Regarded as one of the best M-coupes (and thus, best cars) BMW ever produced, the E46 chassis M3 is still a highly sought after car. Touting a robust naturally aspirated inline-six and a six-speed gearbox to match, this particular generation M3 became a milestone in BMW's lineup of modern M-cars, and a low mileage example of the car could easily fetch more than 60 percent of its original value, despite being 15-years-old. Recently a practically new M3 has popped up on Bring a Trailer with just 2,000 miles on the odometer, making it one of the lowest mileage E46 M3s still in existence.
BMW's long line of cars touting the iconic M-badge spans all the way back to 1978 when it introduced the E26 M1. The car, which marks the beginning of BMW's M-division was the result of a fallout between the German manufacturer and, of all companies, Lamborghini. After a successful run, BMW continues to create M-cars across its entire lineup four decades later. The 3-series received its first M-car in 1986 when the E30 M3 came to life. Its place in history is nothing to be contested, proving still to be one of the greatest examples of German motoring that money could buy. Over time, BMW began working on its next-generation platform to be released in 1992, the E36 and developed what feels like an entirely different car. North America got the short end of the stick when it came to the E36 M3, however, Europe saw a car with unfettered greatness.
With the release of the E46 chassis, BMW brought back a more modernly refined and powerful M3 in 2000. It wasn't a stripped down version of the European version like the E36, and it was a blast to drive. BMW stuffed a 3.2-liter inline-six engine into the bay and was able to crank out 333-horsepower with a 7.900 rpm redline, making it quite difficult to pick a better powertrain configuration. The coupe could sprint from a stop to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, making it the quickest M-car to date. Of course, those numbers are using BMW's sequential SMG II Drivelogic transmission, which is an overly complex faux-automatic (it didn't have a clutch pedal) that could drain your wallet if and when it had problems. Those who opted for a manual gearbox would sacrifice a few tenths of a second to have the thrill of rowing through six gears.
This particular coupe for sale is everything a BMW purist interested in an E46 M3 could want; a six-speed transmission, unaltered factory interior and exterior in fantastic condition, and super low mileage. The only thing that it could possibly be missing is the E46's signature paint, Laguna Seca Blue (though Jet Black looks superb on it). At the time of writing, the bids on the car amount to $30,500 with five days to go before the auction ends, not too far from the sticker price of $52,770. We've seen a few of these with more than 10,000 miles selling for more than $50,000 already, so it's quite possible that this owner will see quite a chunk of change.
Sadly, the numbers on the odometer also mean that the E46 M3 wasn't driven much. We would love to think that the 2,000 miles that it did see on the road were full of spirited drives along the countryside and involved eating up corners around twisty roads, but the fantastic condition that the car was in suggests otherwise. Whether the new owners choose to have a new garage queen or want to live life like it's 2002 again, this car will definitely be enjoyed.