Earlier this month I wrote about selling my 1999 M3, after almost 11 years of ownership. Here’s the car that made that happen — my “new” 2006 Interlagos Competition Package E46 M3.
The purchase happened quickly, and involved a lot of serendipity. I wasn’t in the market for an E46 M3, which is the BMW model designation for 3-Series cars from 2000 to 2005/6. I had thought about it from time to time, but was very happy with my 1999 E36 M3. Plus I doubted I’d ever find another M3 just the way I wanted it, and one I could verify had received excellent maintenance.
What happened was I took my 2002 M5 to Gary Martin, an old friend and well known enthusiast in this area. Gary owns Martin Motorsports, and has always maintained a personal fleet of gorgeous BMW M cars. We took a ride in my M5, and Gary told me the sound I was hearing was no problem.
When we got back to the shop, Gary mentioned he’d just had a knee operation, and it wasn’t rehabbing that way he and his doctor had hoped. So he was selling all his manual transmission M cars – including this 2006 M3. It hadn’t been driven regularly for about 18 months, and needed a little cosmetic TLC. But it had received lots of quality maintenance and had the desirable competition package, only offered in 2005 and 2006. Competition package includes larger brakes with drilled rotors, a quicker steering ratio, special cross spoke alloy wheels, special interior bits and one exclusive color — Interlagos, which is BMW-speak for a beautiful dark blue.
In addition, Gary had put top quality performance modifications on the car – an exhaust, performance software, coilovers with 24 way adjustable shocks, short shifter kit and cold air intake.
If I was ever going to buy an E46 M3, this was the one. It seemed meant to be, so I pulled the trigger. There are many parallels to the 2011 purchase of my M5 – color, low miles, great condition and high quality mods. The car only has 62,500 miles, and is a truly iconic model the car magazines continue to hark back to as one of BMW’s best. (Click here for chapter and verse on the E46 M3).
The car isn’t perfect. There are some paint issues to correct, scratches and two spots where it looks like sap was allowed to damage the clear cost. Eventually the front bumper will require a respray. I’ve done a few things like install a new pedal kit (included in sale), re-oil the air filter, upgrade the fog and front turn bulbs and clean/condition the interior a few times. Gary is going to work with me on new power steering hoses and drive belts, which need replacing.
I’ll tackle these issues over time, and I’m sure new ones will pop up. That’s the way it is with these cars. But if my E36 was any indication, I’ve got years of ownership enjoyment ahead of me with my new M3.
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