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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BIMMERPOST Universal Forums > General BMW News and Cars Discussion > E39 or E46 -- which do you prefer??



View Poll Results: So...which is it?
E46 M3 49 71.01%
E39 M5 20 28.99%
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      05-21-2011, 01:03 AM   #1
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E39 or E46 -- which do you prefer??

Bit of an off-topic but I'm interested to hear some opinions, especially from those who have owned either.

E46 M3 or E39 M5 -- which do you prefer and why?

They're obviosuly very different cars, but both have a long list of positive attributes. Both can be had in clean, (relatively) low-mileage form for low to mid 20s (granted a 2-3 year age difference), and as far as I've come to learn, the running costs aren't very different either. I'm in love with the e39's rear, but the e46 side profile is just as sexy. Then you've got that amazing V8 vs. sharper handling. So much to love in each car.

I'd like to think that owning either and keeping it properly maintained is a much more exciting way to spend $25k than on a 335. I almost bought an e36 m3 instead of my 330 and will definitely own a pre- E9X/E6X M car sometime in the future; hopefully sooner than later.






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      05-21-2011, 03:38 AM   #2
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I think M3 is something you can live with every day and if you don't care for 2 doors it's a fine choice. BUT M5? You gotta have deep pockets for those things. It's a cool car but I would be terrified to pay own money for this thing when it's 10 years old and probably been abused like hell in germany and who knows where.
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      05-21-2011, 08:36 AM   #3
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Given the choice between the two I'd get the E46 M3 but could be happy with either. Both are great cars.
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      05-21-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
I think M3 is something you can live with every day and if you don't care for 2 doors it's a fine choice. BUT M5? You gotta have deep pockets for those things. It's a cool car but I would be terrified to pay own money for this thing when it's 10 years old and probably been abused like hell in germany and who knows where.
I think given the cost and popularity, the M3 is the one most likely to be abused. Granted, there are enough M3s to make up for the difference since they're so common. A proper search will give a lower-mileage car with one or two elderly owners at reasonable cost.

As for maintenance of an 8-10 year old car, my theory is that over a few years, everything non-metal (short of the interior) should be replaced. About 2-3k a year if done yourself. I think one could get away with only basic maintenance of the 3 for a few years, but I don't think it's a good idea to let things break/wear first with cars such as this. As I see it, owning either is a full-time hobby.

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      05-21-2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
I think M3 is something you can live with every day and if you don't care for 2 doors it's a fine choice. BUT M5? You gotta have deep pockets for those things. It's a cool car but I would be terrified to pay own money for this thing when it's 10 years old and probably been abused like hell in germany and who knows where.
Given the M5's older purchasing demographic, I'd bet they see a lot less abuse than an M3 that's the same age.
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      05-22-2011, 03:34 AM   #6
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Everytime I see an E46 M3 it's driven by some showoff cutting through traffic. When I see an E39 M5 I usually take a longer look. Along with the E38 740i Sport, that generation of BMW styling was my favourite.
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      05-22-2011, 01:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown View Post
Given the M5's older purchasing demographic, I'd bet they see a lot less abuse than an M3 that's the same age.
This, the m5 is the official business owner/I'm a dad but I'm still cool car. Much less likely to be abused.

That being said, I like the m touches on the e46, and that engine.
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      05-22-2011, 01:33 PM   #8
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The M5's have some rod bearing problems when they are revved a lot (over 6k)--- that has a tendency to let go and shoot through the block.

I'd rather have an M5 but you'd have to live with that risk.

