BMW M3 E46 Explained – Video
The E46 M3, first introduced in October 2000, appeared worldwide with the new 3.2 L S54 M-tuned engine. It was only available in coupe and convertible bodies as the saloon version had been dropped.
The E46 M3 was offered with a standard 6-speed Getrag transmission, but optionally came with a SMG drivelogic transmission (also known as the SMG II). This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch (no clutch pedal). Shifts are made via the SMG gear knob or the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The engine had a redline of 8,000 rpm. As with most M engines, the S54 again had 6 independent throttle bodies and this time electronically operated throttles (drive-by-wire throttle with no cable).
In the U.S., the E46 M3 came with similar engine output as the European version, unlike in the E36, whose engine was derived from the M50/52 series engine. Power was now at 333 bhp (248 kW; 338 PS) due to close-coupled catalytic converters closer to the engine exhaust ports. In 2009, Road and Track magazine announced the 2006 M3 with the SMG transmission as its favourite sports car of all time.
The BMW M3 CSL (Coupe Sport Leichtbau) (Coupe Sport Lightweight) was a limited edition version of the M3, with only 1,400 cars being produced for its 2004 model year run. The CSL was never released into the North American market, and was only available in two colours – Silver Grey Metallic and Black Sapphire Metallic.
The engine used in the CSL had increased output over the regular S54 by 17 hp (13 kW) and 5 N·m (4 lbf·ft) over the European M3. This is due to the use of sharper profile camshafts, a bigger air intake with carbon fibre manifold, a refinement of the exhaust manifold, and slightly different exhaust valves.