The Definite List of the most wanted BMW E46 M3 Today
If you don’t know the BMW E46 M3 is entering the collectible zone. Much of the media and market has been forecasting this BMW M3 model to become a desired addition to one’s car collection. The last model was built in 2006 and the time and hindsight have allowed us to appreciate this car more and more.
It has a devoted following, a huge after-market supply list, and tons of forums and threads that detail all the information you need to buy and maintain this future classic.
But while this is a prized car, BMW has sold over 80,000 of these cars from their original run from 2001 to 2006 so they aren’t rare to find. But the old adage is true that finding a low mileage car with the right color will keep it’s resale value up in the long run.
But forget all of that for now. Let’s talk about the particular cars with the right colors and options that buyers are looking for today, and will most likely be future classics tomorrow.
Look for these letters – ZCP
Let’s cut to the chase. People want the E46 M3 with the Competition Package option. The quick background on the Competition Package – it was an option on the last years of the E46 M3 production years – 2005-2006. There was a special limited edition version of the M3 called the CSL that was only sold in Europe at that time. BMW decided not to sell these cars in the US market, but to later pacify the US buyers released an option called the Competition Package option ( ZCP on the option code list).
What ZCP offered was some tasty bits from the full-blown CSL model including upgraded brake rotors and pads; newer 19′ inch alloy wheels by BBS called the Competition Package wheels; the tighter steering rack from the CSL; special Alcantara interior pieces like the steering wheel; and some other interior trim pieces. Some were even optioned with the cloth sports seats known as the M-texture seats. But the most interesting aspect was the introduction of a special color only available for that generation ZCP optioned car called Interlagos Blue.
While not a full-blown CSL, the Competition Package E46 M3 has become the epitome of why people love the E46 M3 – it was a great driving and best handling sports coupe of its generation. And this is the car we will start with on our list.
Interlagos Blue M3 with the Competiton Package
This is what everyone is looking for today – a 2005-2006 E46 M3 with the Competition Package in Interlagos Blue. Prime examples are easily going for high $30k USD and more. Even high mileage cars are asking $20k USD as we speak. Of course, every car we speak of has to have a 6-speed transmission. SMG will be substantially cheaper than their 6-speed counterparts.
The word is out, if its Interlagos Blue, its a Competition Package car and owners are going to ask top dollar.
Alpine White with Cinnamon Interior
Today everyone likes a BMW in white but back in the early 2000’s white wasn’t as popular as an exterior color. In the next generation of the M3, the E92 M3, White became the most popular exterior color for that generation.
But due to this scarcity, the E46 m3 in Alpine White is very uncommon. And then add one of those exotic interiors like Cinnamon or Imola Red and they become downright desirable.
The most desired setup – Alpine White E46 M3 with Cinnamon interior, a 6-speed manual, and the ZCP option.
Laguna Seca Blue (aka Smurf Blue)
When BMW launched the E46 M3 in the US in 2001 they came out with some exotic colors for the launch year. Two of them were Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue – also known as “Smurf Blue” due to the hue of the blue. While Phoenix Yellow became a polarizing color (people either hate it or love it), the Laguna Seca Blue has become a fan favorite.
Laguna Seca Blue was only available for the first few years and then became a custom order color, so you will see them mostly on older cars, early 2001 and 2004 year models. Also, many of the Laguna Seca cars came with the Dove Gray interior which personally isn’t that attractive and most people prefer a darker interior like black.
Laguna Seca Blue models tend to hold their values well especially being early year models of the E46 M3. If you find one with the Dove Gray interior, keep in mind that the interior can always be swapped out with another color interior. There are many vendors on eBay and Craigslist who will sell whole E46 M3 interiors at a very fair cost – especially full black interiors.
Getting On with the Hunt for the E46 M3
Now is still a good time to find your BMW E46 M3. If you’re looking for one of these desirable models listed above, you will need to be patient. And have everything ready to pull the trigger. That means have your funds ready/available or if you are getting a loan, be ready to apply for the car that you find. Competition Package cars especially in Interlagos Blue sell very fast and are usually the case of the first one to call and make an offer will get the car. I’ve seen this past summer Interlagos Blue cars go within a day of listing on a BMW Forum or on a sales site.
As they say “Early Bird Gets the BMW M3”. Good luck with the hunt.
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