I have come to a point in my relationship with this lovely little BMW when there is nothing more to write about. So much has been documented about the E46 M3 in general that I feel I can’t possibly add any more insights into the ownership experience in my updates on Auto Journals.
To make the best of this swan song I thought it is appropriate to reflect back and recall some of my most pivotal and memorable moments with this car.
1. Best modification. I spent a lot pondering and money on mods and although you think they are improving your car we all know that’s rubbish. Especially a standard M3 is a very accomplished machine and quite difficult and expensive to make it go faster. Some mods work better than others but I would say that the MK carbon intake and the Bilstein suspension are right there near the top. However the big break set from Movit (ironically now bankrupt) is the clear winner. The relentless stopping power available hour after hour of track driving is something else. Just keep feeding these monster discs fresh pads – I usually use a front set every second or third track day.
2. Best drive. This is a very tough call to make for the collection of memorable drives is huge. My pick is my first long distance trip to Winterberg, Germany back in 2009. The combination of being excited with your new purchase, B roads and autobahn blasting back and fro is unbeatable.
3. Best track day. Spa, Zandvoort and the Nordschleife are my personal favorites. I’d take a trackday on each of these circuits any day but if I have to choose the Ring comes first. Last fall I set a personal best of 8:30 full lap, but I confess there was a professional instructor next to me (which really is the best investment you can make). To get a lap on the Ring right is one of the great motoring pleasures.
4. Most embarrassing moment. Spinning out on the back straight of Assen’s TT circuit and being towed into a crowded pits comes to mind, but last month’s breakdown on the Ring (due to a failed alternator) easily tops it. To have your car paraded out of Parkplatz on top of a recovery truck is a proper red face affair.
There are numerous more tales to share, lists to make, but when reading back previous A-J updates most highs and lows are covered.
So what’s next? I am still having stuff done to the car. New Cobra leather bucket seats have been installed and I intend to have the CSL wheels refurbished and coated.
As the Beemer shortly sails through the psychological 100,000KM barrier I sense our time together is nearly done. It has been a great couple of years owning and playing with this car. BMW is moving towards turbocharged M cars, so while you can, enjoy these natural aspirated motor cars – they really are icons.