BMW M3 E46 Looks Sleek on the Outside, but Hides a Huge V10 Secret Under the Hood


What’s your favorite BMW M model? If you said the E46 M3, then you have come to the right place. However, you may want to stick around even if that’s not the best M car in your opinion, as you are about to see a crazy one that packs a ten-cylinder engine.

The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V10 comes from the bigger M5, from the E60 generation, and produces an identical 500 hp (507 ps / 373 kW) and 384 lb-ft (520 Nm) of torque in this M3. It is hooked up to a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and since the car is smaller than the executive super sedan, it is also quicker. There is no reference to the new 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) sprint, but the E60 M5 did it in 4.7 seconds.

Just by looking at it, there is no way to tell that it ditched the old 3.2-liter straight-six, which came paired to a six-speed manual transmission or a less popular SMG, and made 338 hp (343 ps / 252 kW) and 269 lb-ft (365 Nm). With the original mill, the E46 M3 Coupe could deal with the 0-62 mph acceleration in 5.2 seconds back when it left the factory floor, and had a 155 mph (250 kph) top speed.

A punchier version of the same mill was used in the era’s CSL, with 355 hp (360 ps / 265 kW), which was 0.3 seconds faster than the normal variant. Nonetheless, as hot as the CSL may be, it pales in comparison to this black example, as it is very hard to compete against a V10-powered model. Well, unless it is a V12-powered E36, but that’s a totally different topic.

Since we’re talking about the E46 M3, then this would be a good time to buy one, because it has started going up in value. The most affordable examples sell for well over $10,000, yet if you want a barely-driven CSL, then get ready to pay about ten times as much.