2002 BMW M3 3.2L from North America


Built to drive


No real problems. Car stumbles a bit when cold.

General Comments:

Love the car. Always wanted one. I've driven BMW's all my life, but never owned an M. Still own a 97 328i. Vehicle takes a while to completely warm up, but she's an animal when when she does. Incredible handling. Extremely strong. All the magazine reviews are true.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2005

2002 BMW M3 3.2L from Qatar


A super-car without the super-car price


SMG developed a fault, perhaps due to the heat. It would force itself into neutral as the car was moving.

Rear roller-blind rubber strip keeps on coming loose despite repeated "fixes" by the dealer.

General Comments:

The E46 M3 is a wonderfully competent automobile. It will chase down Porsches and just as easily trundle quietly to the mall.

My car wears 19" Continentals making for a hard ride. I would have preferred Michelins. The harshness of the ride is forgivable considering it's built as a race car.

The SMG (Sequential M Gearbox) is the best I've ever used. It will change more smoothly and quickly than any human ever could. It also has an automatic mode. Actually there are 6 manual and 5 automatic modes getting progressively sportier in each.

Handling and road-holding are first-class.

The cabin is the usual BMW quality, the seats hug you to death.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th June, 2003

2002 BMW M3 CiC 3.2 liter inline six from North America


This car is worth every dime.


The key sometimes works the first time for unlocking the doors, and sometimes it takes a few tries.

The electric windows are sometimes one touch, and sometimes the button needs to be held down in order to put the window down. Nothing is consistent. However, this isn't the reason why you purchase a car such as the M3, so they've been minor annoyances at best.

General Comments:

This car is a serious performer. The speed is deceiving. At 80 mph, it feels like most cars at 55 mph, which is surprising given the small size of the vehicle.

This car is incredibly quick. It takes about 10 seconds to get it to 115 mph which feels like about 65 mph in this car. You could seriously get hurt in this vehicle.

This car gets a lot of attention, both on the road and off. I ordered it in Phoenix Yellow, and have had people follow me down the expressway, into a gas station, and ask if they could take pictures of it. Be prepared to get a lot of attention if you purchase one of these!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd October, 2002

15th Sep 2005, 22:42

0-115 mph in 10 seconds? Oh please! Unless it's highly modified it will hit 115 maybe in 15 sec. M3 is a great car, but hey, this is not a Viper!

2nd Aug 2006, 04:41

Go to your local locksmith and purchase some graphite spray. If you spray a small amount of this into your outside key port via the included tube, it should near-instantly solve The lock issue. I've had this problem on 2 BMW's that I've owned.

2002 BMW M3 3.2L I6 from North America


All around outstanding at almost everything


Nothing at all.

General Comments:

To make a long story short, I've always wanted basic transportation with a little "oomph" behind it. At the same time, I wanted something I wouldn't feel too bad about driving down a gravel road -- hence my previous car, a Subaru Impreza WRX.

And then my beloved little Soobie got stolen late one night. So, I decided I might as well get something worth stealing, and a little more in line with my income. I never drive on gravel roads anyway...

The grandaddy of all the hot coupes is the M3. If you read car magazines, you know how they all drool over any 3-series BMW, especially the M3. In my opinion, it's about as close to automotive perfection as you're going to get, at least by my standards.

It has perhaps a few too many gadgets for my taste. The navigation system works pretty well, but I've only used it to fiddle with it. Might come in handy at some point, I guess. Park Distance Control? Give me a break, I don't need radar on the rear bumper to park!

But, for the most part, all that technology works seamlessly and transparently. And most of it, with the exception of PDC, seems pretty useful. Traction control. stability control, all that good stuff that has filtered down from racing.

Speaking of which, I got the SMG II transmission. In short, SMG is a manual transmission operated by hydraulics and computers. There's an automatic mode with 5 different shift programs, and a manual mode with 6. In manual mode you shift by flicking paddles behind the wheel, just like F1 drivers.

SMG is a stunning application of technology. There's much more to it than I can go into here. I'd also like to add that SMG is a whole lot better than Ferrari's F1 system, which I have driven and opted against.

So, the big question here is "Do all these driving aid electronics and sequential transmissions take the fun out of driving?" Opinions vary, but most of them come from people without enough experience to judge one way or the other.

My feeling is that driving the M3 with SMG requires a different skill set than other cars. Not quite apples and oranges, but more red apples and yellow apples. The same, only different. Perfect heel-toe downshifts are very gratifying, but so is driving the M3. Albeit for different reasons.

OK, I've rambled on enough!

My general impressions of the M3 are very good. It'll drive you to the store to do all your shopping, take your friends out to dinner, road trip across the country all the normal car stuff. And it'll also lunch up on Corvettes, Porsches, et al. All in superb comfort and safety. Truly a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Running costs are about what you'd expect. Gas mileage is around 20 something most of the time, although the tank is the smallest I've ever encountered (16 gallons!). Insurance isn't too bad for a 27 year old female, although you younger guys might be in for a rude shock. Best of all, scheduled maintenance is free for the length of the warranty. All right!

All the magazines are right -- almost everything about this car is outstanding. Performance, utility, reliability, dealer service, looks, comfort, etc, etc... All outstanding.

The only gripes I have (and they're small ones) are with the exhaust not (a little raspy at high rpm's), the tiny gas tank, and the ride can be just a wee bit rough at times. Not a big deal in my book.

I'd probably be remiss in not mentioning the price. Yes, it's costly. Yes, you can get something faster for less. You can also get something roomier for less. You can get something more luxurious for less. Better mileage, better reliability, better looks, and more gadgets and gizmos can also be had for less. But, can you get something that has a high level of all of that for less? Quite probably not.

OK, now I've really rambled on long enough. I find it hard to put into words just how great I think this car is, at almost everything. Don't take my word for it, or anyone else's. Go grab yourself a test drive! And if you don't quite have the bucks for an M3, give any of the other 3-series a try.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2002

19th Mar 2005, 00:42

A woman with an m3? and she knows what she is talking about!.. I think I'm in love and have gone to automotive heaven!!!

30th Nov 2009, 20:09

I'm glad you love the car, I do too :-)

8th Jun 2010, 03:27

I have just (17 May 2010) got a 2004 example with only 22000kms - proven - in immaculate condition - still smells new - phew my dream come true.

Absolutely awesome - a huge huge grin factor - enjoyable to drive every time, however short. I first drove my friend's brand new E36 in 1994 and vowed to try to get one - one day - well it's taken 16 years - worth the wait - buy one, you won't be disappointed.

Dick in Cape Town South Africa.