I've got an e36 M3 at the moment and couldn't be happier with it. Wayyyyy more fun than the 335i in almost every single way... just such a better car all around if you prefer sport over luxury.
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      05-23-2011, 05:31 PM   #9
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Hmmm...still completely undecided. I may just wait for the better deal on either when I decide to buy. For plenty of reasons (I have almost no use of the rear seats/doors), the M3 is superior. I just wish it wasn't so damn common; I think the M5's rarity makes it more special. Also makes a better sound

Here's a short of the M5 (FF to 4:20 if you're impatient)

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      05-23-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
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Oh, gawd, e39 all day, everyday.
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god damn that car is nice. i would sell my girlfriend for it
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why dont you leave him a love note on the car -- with hearts and shit

lol - seriously tho -- I find notes on my car sometimes -- but it's NEVER from girls -- -- damm M3 is a ghey magnet
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      05-25-2011, 01:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
Hmmm...still completely undecided. I may just wait for the better deal on either when I decide to buy. For plenty of reasons (I have almost no use of the rear seats/doors), the M3 is superior. I just wish it wasn't so damn common; I think the M5's rarity makes it more special. Also makes a better sound

Here's a short of the M5 (FF to 4:20 if you're impatient)

One word:

AWESOME.
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      05-25-2011, 02:13 AM   #12
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The E46, no question.
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      05-25-2011, 04:08 PM   #13
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E39 M5
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      05-25-2011, 04:13 PM   #14
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E39 M5
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      05-26-2011, 12:19 AM   #15
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e39 M5 is one of my favorite cars of all time.

any day over an e46 m3.

hands down favorite sedan ever made.

god what a sound when they are uncorked.

s54 will never ever ever sound this good.

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      05-26-2011, 04:40 PM   #16
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I'd take the E39 over the E46.

I do really like the S54 engine though... just not the E46 chassis.... *hint* This may be a set-up for where my e36 will eventually be going...
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      05-26-2011, 04:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoosyJoos View Post
I'd take the E39 over the E46.

I do really like the S54 engine though... just not the E46 chassis.... *hint* This may be a set-up for where my e36 will eventually be going...
that would be a good good setup, its been done before so you wouldnt have to reinvent the wheel.
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      05-26-2011, 07:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sniz View Post
that would be a good good setup, its been done before so you wouldnt have to reinvent the wheel.
Ya, I've read up on it a bit but I'd need a promotion first haha. It'd be much cheaper to throw an LS1 in but that just doesn't seem right. I'd rather not go boost since it's primarily a track car and it's just another few parts to go wrong which adds to the cost exponentially.

Had my first track day at Nashville Super Speedway and couldnt believe how easy this car is to drive though. I'm somewhat of a beginner but got signed off for solo and was running down M5's (it was a short technical course aside from the high banks).
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      05-26-2011, 09:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoosyJoos View Post
I'd take the E39 over the E46.

I do really like the S54 engine though... just not the E46 chassis.... *hint* This may be a set-up for where my e36 will eventually be going...
Sounds delicious. With an HPF turbo I don't think it can get much better...

I'd love an e36 but don't want to consider that old a car as a DD, reliable as they are. Great weekend/track car imo. Good friend's father is holding on to his; he's got 23k miles on it and has used it daily for the past 10+ yrs, works 2 miles away. Gorgeous car.

Z4M also under consideration, would probably prefer it to the M3, just not a big fan of the looks.
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      05-26-2011, 10:00 PM   #20
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Both are great cars. I'll take the E39, I just love the idea of a sensual V8, excellent handling dynamics, and a badass stance in a mid-size sedan. One of my favorite cars of all time.
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      05-26-2011, 11:14 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakev724 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoosyJoos View Post
I'd take the E39 over the E46.

I do really like the S54 engine though... just not the E46 chassis.... *hint* This may be a set-up for where my e36 will eventually be going...
Sounds delicious. With an HPF turbo I don't think it can get much better...

I'd love an e36 but don't want to consider that old a car as a DD, reliable as they are. Great weekend/track car imo. Good friend's father is holding on to his; he's got 23k miles on it and has used it daily for the past 10 yrs, works 2 miles away. Gorgeous car.

Z4M also under consideration, would probably prefer it to the M3, just not a big fan of the looks.
The Z4 M coupe sucks as a daily driver. It would beat you up... I'm 22 so I don't mind rough rides but the M coupe is hard to live with. My father has one which is 95% a track car... It just passed 10,000 miles. Excellent track car, excellent weekend car but no place as a daily.
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      05-27-2011, 01:34 PM   #22
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For an M3, I'd take the e46 probably..not sure why, i've just always loved how they look!
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