BMW 3 Series (E46)

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For a complete overview of all the 3 series chassis, see BMW 3 Series.
BMW 3-Series (E46)
BMW 3er (E46, 1998–2001) front MJ.JPG
Pre-facelift BMW 3 Series (E46) sedan
Manufacturer BMW
Production January 1998–February 2005 (Sedan), April 1999–November 2006 (Coupe), June 1999–July 2005 (Touring), December 1999–2007 (Cabriolet)[1]
Model years 1999 – 2006
Assembly Leipzig, Germany
Munich, Germany
Regensburg, Germany
Toluca, Mexico
Rosslyn, South Africa[1]
6th of October City, Egypt[2]
Kaliningrad, Russia (Avtotor)[3]
Shenyang, China (Brilliance)[4]
Jakarta, Indonesia (Gaya Motor) (1999–2004)
Designer Erik Goplen (design concept: 1993, 1995; coupe/cabriolet: 1996; touring: 1997)
Christopher Bangle (sedan: 1995)
Body and chassis
Class Compact executive car
Body style 2-door coupé
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
3-door hatchback
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / All-wheel drive
Related BMW M3
BMW X3 (E83)
Engine 1.6L I4 16-valve
1.8L I4 16-valve
1.9L I4 8-valve
2.0L I4 16-valve
2.0L I6 24-valve
2.2L I6 24-valve
2.5L I6 24-valve
2.8L I6 24-valve
3.0L I6 24-valve
3.2L I6 24-valve
4.0L V8 32-valve
2.0L I4 16-valve turbodiesel
2.9L I6 24-valve turbodiesel
3.0L I6 24-valve turbodiesel
Transmission 5-speed manual
6-speed manual
6-speed sequential manual
5-speed steptronic automatic
5-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 107.3 in (2,725 mm)
Length Sedan: 176.0 in (4,470 mm)
Wagon: 176.3 in (4,478 mm)
Convertible & Coupe: 176.7 in (4,488 mm)
Width Sedan & Wagon: 68.5 in (1,740 mm)
Convertible & Coupe: 69.2 in (1,758 mm)
Height Sedan: 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
2000-02 325i Wagon: 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
2000-02 325xi Wagon: 56.3 in (1,430 mm)
Convertible: 54.0 in (1,372 mm)
Coupe: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
xi Sedan: 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Predecessor BMW 3 Series (E36)
Successor BMW 3 Series (E90)

The BMW E46 is the fourth generation of the 3 Series compact executive cars produced by BMW, produced from 1998 when it succeeded the BMW E36.

The E46 was released in May 1998 to worldwide markets in the sedan body style. In 1999, a coupé and touring body style became available to all markets, and the sedan was released in the United States. A convertible and hatchback body style was released in 2000, the latter only for Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The E46 experienced enormous success in all markets and was widely considered the performance benchmark of its class.[5] The record selling year for the E46 chassis was 2002, when 561,249 vehicles were sold worldwide.[6] The main competitors during the E46's production run were the Acura TL, Alfa Romeo 156, Audi A4, Infiniti G, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Saab 9-3 and the Volvo S60.

BMW M GmbH produced a high-performance variant of the E46 chassis, designated the M3. This version had a larger, more powerful engine, sportier suspension, a limited slip differential, and various aesthetic modifications. The M3 was released in 2001 and was available in coupé and convertible body styles. It was offered with two transmissions: a standard 6-speed manual or an optional sequential manual gearbox.


