt steering wheel, Power mirrors, Traction control,
Cruise control, Rear defroster, Power windows, Keyless entry, clean
interior. I have more pics just text and ask for some, Salvaged title
Asking ...
Great car! Look at these options! (oh, BTW, it was totalled). At first when I saw an ad like this, I thought it was a rare weirdo who was trying to pass off a salvaged car at full price as if it was no big deal, but it's just every single one :
I am selling my 2006 BMW M3 E46 with competition package. It is
Interlagos Blue. 6 speed manual transmission. Navigation. 2 door coupe
hard top with sunroof. It is stock with 333 hp 3.2L inline 6. Leather
power seats and ipod hook up. The car has 80,000 miles on it. Just put
new brake pads on the rear. Just had the car fully detailed. Non smoker,
Premium Harman Kardon stereo. DVD based navigation. I'm selling the car
because I am getting married and need the money for the wedding. The car
has a salvaged title. It was rebuilt before I bought it in 2010. The
front right side of the car was where the damage was. Accident happened
before I bought it. Everything is fixed and works properly. I am asking
Great car! Oh by the way, totalled.

Up for sale is my m3. this car is in PERFECT condition. 6-speed manual.
there is NOTHING wrong with this car. TOO MUCH OPTIONS TO LIST. FULLY
LOADED. leather, power doorlocks, power windows, iphone/ipod USB cable..
there are NO dents or dings. there are NO tears in the seats. car has
72k. car does have a reconstructed title.
Perfect condition! Oh yeah, it was totalled.

So a totally insane percentage of the E46 M3's around here have been totalled.

And then the remainder are like this :

Which aside from meaning that I have to spend a bunch of money undoing their stupidity (putting the suspension and wheels and windows all back to stock), the aftermarket springs make the rear-subframe-rips-out-of-the-car problem much more likely, so you just can't buy these cars.

One of the things that has always slightly turned me off to E46 M3's has been the fact that they are so popular with the retarded douchebag crowd. Sadly the douchebags don't only ruin the image and mental association with a car, they also ruin the cars. So sad.

At least this d-bag (also posted recently to Seattle Craigslist) had the decency to go all the way :

I applaud you sir.


sylvain-v said...

> trying to buy an E46 M3 for the past few months
> (planning to then sell the Porsche) [...] every
> E46 M3 around here is either wrecked, or has
> been "improved" by some suburban Wigger

Are you trying to trade a 911 for something worse? Unless you're having kids or you like to have worse brakes, I'd respectfully advice again :)
You actually mention one of the reason yourself: 911 owners often respect their stock/origin cars, m3 owners often don't...

Tom Forsyth said...

Are you looking for a "pure" driver driver's car? Go find an E36. An E36 M3 might be asking a bit much since they're rather rare - but almost any E36 has a well-sorted chassis and gives fantastic feedback. I chucked a 1.6-litre around the track recently and it's a sweetheart.

Or are you looking for a 4-seat practical hoon-wagon, in which case just skip straight to the E90 M3. Sure, it completely abandons the idea of an M3 as a "highly tuned" 3-series, what with a completely different engine, etc. But it is a monster. And since it's a BMW you will still get people thinking you're an Olympic-class wanker.

By the way, there is a case where light tan leather upholstery is appropriate - in a Jag or Aston coupe painted British Racing Green. Then it's practically mandatory.

Alternatively stop fucking around with mediocrity and buy a Subaru and a Seven.

cbloom said...

Well, in any case I think I need to pause this pursuit until I ship and can clear my head a bit.

My ideal car is comfortable enough to drive 4+ hours to the country, but then lairy enough to tail-slide the corners of the mountain roads when I get there.

My current 911 is a compromise that just manages to fail on both accounts; it's not quite comfortable enough to drive long distances without sucking, and it's not responsive enough to be a really fun driver's car.

I am well aware that the compromise I desire may just be impossible; maybe I could get an SUV and strap a Seven to the roof.

Anyway, to be continued in a few months...

nothings said...

By the way, every time I see this subject I imagine you're talking about Doom episode 46, mission 3.

sylvain-v said...

If the 911 is not comfy enough, you might want to go after a car not exclusively sportive. Maybe a sport version of a sedan, or a smaller, slightly more civilized coupe. Also German cars are sometimes said to be too boring, not alive enough; maybe that's the feeling you get with yours?

More comfy while still quite sporty cars could be
- 1M, M3 (mostly old ones, the new ones got fattier),
- Audi RS* (probably too easy to drive, they're missiles on rail; also the rs3 doesn't have its crazy DKG gearbox in America, no 3.9s to reach 62mph in here),
- Mercedes CLK AMG (supposedly quite brutal, harder to control than its competitors),
- or some Japan coupe from the BRZ (good chassis, but not enough power?) to the crazy GT-R.


cbloom said...

@Sly - Yeah that's exactly the idea.

1M might be nice but they're too rare.

Audi - too boring; one thing I definitely want is a car that's looser, more nimble. Also I just hate the steering feel of Audis, very numb. Actually I really don't like much about modern Audis (the original Quattro cars look fun).

Also I want a car that has a very high ( "feels fast" / "is fast" ) ratio. (which Audis are terrible for). If I could drive the speed limit and feel like I'm speeding, that would be ideal. E90 M3 is a problem for this too, lots of overly-competent modern cars feel slow when they're going very fast.

The BRZ I think is a very exciting prospect but the 200 hp version available now is just too weak. There will be faster versions some year soon and I will definitely check them out.

sylvain-v said...

> If I could drive the speed limit and feel like I'm speeding, that would be ideal.

Hehe for this you need a kart-car - not necessarily fast but low and still fun - but that goes against the comfy thing: 7, mx5... Smart Coupe! Amazingly, this plastic-car is said to be very funny at legal speed. But I would not buy one, don't want a overpriced-plastic-toy car.

I see what you mean with Audis not telling anything about the drive: mine feels the same at 10 or over 100kmph - yet I do love it for the Quebec winter and for driving the whole family.

sylvain-v said...

I meant the "Smart Roadster", not the "City Coupe/Fortwo/whatever".

old rants