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E46 M3 Maintenance costs?

Discussion in 'E46 M3 (2001-2006)' started by thermal145, Aug 9, 2010.

    thermal145 guest

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    I keep reading in various BMW forums that E46 M3's can be "expensive" to maintain. I guess it's all relative, but what are these folks referring to? Is an E46 M3 any more involved or expensive to maintain than say an equivalent non-M 3 series? Are there any unusual aspects to owning and operating one? I've owned several older 5 series Bimmers, and found them to be fairly easy to work on and parts were reasonable. Just checking before diving in...
    • Member


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    Any M series vehicle will ALWAYS cost more to maintain that the non-M counterpart, just as a 335 will be more costly to maintain than a 328 model (on average).

    More HP, cutting edge technology and more moving parts are some of the more basic reasons.
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    Economies of scale are perhaps the biggest factor. Different trim levels of a series car share many parts (e.g., 328/335). Many components on an M car are unique to the M, produced in much smaller numbers than their series counterparts and consequently much more expensive. Or they may simply be heavier-duty versions to cope with additional power, torque and chassis loads, and therefore more expensive. As the car ages, many of the components that start to need attention (suspension parts, various ancillary systems, clutch, etc.) tend to be exactly these M-specific parts.

    Also, from some quotes I have seen, I suspect the flat-rate labor allowances for M cars may be somewhat higher than comparable jobs on a series car, either due to the additional complexity of the M, to allow extra time to ensure the work is done to M standards or perhaps both.

    SuperBimmer guest

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    I know one thing the E46 M's get over the other 3's is a valve adjustment on the inspection services. I would have to look for the exact time's but I think an Inspection II is somewhere in the relm of 7 hours. But like the others said, more M specific parts, more power, more technology = more money. It's just the nature of the beast. But they are fun to drive!!
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    John in VA

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    05tiagm3 guest

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    I budget $2,000 to $3,000 per year for everything (tires, oil, general maintenance). If something breaks then that quicky rises. VANOS is the biggest concern as that's easily at $2,500 fix.

    M3Driver guest

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    M cars do entail more caring and feeding on average than their average "plain" BMW counterpart. Of course, we BMW CCA M owners probably lavish more effort (and money) than maybe the "average bear"

    My thoughts: If cost of ownership is the major driving force in you deciding to buy an M3, I'd probably look elsewhere.

    Eddie800 guest

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    Yes,valve adjustments, $10/L oil, $150 diff fluid, etc. M fluids are expensive. Tires, brakes and other parts need more frequent replacing and are expensive. Get a copy of the inspection lists and go from there.

    turbo911cm guest

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    +1 on that.
    Look at it like a very high maintenance girlfriend or spouse, then you will get the idea of what you are dealing with when you jump to the M.

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