Exterior design[edit]

The E46 was developed as an evolutionary replacement for the BMW E36 chassis. In 1995, the general exterior design of the E46 by Erik Goplen was approved and as a result DesignworksUSA was contracted by BMW to work alongside BMW Group's in-house design team to create the exterior body work for the 3-Series range in February 1996.[7][8] Based on the E36 body shell, the design team put an emphasis on improving aerodynamics and increasing the car's aggressive stance.[7] Design patents were filed in Germany on July 16, 1997 and in the US on January 16, 1998.[9] While the styling of the E46 was seen as an evolution of the extremely successful previous generation 3-series, it was not immediately embraced by either the buying public, or the automotive press. Word leaked out in the press that the BMW stylists were unhappy in raising the roof-line, and the general "rounding" of the body panels in comparison to the more squarish E36 series. Chris Bangle was responsible through January 1996 for the production saloon exterior, as evident in the 1997 design patent. Production development of the saloon took 24 months from January 1996 to January 1998. Goplen designed the production coupe and estate during 1996-1997.[10][11]

Flexible electronics design[edit]

Since the start of production, the entire in-car entertainment system (Radio Function, Navigation System, Television and Telecommunications systems) is based on a very flexible automotive computer system.[12] As a result the E46 models can all be easily upgraded with the newest BMW technologies including BMW's Bluetooth System, the DVD based Navigation system, as well as BMW's CD changers that play MP3s[13]

Powertrain and engine design[edit]

An emphasis was put on reducing unsprung weight and increasing structural rigidity rather than increasing power output: the highest displacement model at release, the E46 328, had only 3 horsepower more than the E36 328.[14] To counter this small power increase, the body shell of the E46 was claimed by BMW to be 70% more rigid than the E36's,[14] and aluminum suspension components were used increasingly in order to decrease unsprung weight.[14] In tune with BMW's core values,[15] the E46 was released with a front engined rear-wheel drive layout with 50/50 weight distribution.[14][16] This balance allows for optimal handling in regard to the drive train layout.

Petrol engines[edit]

Model[17] Engine Production[18] Volume
(in cc)
Type[19] Power Torque 0–100 km/h[20]
(0-62 mph)
316i M43TUB19 1998–2001 1895 I4, 8v 105 PS (77 kW; 104 bhp) 165 N·m (122 ft·lbf) 12.4 s
316i/ti N42B18 2001–2004 1796 I4, 16v 115 PS (85 kW; 113 bhp) 175 N·m (129 ft·lbf) 10.9 s
N46B18 2004–2005
318i/Ci M43TUB19 1998–2001 1895 I4, 8v 118 PS (87 kW; 116 bhp) 180 N·m (133 ft·lbf) 10.4 s
318i/Ci/ti N42B20 2002–2003 1995 I4, 16v 143 PS (105 kW; 141 bhp) 200 N·m (148 ft·lbf) 9.3 s
N46B20 2004–2005
318Ci 2005–2007 150 PS (110 kW; 148 bhp) 9.2 s
320i M52TUB20 1998–2000 1991 I6, 24v 150 PS (110 kW; 148 bhp) 190 N·m (140 ft·lbf) 9.9 s
320i/Ci M54B22 2000–2007 2171 170 PS (125 kW; 168 bhp) 210 N·m (155 ft·lbf) 8.2 s
323i/Ci M52TUB25 1998–2000 2494 170 PS (125 kW; 168 bhp) 245 N·m (181 ft·lbf) 8.0 s
325i/xi/Ci/it (US) M54B25 2001–2005 184 PS (135 kW; 181 bhp) 237 N·m (175 ft·lbf) 7.3 s
325i/Ci SULEV (US) M56B25 2002–2005 184 PS (135 kW; 181 bhp) 237 N·m (175 ft·lbf) 7.3 s
325i/xi/Ci/ti (EUR) M54B25 2001–2007 2494 192 PS (141 kW; 189 bhp) 245 N·m (181 ft·lbf) 7.2 s
328i/Ci M52TUB28 1998–2000 2793 193 PS (142 kW; 190 bhp) 280 N·m (207 ft·lbf) 7.0 s
330i/xi/Ci M54B30 2000–2007 2979 233 PS (171 kW; 230 bhp) 300 N·m (221 ft·lbf) 6.5 s
330i/Ci ZHP (US Only) 2003–2006 238 PS (175 kW; 235 bhp) 301 N·m (222 ft·lbf) 5.8 s
M3 (US) S54B32 2001–2006 3246 338 PS (249 kW; 333 bhp) 355 N·m (262 ft·lbf) 4.9 s
M3 (EUR) 2001–2006 343 PS (252 kW; 338 bhp) 365 N·m (269 ft·lbf) 4.9 s
M3 CSL 2003–2004 360 PS (265 kW; 355 bhp) 370 N·m (273 ft·lbf) 4.8 s
M3 GTR (Street) P60B40 2001 3997 V8, 32v 351 PS (258 kW; 346 bhp) 365 N·m (269 ft·lbf) 4.5 s
M3 GTR (Race) 2001–2005 500 PS (368 kW; 493 bhp) 479 N·m (353 ft·lbf) 3.5 s

