As cars become more digitized by brimming with tech, some of us past a certain age are beginning to long for the good ol’ analog days. This is one of the reasons why BMW M3s from the E46 era are gradually becoming more expensive. It won’t be too long until the price of a non-CSL example will hit six digits considering a 2003 M3 with a six-speed manual gearbox and 16,100 miles (25,910 kilometers) was sold on Bring A Trailer for $90,000 a couple of years ago.
However, those who are brave enough can buy a neglected, high-mileage vehicle for only a fraction of the price. YouTuber Tavarish did just that by purchasing a 2005 example for just $6,000, thus making it one of the cheapest M3 E46s money can buy. It goes without saying the car is not exactly in great condition while its history is a bit rough given it’s a theft-recovered vehicle with 200,000 miles (over 320,000 kilometers) on the clock.
With the exception of the roof, the whole car has been repainted and whoever was responsible didn’t do a good job since there are imperfections just about everywhere. The rear wheel arches are showing signs of rust, but overall, the body could’ve looked a lot worse given how much money he paid for the car.
While the car was originally ordered with the optional SMG, the previous owners decided to convert it to a six-speed manual. Although the engine starts and runs, driving the car is quite tricky because of the awful conversion to a manual since finding the right gear on the first try appears to be borderline impossible.
It’s not all bad taking into account the 3.2-liter engine is still going strong, and while it may not produce the 338 horsepower advertised by BMW back in the day, this M3 E46 remains properly fast. On the flip side, the straight-six S54 is leaking oil and there are some serious vibrations felt through the cabin that definitely need to be addressed.
At the end of the day, paying $6,000 for the car is not too bad, especially since it came with some spare parts inside the cabin and the trunk. Tavarish will subject the M3 E46 to a complete mechanical overhaul, so we’ll be seeing more of the sports coupe in the future.