Yeah, I know we all know what an E46 looks like, but just had mine cleaned and thought the results were pretty good. It's not had a proper 'detail' or anything like that but a thorough clean and polish/wax.
I think more to the point is that even though you may be forced into downgrading your motor it doesn't necessarily mean you need to completely slum it (too much) as long as you're patient and purchase wisely (that said I just dropped lucky with this one).
I honestly think this car is brilliant and ticks so many boxes; practical, economical, sounds great, comfortable, fairly rapid, still looks good (IMO). It's an 03 plate car which just past 74k on the clock yesterday. Don't really see myself changing it anytime soon (though am always on the look out; the Z4M really has challenged me though
...and yes that GT is pretty gastly