Diesel engines[edit]

Model Engine Production Volume
(in cc)
Type Power Torque 0–100 km/h
(0-62 mph)
318d/td M47D20 2001–2005 1951 I4, 16v 116 PS (85 kW; 114 bhp) 260 N·m (192 ft·lbf) 10.7 s
320d M47D20 1999–2001 1951 I4, 16v 136 PS (100 kW; 134 bhp) 280 N·m (207 ft·lbf) 9.9 s
320d/cd/td M47TUD20 2001–2007 1995 I4, 16v 150 PS (110 kW; 148 bhp) 330 N·m (243 ft·lbf) 8.8 s
330d/xd/cd M57D30 1999–2003 2926 I6, 24v 184 PS (135 kW; 181 bhp) 390 N·m (288 ft·lbf) 7.8 s
M57TUD30 2004–2007 2993 204 PS (150 kW; 201 bhp) 410 N·m (302 ft·lbf) 7.2 s

Model badging[edit]


The 316 was introduced in 1999 and has the smallest engine available in the E46, the 1.9 L BMW M43 producing 105 hp (78 kW) and 165 N·m (122 ft·lbf).[21] Like all 4-cylinder models, it was not sold in the United States.[14] In 2001, the 316 was given a smaller, yet more powerful, 1.8 L BMW N42 engine producing 116 hp (87 kW) and 175 N·m (129 ft·lbf).[22]


The 318 was introduced in 1998, the 1.9 L BMW M43.[22] However, it was designated the M43B19TU (technical update) and had dual balancing shafts which increased horsepower to 118 hp (88 kW) and torque to 180 N·m (133 ft·lbf). Along with the 316, the 318 received an updated engine in 2002: the 2.0 L BMW N42. It produced 141 hp (105 kW) and 200 N·m (148 ft·lbf).[22] The 318 was not released into the United States market.[14] N 46 introduced in 2004 with modifications to the ecu


Sold in many places, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Canada, Turkey Australia and Ireland. 320i was sold in two versions, less powerful equipped with M52 2.0 L I6 engine making 150 hp (112 kW) and more powerful version with M54 2.2 L I6 engine making 170 hp (127 kW). It was the base model in Romania, Canada, Australia, where it would be succeeded by the 323i.


The 323 was one of the first E46 models available for purchase, 1998 for the sedan (excluding North American markets) and 1999 for the coupe (and sedan in North American markets). It was powered by BMW's 2.5 L M52 engine designated M52TUB25.[22] The M52 engine was previously used in the E36; however, this 2.5 L version added dual VANOS, BMW's mechanically continuous variable valve timing system. This improved low end torque and fuel economy over the M52B25 used in the E36 323. The E46 323, despite having a 2.5L engine, was designated "323" and not "325", to increase the apparent spread between it and the correctly numbered 328 to appeal to BMW enthusiasts.

The 323 ended its run after 2000,[22] when it was then retired to make way for the updated E46 325.


Pre-facelift BMW 328i sedan

The 328 was released alongside the 323 as a high-performance option, still using the BMW M52 engine, but making 190 bhp (142 kW; 193 PS). The E46 328 and 323 ended their production runs after three model years (1998–2000) when they were succeeded by the 330 and 325, respectively.


The 325 took over from the market position of the 323 (M52b25) and uses the M54b25 2.5 L I6 engine. the 325's engine has an improved double-VANOS and fully dual pipe exhaust system. The European version makes 192 bhp (143 kW; 195 PS), while the U.S./Canadian version had a catalytic converter installed which reduces the output to 184 bhp (137 kW; 187 PS).


