BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > e92 335i vs e46 m3

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      08-25-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
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e92 335i vs e46 m3

Hi there, I currently have an e92 335i but lately have been considering getting an e46 m3 instead. Would anyone else consider doing this or would the 335 be a better choice overall? I haven't driven one yet though so I wouldn't know how they compare, also how is the 6MT compared to the SMG? Would it be best to stick with the manual?
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      08-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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I love my E92 335i, I have almost unlimited mods for this vehicle all at the press of a button. JIMO
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      08-25-2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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No Id stay with the 335i
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      08-25-2013, 11:20 PM   #4
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My personal preference would be the e46 M3... it's always been one of my favorite body styles. ONLY in 6MT. SMG is terrible from what I hear.
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      08-25-2013, 11:23 PM   #5
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In the end, just choose what pleases you. They are both beautiful cars to drive.

btw if your switching over to a e46, let me know if your selling parts LOL
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      08-25-2013, 11:33 PM   #6
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I've owned both. Very different cars.

The E46 M3 is a better driver's car. Better handling, more connected to the road. The limited slip differential alone makes a huge difference. Putting a LSD and doing some suspension mods to the 335 could remedy this though. If you go with the M3 i would definitely go 6MT. I had it in mine and it was great, felt much more involved in the driving process than paddle shifters.

The 335 is a better modding car, no question. The power these engines can make with a few cheap mods is crazy. Having a FBO 335 i think it would be hard to go back to the e46 m3 just because of the lack of straight line speed. Thats true of just about any forced induction engine vs N/A engine comparison. The N/A engine just kindof is what it is. The turbo engine has a lot more potential than it comes with from the factory.

My bottom line.
If you're staying stock: E46 M3
If you're modding: 335i
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      08-25-2013, 11:49 PM   #7
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Do. Not. Buy. An. SMG. Huge gamble in terms of a major expensive component on an otherwise fairly reliable car. Here, don't take my word for it.

Also, the 6 mt is smoother at low speeds than the SMG. I've heard that its not gonna feel much faster than a 335i and I believe it's about the same in the quarter mile stock. Much more visceral car though. I've always wanted one. They still look great.
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      08-26-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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Either way you can't go wrong. But if you do go with the M3 then stay away from the SMG.
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      08-26-2013, 09:53 AM   #9
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Most of the E46 M3's you'll find for sale are SMG. E46 M3 6MT's are much harder to find. People don't seem to want to part with them.

This is from an article I wrote for an upcoming issue "The Whispering Bomb" (BMWCCA-LA magazine):

I compared the tested performance of the 335i to the E46 M3. It was a near match in all categories. Road and Track tested it as just 0.2 seconds slower than the E46 M3 in the 1/4 mile sprint, and just 0.01g less on the skidpad. But it delivered better fuel economy: 17/26 city/highway for the 335i versus 14/22 for the E46 M3 (both with six speed manual).
The performance drawbacks of the 335i are

Lack of limited slip differential
Soft bushings in suspension (to make it tolerable with run-flat tires)
Small diameter rear sway bar (so drivers inexperienced with 300 HP RWD car won't spin out and crash)

All of the above can be corrected but cost $$$ especially the LSD mod.

Also - regarding 335i don't buy the car salesman B.S. that the automatic (a conventional torque converter auto) is faster because "manual looses boost while shifting" etc. I've conclusively debunked these myths on this forum and offered proof of my claims.

The ZF 6AT in the 335i is a good auto trans and much better than the Delphi (GM) auto trans in the 328i's, but it is not faster than the 6MT.

Regardless a lot of people on here will continue claiming 6AT is faster. I think it's because 6MT E9x are so hard to find and people want to justify settling -or- they can't drive manual and want to hate on it.

Only DCT is faster than 6MT, and then only 0.1 sec faster 0-60.

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Last edited by NoTempoLimitN54; 08-26-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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      08-26-2013, 11:56 AM   #10
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Big fan of the e46 M3, it will always be more special than a 335i.
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      08-26-2013, 12:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by NoTempoLimitN54 View Post
Regardless a lot of people on here will continue claiming 6AT is faster. I think it's because 6MT E9x are so hard to find and people want to justify settling -or- they can't drive manual and want to hate on it.
oh, I thought it was because the automatics have a different (shorter) differential gear. I never did that math to see what the overall combined ratios for each transmission was tho.
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      08-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #12
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I've had both and I would say that the e46 m3 is more of a drivers car. The high strung 6 in the m3 is a brilliant motor, the car is basically more performance orientated. The 335i is a better daily driver, it sacrifices a lil performance for a smoother and quiter drive.
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      08-26-2013, 12:34 PM   #13
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e46 m3 then HPF turbo...?

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      08-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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I own both. My 335i is stock while my e46 m3 is blown making nearly 500whp (Had it since stock though). Here's a quick and dirty rundown of what I think of both:

Which car would I take out on the weekends or a nice day: M3
Which car would I prefer to take to work and run errands in: 335

If I had to choose 1 car? M3 hands down.

The 335 is a GREAT commuter car. I love just being able to change lanes or get the jump on people without having to downshift. BUT, the 335 lacks....excitement. The motor is great and all but it doesn't excite me at all. Sure, you can go FBO but it's still numb. The M3 on the other hand is a completely different beast. Every time you need to get moving at all, you need to wind the motor up. It's a very engaging and rewarding experience. I've had people with bolt on 335s ride in my car and they've all loved the way the S54 works its magic. 500whp at 8k rpms is a hell of an experience
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      08-26-2013, 02:31 PM   #15
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2009 BMW 335i  [4.67]
if you dont mind outdated E46 interior and big steering wheel than go for it
People upgrade not downgrade
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      08-26-2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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My previous vehicle was E46 M3.
I remember when I upgraded from 350z to Jeep wrangler and to M3.. M3 felt so fast..
but something about e46 M3.. It was the hottest car when I was in high school.. but then again, that was back in 2004.. E46 M3 still carries soul.. but interior and design is just getting old.. I went into the dealership and bought my E92 335i same day when My M3 started to breaking down.. from alternator, starter, battery and I was scared to death for subframe issues too.. car was fast but it's about same as 335i.. I think my 335i felt faster but M3 is def sportier.. I miss my engine sound.. but at the end.. car is just too old.. old fashioned.. unless you can get low mileage car, you will hardly find m3 with good interior.. do I miss it? yes I do.. will I go back? no.. I would only get e92 M3.. but with that money, I would rather get used Z06.
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