Is BMW E46 a good car?

Is BMW E46 a good car?

The BMW E46 is one of the bestselling BMW series of all time. During its time, BMW sold over 3 million cars. The E46 is elegant, powerful, fun to drive, comfortable, and fast. But is the BMW E46 a good car?

Of course, yes! The BMW E46 is one of the best BMW coupes ever made. This compact car featured different engines that fared well at that time. What’s more, it was comfortable, advanced, luxurious, and easy to handle. Nonetheless, it also has some issues like every other car.

However, this car may not be appealing to people looking for a reliable, low-maintenance, and efficient car. Overall, it’s still a nice car with a great history. 

History of the BMW E46

The BMW E46 was produced by BMW between 1997 and 2006. It is a compact executive car and the fourth generation of the BMW 3-Series. BMW sold the E46 in different body styles, including sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon, and hatchback. It also had a performance variant, the M3, which was introduced in 2000.

BMW utilized different engines in this series, but most of the engines were reliable and performed exceptionally well. On top of that, the manufacturer offered rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive layouts. So, users had different options to choose from. 

Features of the BMW E46


The BMW E46 is one of the best-looking cars of its generation. It is beautifully designed with an agile and luxurious look. It also comes with a high-end and modern interior that many BMW enthusiasts fell in love with. Other notable features include a driver-oriented appeal, high-end technology, and an all-wheel drivetrain.

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Despite being an old car with more than 16 years since the last E46 was produced, this car still performs exceptionally well. Depending on the E46 model you select, you will get different results as they are fitted with different engines. Nonetheless, the 2006 model year is one of the best performing BMW E46 models.

The 2006 BMW E46 330i was fitted with a 3.0-liter M54B30 inline-6 engine that delivered a maximum of 235 hp and 222 lb-ft of torque. It also has a top speed of 155 mph and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds.

Comfort and cargo space

Since the BMW E46 comes with different body style options, some may find some cars to be more comfortable than others. The E46 sedan, station wagon, and hatchback are very comfortable and spacious. They also offer ample cargo space, making them very practical.

On the contrary, the BMW E46 coupe and convertible are not as spacious or with a large cargo area as the other three body styles.


BMW has always made safety a priority in its cars. So, whether the BMW model you intend to acquire is an old or new model, expect top-notch safety features. That’s what the BMW E46 offers. It has excellent safety features such as emergency braking assist, stability control, traction control, rear door child safety locks, tire pressure monitoring, and much more.

Fuel efficiency

BMW E46 isn’t an efficient car. This is a common problem among BMW models and most luxury cars. For instance, the 2006 BMW E46-series has an EPA rating of 18 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and a combined 21 mpg. So, expect to spend a lot more on fuel than most of its rivals.  

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The price of the BMW E46 varies according to different model years and the state the car is in. Well-maintained BMW E46s are much costlier than poorly maintained models. Basically, the price ranges from $3000 to 15000 plus. Besides, the prices are steadily going up as it becomes hard to find this model.


Is it worth investing in the BMW E46?

If you’re in search of a beautiful, fun-to-drive, and comfortable sports coupe with a great history, the BMW E46 is a great buy. But if you want a modern, more reliable, advanced, and faster sports coupe, this is not the car for you.

Does the BMW E46 hold its value?

In the early and late 2000s, the BMW E46 didn’t hold its value well. But recently, its value has been going up slowly as the car becomes iconic. So, as BMW E46 becomes hard to find, so does their value go up. Nonetheless, the E46 still remains one of the bestselling BMW sports cars ever.

How long does the BMW E46 last?

The BMW E46 will last according to how the owner takes care of the car. With proper care and maintenance, this iconic ride can last for more than 300,000 miles. But if it is not well cared for, it may have difficulty lasting over 150,000 miles. 

What are the common problems with BMW E46?

If you’re in the market for a quality used BMW E46, knowing some of the issues that you will come across along the way is vital. The BMW E46 has some common issues that users should be ready to deal with, such as drivetrain issues, fuel pump failures, PCV failure, lower arms & bushings issues, faulty rear subframe mounts, and failing cooling system, electric window issues, and transmission problems.

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Which BMW E46 engine is the best?

All the engines in the BMW E46 are excellent with minimal problems. Some of the engines that the E46 models come with are the 1.9-liter M43B19 inline-4 engine, 1.8-liter N42B18 inline-4 engine, and 2.0-liter M52TUB20 inline-6 engine, 2.5-liter M54B25 inline-6, and 3.2-liter S54B32 inline-6 engine.


The BMW E46 is a good car to own, more so, if you’re looking for an iconic BMW sports coupe with top-notch features and great performance. But like all cars, it also has a few issues that you should be aware of. Nonetheless, with proper care and maintenance, the issues shouldn’t be a bother.

Since it’s hard to find a BMW E46, their value is slowly going up and they are becoming iconic. The E46 will always be one of the best BMW cars ever made and it’s easy to see why most BMW enthusiasts love this model. Regardless, you should always get a used E46 in good condition with a great history to avoid running into serious issues.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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