The 330 succeeded the 328 as the top-performing E46 (excluding the M3), with the M54B30 making 233 PS (171 kW; 230 bhp) at 6500rpm and 214 lb·ft (290 N·m) at 3500 rpm, while the performance package (ZHP) version had an output of 235 bhp (175 kW; 238 PS) at 6800 rpm and 222 lb·ft (301 N·m) at 3500 rpm.

Trim levels[edit]

United States market[edit]

Premium package (ZPP)[edit]

The premium package has been available on all 3-series cars. It typically included:

  • Different wheels and tires (if ordered with the sport package, the sport package's wheels and tires are supplied)
  • A multifunction steering wheel (if it was not already standard on the vehicle)
  • Wood grain interior trim (if ordered with the sport package, the premium package wood is typically installed, unless specifically requested otherwise)
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers (not available on the 323; became standard equipment in 2004)
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Power seats
  • Lumbar Support (not available on the 325)
  • Moonroof (can also be ordered separately)

Sport package (ZSP)[edit]

The sport package was available on all E46's, excluding cars with the Performance package and the M3. It consisted of a three spoke sports leather steering wheel and had improved grip over the standard "square" steering wheel. The sport package also included cruise control. The car was also given sport seats which provided better bolstering and support than the stock seats. They also had adjustable thigh supports and were available in manual or power. The sports package also offered 17-inch wheels standard, which came with staggered (323 excluded) lower profile tires. Rear-wheel-drive models ordered with the Sport package also received sport suspension, which offered improved handling by way of firmer springs, a lower ride height, and tighter dampers.

Cold weather package (ZCW)[edit]

The cold weather package has been available on all 3-series and M3 cars. It typically included:

  • Pass-through ski bag
  • Heated seats (can also be ordered separately)
  • Headlight washers
  • Fold down rear seats

Performance package (ZHP)[edit]

2005 BMW 330Ci ZHP in Titanium Silver
2004 BMW 330CI ZHP in Silver Grey Metallic

The performance package was an inclusive option given to E46 sedans from 2003 to 2005, coupes and convertibles from 2004 to 2006.[23] It included various aesthetic changes over the regular 3 series, as well as functional and mechanical enhancements. It had M badges on each of its Style 135 wheels, with additional M badging on the multi-function steering wheel and atop the 6-speed short throw weighted shifter. In addition to the standard color options, the ZHP was available in the "Motorsport-only" color Imola Red. It received the "M-Tech II" bodykit standard, 18-inch staggered Style 135 wheels, high gloss anthracite window trim, and the coupe received clear turn signals (headlights, side-markers, and tail-lights) instead of the amber turn signals found on the standard 330Ci.[23] The interior had also been modified with half cloth-half alcantara sports seats (optional upgrade to leather), an alcantara-wrapped sports steering wheel (switched to perforated leather in mid-2005), a shorter M-badged shift knob, anthracite colored cloth headliner, and aluminum "cubed" faux-carbon fiber interior trim (available in silver or black). The instrument gauge cluster was also modified with red needles and polished metal trim rings.[24]

In the performance department, the ZHP was equipped with the more aggressive DME tune to increase power from 225 hp (168 kW) to 235 hp (175 kW).[23] The engine redline raised from 6,500 rpm to 6,800 rpm to take advantage of the new power band and higher power output at higher RPMs.[24] As a result of the higher redline, the nut that fastens the oil pump's sprocket came with threadlocker pre-applied from the factory to keep the nut from falling off.[25] The car also received a shorter final drive ratio which allows for faster acceleration; 3.07 vs. 2.93 for manuals and 3.64 vs. 3.38 for the automatic.[24] Car and Driver magazine track-tested the car, which returned a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds and passed through the 1/4 mile in 14.3 seconds.[24] In 2003 the ZHP featured a 6-speed manual transmission (the Steptronic automatic transmission was not available the first model year (2003), but it was offered from 2004 to 2006).

