Saying this might cause E46 lovers and BMW fans alike to hate me. They might think I’m crazy and that I have no credibility; but for my purposes, I mean exactly what I just said. I am way happier driving an E92 335i over an E46 M3 for daily duties.
I bought my imola red E46 M3 in May of 2017, and I enjoyed it for a few months. It was incredibly fast, handled extremely well, and had beautiful and timeless good looks. I love the E46 M3 as a driver’s car. On weekends driving up north to my mom’s house in Camano Island, I had a great time. It handled curvy roads with absolute certainty and the S54B32 straight six was a beautiful engine to rev out. However, on a daily basis, the car was just too stiff for my liking. I live in Washington State and many of our roads are beat up, and potholes run rampant. Good, well paved roads are hard to find, and when paired with a short wheel-based E46 M3 with stiff Bilstein dampers and Eibach lowering springs, I was always less than happy with the ride quality. M3 owners even complain of stiff riding springs and shocks even on stock examples. My girlfriend hated how stiff the car was as well. And you guys know the saying, happy wife, happy life. A car that handles as well as the M3 comes with it’s tradeoffs, and I wish I could own it only as a weekend/track car. It started to wear on me.
So I put the M3 up on craigslist for sale/trade. I got many interesting offers (mostly crap) such as a Z06 Corvette with a rebuilt title, a rebuilt title WRX, an E36 M3, and even a ten year old motorcycle that the guy wanted to trade straight up for my car. (Really dude?) A month or so went by and nothing peaked my interest and very few people were willing to pay what I wanted for the car. It had the subframe welded with reinforcement plates, and I had done the rod bearings in the last 3000 miles. I got a lot of $11,000 offers, but I wouldn’t accept anything lower than $13,000. You know how craigslist goes. People think their things are worth way more than they are and they think your things are worth way less. Such a back-asswards place.
Then, one day, a guy contacted me with an interesting trade. He had a 2008 space grey E92 335i with a saddle brown leather interior, comfort package, sport package, and the upgraded Logic 7 sound system from the factory. It had 95k miles, and an automatic transmission with paddle shifters (I’ve wanted a car with these for awhile as I have owned both automatics and manuals but never the best of both worlds). It peaked my interest, and so I decided I would meet him. Here is a build sheet of the car per BMWvin.com
S1CAA Selection of COP relevant vehicles
S205A Automatic transmission
S249A Multifunction f steering wheel
S2C6A BMW LA wheel, star spoke 189
S2VBA Tire pressure display
S2XAA Sport steering wheel with shift paddles
S319A Integrated universal remote control
S403A Glass roof, electrical
S430A Interior/outside mirror with auto dip
S431A Interior mirror with automatic-dip
S441A Smoker package
S459A Seat adjuster, electric, with memory
S481A Sports seat
S488A Lumbar support, driver and passenger
S4ABA Fine wood trim burr walnut
S4NAA Interior mirror with digital compass
S520A Fog lights
S521A Rain sensor
S522A Xenon Light
S524A Adaptive Headlights
S534A Automatic air conditioning
S544A Cruise control with brake function
S563A Light package
S5GAA Preparation alarm system
S639A Preparation f mobile phone cpl. USA/CDN
S645A BMW US Radio
S663A Radio BMW Professional
S677A HiFi System Professional DSP
S693A Preparation BMW satellite radio
S694A Provisions for BMW 6 CD changer
S704A M Sports suspension
S818A Battery master switch
S823A Hot-climate version
S840A High speed synchronisation
S845A Acoustic belt warning
S853A Language version English
S876A Radio frequency 315 MHz
S8SPA Control unit COP
S9AAA Outer skin protection
When I showed up, I was very pleasantly surprised. The car was gorgeous. It had perfect paint, no door dings ( I mean it!), and the interior looked almost as new, other than a couple common E90/92 issues such as bubbling door handles, and peeling steering wheel trim. The BMW hood roundel was ruined as the adhesive had let the emblem go, but as a BMW enthusiast, this sort of stuff doesn’t bother me, and in fact I like replacing things like this. I fell in love with the car, and the guy really liked my M3 as well. I mean, how could you not help but love an E46 M3? It’s like a puppy dog always wanting to play.
After test driving each-other’s cars, we signed the titles and went our separate ways. I have been living with the 335i for a couple weeks now and I love it as my daily car. It is smooth, quiet, just as fast as the M3, has better features such as automatic headlights and automatic wipers, and it’s way better on gas. (15.5 mpg in the M3 vs 22 mpg in the 335i). I have owned a few BMW’s up to this point, and the 335i is my favorite by far that I have driven. One day I would love to own another E46 M3 as a fun weekend car, but daily driving one is just too much.
I am completely smitten with the E92. Here are some pictures for you guys to enjoy. Pictures do not even do the car justice! I will be writing about this car a lot on this blog. I look forward to updating you guys about it!