I present to you my manual E46 M3 coupe. It is a Silver Grey facelift with black leather, having covered just over 80k miles and is specced with everything but a sunroof and HK.
Brembo BBK (4 pot front and rear from a Porsche Cayman S)
KW V2 coilovers
CSL reps with hubcentric spacers
Autosolutions short shift kit
F10 M5 gearknob
Matt black kidneys & wing vents
Led interiors, reverse and number plate lamps
New rear tyres
Having owned a 325ci for the last 3 years, I knew I needed to own an M3 to truly experience what the E46 had to offer. With prices on the rise, roughly 18 months ago I decided to stay away from any serious mods on the 325 and save for an M3.
Around a month ago I went to view this fine example, after having seen it on eBay, and realising it was modified near enough precisely how I wanted it as far as the pricey options go. Paint colour, BBK and in the right colour, KW V2 coilovers, CSL reps with spacers and a short shift kit.
After a quick chat with the owner, we arranged a visit and upon seeing it the car captivated me straight away. The paintwork was as near to perfect as you could hope for and the interior was immaculate. It took a very short period of time to find out that I was in the presence of a fellow enthusiast. Within the week it was paid for and graciously delivered in a couple of days.
By the weekend I was desperate to take it out for a drive, so once I'd made a start with my essential upgrades to the interior bulbs and reverse lights to LED's, I gave it a good wash and polished the exhaust tips with some wire wool before putting some gel plates on and going out to see a couple of friends where I was showered with compliments on finding such a pristine example.
I was keen to get the bluetooth working as Aaron had included the old connectivity tray, so once I'd ripped apart the boot to find the code, I got it working but it turns out it's only for call audio and I just wanted it for media, so the cup holder returns. Following this I removed the faded M3 badge on the back as well as the shark fin and plugged up the hole under the bootlid with a spare rubber grommet. I made sure to order plenty of clips as I knew I'd make use of them somewhere.
Next I removed the inner rear lights and attempted a refurb to see if I could bring them back to their former glory since they were looking a bit tired. They came out better but I will need to redo them more thoughly to get an acceptable finish as they were pretty far gone. However I have ordered some Lamin-X 6% tint to spruce it up for now and see how I like it.
Then it was time for serious business, a full service commenced using Castrol Edge 10w-60, all Bosch filters with NGK R plugs, as well as my first look at the underside. What immediately struck my eye was how badly worn the rears were on the inside, so I ordered up some 255's in Pilot Sport 4 S to match the fronts. The underside was in decent shape, forgiving a small power steering leak and some corrosion around the subframe mounts, which I will be having reinforced in the near future.
From every time I had been in it, I knew the rear had to come up to stop the tyres rubbing under acceleration but once on the ramp it didn't pose any issues. With the wheels in the air I noticed that the handbrake was binding, and while investigating, found that the amount of hammering required to get the spacers off (in order to gain sufficient screwdriver wiggle room) ended up freeing them up anyway, so only a small adjustment was required.
I had always enjoyed the Harman Kardon in my 325, despite many claims that it was rubbish. Now living without it I can see a big difference. I toyed with the idea of new speakers, then settled on a new head unit as a good starting point for an audio upgrade but have never liked how aftermarket units looked. The only unit I would consider would be a Parrot Asteroid Smart but given the price and how dated they look nowadays, I decided to work on my own solution.
I am still waiting on parts and have to trial fit it and make it look clean, but you get the idea...
Soon I shall be fitting my retrimmed steering wheel from Royals and to get it out of the way I have booked in at my local main dealer for the airbag recall. While there I shall be purchasing a load of new parts.
In the following months I will slowly be ticking off gloss black grilles & vents and a CSL diffuser and complimentary full carbon fibre interior trim. The rear window seal has split so I will be rectifying this and upgrading to matching gloss black trims at the same time.
I will then move on to subframe reinforcement and working my way through Powerflex bushes and new ARB's, valve adjusting, sorting out the cooling system and any other preventative maintainence. I may even get myself an exhaust system to cap it all off. I am going around Wales in the middle of June with a couple of friends, one of whom is the photographer for the first couple of shots, so will have plenty of content then.
Thanks for reading 🙏