Suspension was modified over the standard suspension with firmer springs and dampers, larger anti-roll bars, stronger front control arm ball joints, a lower ride height, and slightly more negative camber.[24] The Style 135M wheels also came equipped with the much stickier compound, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, in a staggered configuration with 225/40-18 tires in the front and 255/35-18 tires in the back.[24]

Other markets[edit]


The ES trim level was supposed to be the base level available for the European E46s from 2003, however, it included various safety features as standard equipment, such as anti-lock brakes, 6 airbags, dynamic stability control, and a factory installed alarm which were not common as standard features when the E46 was released.[26] Comfort items such as heated and electric mirrors were also fitted standard.[26] The ES trim did not include cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel (MFSW), leather steering wheel or gearknob, although these were offered as "at-cost" options.[26] For a short period during 2003 BMW offered optional extras for the 320d & 330d Touring from the M-Tech Sport range including M-Tech Sports suspension and when this option was selected the leather M-tech gearknob & steering wheel were included in the upgrade.


The SE trim level included the options the ES trim level was given, but added cruise control as part of the multi-function steering wheel, headlight washers, parking sensors, leather steering wheel and gearknob.[26] It was the mid-range trim level that offered luxury items, but lacked the sporting items the M Sport and M Clubsport trim levels had, although the drivetrains of both SE and M Sport models were identical.

Sport / M Sport[edit]

The Sport (later M Sport) trim level included the options given on the ES and SE trim levels, but had additional performance-orientated items added. It came with the "M-tech" I or II bodykits (depending on when the car was ordered), half leather-half alcantara sports seats, sports suspension (comprising stiffer springs, dampers, and altered suspension geometry) The M sport package shares the same suspension set up as the performance package (ZHP) in America, as well as the "cubed" interior trim and 18-inch style 135 wheels, gloss black external trim instead of the chrome trim of the SE, sports steering wheel and 17" lightweight style 68 alloy wheels.[26] The drivetrain of Sport / M-Sport models is identical to that of base / ES / SE variants.

M Clubsport[edit]

BMW 330Ci M Clubsport

The M Clubsport trim level is aesthetically similar to the United States Performance Package.[26] The main difference is that the M Clubsport trim was not given the BMW performance camshafts that the ZHP obtained. Instead, it had 20 kilograms (44 lb) of sound deadening removed from the car. The M Clubsport trim shares the same suspension set up as the performance package (ZHP) in America, as well as the "cubed" interior trim and 18-inch style 135 wheels.[27] However, changes from the ZHP include plastic front splitters on the M-Tech II bumper, a M-tech II styled rear spoiler (instead of the M3 trunk lip), and clubsport door sills.[27] The M Clubsport also came with two "BMW Individual" colour options that were carried throughout the car, Estoril Blue, Velvet Blue and Carbon Black.[27]

Unlike the other trim levels, the M Clubsport trim was only available on the 330 and the 325.[26]

Luxury package[edit]

This Canadian-only package offered the same options as the United States premium package.

Initial release[edit]

BMW Alpina B3 3.3 (1999-2006)[edit]

The BMW 330i employs a naturally aspirated engine rated 305 PS (224 kW; 276 hp)@7200rpm and 500 N·m (369 lb·ft)@3800-5000rpm, 6-speed switch tronic manual transmission, ALPINA Classic 18-inch wheels with Michelin tires (225/40 ZR18 front, 255/35 ZR18 rear)

Edit: the B3S is a 3.4 version, the B3 is the 3.3. 305 hp vs 280 hp The B3S 3.4 Coupe went on sale in limited quantities (100 units) via ALPINA GB

Model nomenclature[edit]


The "i" badging originally indicated that the car had a fuel injection engine (Petrol) which first appeared in the E3/E9 and E21 chassis. As electronic fuel injection replaced carburetors the "i" badge was reused to indicate that the engine had an inline cylinder configuration.


With the introduction of the xi models in 2001, BMW brought back AWD which hadn't been an option in the 3-series since 1991 when the E30 325iX was discontinued. BMW produced the 325xi and 330xi in the US between 2001 and 2005, but only in Sedan (4-door) trim and the 325xi Sports Wagon.

The AWD models were well received by reviewers for giving customers in severe winter climates the option of an AWD 3-series. At the same time, the xi was criticized for its added weight, slower acceleration, decreased gas mileage, softer suspension, and poor original equipment tires.[28][29]

The transfer case used in all BMW E46 xi models is manufactured by New Venture Gear, Inc., which is owned by Magna Powertrain. The NV 124 transfer case used in the E46 xi models is a full-time four-wheel-drive gear driven transfer case.[30]

The xi models have a permanent front/rear 38:62 torque split which differs from the E46's successor, the E9X, which incorporated BMW's new xDrive platform. Both the front and rear differentials in the E46 xi are open differentials which are aided by DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) to control wheel spin and oversteer/understeer.

The xi models were only produced in left-hand drive, and as such were not sold in RHD markets such as the United Kingdom.

Alpina B3S 3.4[edit]

Alpina produced a specialist version of the 3 Series dubbed the B3S 3.4. one version was produced, taken from the standard production line.

B3S 3.4 Sedan was based on the 330i, powered by the 3.4-liter M54 engine producing 276 bhp (224 Kw; 305 PS), and available only with a switch tronic 6-speed manual gearbox.



The "d" indicates that the car has a diesel powered engine.


The "Ci" indicates that the car is a coupe/convertible with a petrol powered engine.


The "Cd" indicates that the car is a coupe with a diesel powered engine.


The "T" in "iT" stands for "Touring", the BMW nomenclature for a 4-door wagon. It has a petrol powered engine. These cars are just badged as "i".


The 'ti' badge on the E46 compact stands for 'Touring International' This harks back to the BMW 2002 tii touring.


The 'td' badge indicates a compact powered by a diesel engine (a variation of the ti badge for petrol-engined variants)


BMW introduced a super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) into the select regions of the United States to meet stricter emission standards. California, New York, and Massachusetts received the SULEV E46's in 2003, and Vermont in 2004.[32] They received a variant of the M54 engine, the BMW M56.[32] The M56 meets SULEV standards, as well as partial zero emission vehicle (PZEV) and zero evaporative emissions requirements.[32] The M56 is claimed to have identical power as its M54 counterpart.[32]


Main article: E46 M3


A silver BMW M3 CSL.

The BMW M3 CSL (coupe sports lightweight)[33] was a limited edition version of the M3, with 1,400 cars being produced for its 2004 model year run.[34] The CSL was never released into the North American market,[35] and was only available in two colours - Silver Grey Metallic and Black Sapphire Metallic.[36] In South Africa it came in limited numbers and cost nearly R1 million ($125k US) at the time (2004).

As its name suggests, an emphasis was put on reducing weight. The M3 CSL has a kerb weight of 1,385 kg (3,053 lb), 110 kg (240 lb) lighter than the regular M3.[37][38][39] The CSL features many weight saving technologies taken from Formula One racing applications.[40] A large proportion of the M3's sound insulation has been removed, as have the power windows, electric seats, and navigation systems.[35] Air conditioning and stereo systems could be retrofitted free of cost, but were not available standard.[38] The CSL's unique body pieces are all crafted from carbon fiber reinforced polymer.[37] Glass-reinforced plastics are used throughout structural points in the car.[38] The rear glass window was replaced with lightweight plastic.[38] Although the CSL loses a considerable amount of curb weight from its original version, the focus was put on strategically reducing or moving the weight in the car rather than the raw amount of weight that could be lost.[41] This is to retain the ideal 50:50 weight distribution characteristics the E46 has.[37] For example, the roof is constructed from carbon fiber reinforced plastic.[37] While this only reduces the curb weight of the car by 7 kg (15 lb), it lowers the center of gravity of the car and decreases body flex.[36][41]

A black M3 E46 CSL.

In order to improve the handling ability of the car, the entire suspension system was further refined.[37] Specially developed racing springs and dampers are given to the CSL, and a tightened steering ratio (14.5:1 vs 15.4:1 on the regular M3) improves responsiveness.[40] The braking system is also modified, with larger front and rear floating rotors and calipers from the E39 M5.[35][36] The CSL is given a retuned dynamic stability control system with a "M track mode" setting that allows the car to be pushed to its absolute limits before being activated.[40]

The 3.2l engine used in the M3, the BMW S54, has been modified to increased output by 17 hp (13 kW) and 5 N·m (4 lbf·ft) over the European M3.[36][40] This is achieved through a high flow carbon fiber air intake, modified valve and camshaft timing, and a retuned DME.[36][40] However, the engine is further modified in order to reduce weight - it features a lightweight exhaust manifold and thinner exhaust piping.[40] Additionally, the intake and exhaust manifolds are slightly straightened to improve engine responsiveness.[35]

The CSL also has various aesthetic modifications over the standard M3. It received an aerodynamic lightweight body kit which included carbon fiber front splitters that improved downforce at high speeds by 50%,[37] as well as a carbon fiber rear diffuser. The front bumper has a distinct hole that is used to draw cool air into the newly designed air intake.[37] The boot lid is redesigned to incorporate a raised lip, unlike the standard M3 where one is simply added onto a flat boot.[37] The CSL was sold with distinct 19-inch lightweight forged BBS alloy rims that came with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup semi-slick racing tires.[36][42]

The interior of the CSL is redesigned with a sporty-weight saving theme. The CSL obtains fiberglass front racing bucket seats,[37] permanently angled at 90-degrees and fiberglass backed rear seats.[37] The center console, door panels and trim, and headliner are all formed from carbon fiber,[36][37] and the steering wheel is redesigned with cruise control, stereo, and phone controls removed to include just a single button that activates the M track mode.[36] Although some markets went without this feature, South African examples were fitted with air conditioning.

The SMG II drivelogic semi-automatic transmission is a Getrag 6-speed conventional manual transmission, but with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch pedal, similar to an Formula One style transmission.[36] The regular M3 has the manual transmission as standard and the SMG II automated manual as an option, however the CSL is only offered with the SMG II and that unit also received a more advanced drivelogic unit that was capable of making shifts in 0.08 of a second.[36][40]

North American competition package (ZCP)[edit]

As the M3 CSL was not available to the North American markets, BMW released an optional "competition package" (option code ZCP) to fill the market void. It upgraded the normal M3 by way of 19-inch cast lightweight CSL style wheels, detuned CSL suspension components, a tighter steering ratio, and the CSLs brakes.[43] It also included a detuned version of the CSLs dynamic stability control.[43]


Andy Priaulx was the champion of the 2004 European Touring Car Championship season and 2005 World Touring Car Championship season driving a 320i.[44] Franz Engstler won the 2006 Asian Touring Car Championship season in a 320i.[45]

A range of different drivers have won the Spa 24 Hours from 1995 to 1997. The car has further competed in the 2006 British Touring Car Championship season, the 2008 European Touring Car Cup and the 2006 Russian Touring Car Championship.[46]

Year Championship Result
2003 European Touring Car Championship 3
2004 Danish Touringcar Championship 1
2004 European Touring Car Championship 1
2005 World Touring Car Championship 1
2005 Danish Touringcar Championship 1
2005 Italian Superturismo Championship 1
2006 British Touring Car Championship 11
2006 Asian Touring Car Championship 1
2008 European Touring Car Cup 1


Alarm for Cobra 11[edit]

From seasons 5-19, RTL Entertainment and ActionConcept have used a silver BMW 330i E46 with license plate NE:DR 8231 in the German Action TV-Series Alarm for Cobra 11: The Autobahn Police. The vehicle was used as an undercover cop car driven by Semir Gerkhan, the main officer in the series. It discontinued usage in season 19, as it was detonated next to a gas truck, and was later replaced by the more recent BMW E90, another component of the 3 Series.


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  2. ^ "Bavarian Auto Group". 9 April 2010. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Группа компаний Автотор :: Автомобили BMW". Retrieved 13 June 2010. 
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  45. ^
  46. ^

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