BMW M3 (E46) – Rewind Wednesday
It’s time to turn back the clock again as we look at a car that won What Car?'s Coupé of the Year Award four years on the trot: the E46 BMW M3...
How much do they cost now?
The good news is that the standard E46 M3 has hit the bottom of its depreciation curve. Early examples can be had for less than £8000, although we would recommend staying well clear of SMG-equipped variants. The bad news is that servicing costs can be more than 30% higher than for any other 3 Series, so it pays to find a clean example.
The later and highly sought after M3 CS (a halfway house between the hardcore CSL and standard M3) starts at just below £18,000, rising to £40,000 for particularly low-mileage examples.
Unsurprisingly, with just 422 right-hand-drive CSLs brought into the UK (of which 316 were silver-grey and 106 black), prices have remained firm. For a mint-condition model in the ‘correct spec’, expect to pay more than £60,000, with some higher-mileage cars hovering around the £40,000 mark. These are now considered to be true collector cars and therefore you pay for the privilege.
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The best (and worst) used coupés for £5000
Can't quite stomach the bills and servicing costs that come along with an M3? These coupés might be of interest…
10. Hyundai Coupé
Squint a little and the Hyundai Coupé could almost be one of those 1990s front-engined Ferraris, all shark-like design and the promise of easy performance. In reality, it's attractive rather than stunning and it drives well rather than superbly. Don’t worry, though – it’s pleasant to punt along, with accurate steering and a decent interior. Even the ride is pretty good, although it can still jar around town. But it’s not all good news. The engine is only just powerful enough and it feels sufficiently coarse to be unpleasant on the ear at high revs.
It was well made, though, making used examples a tempting proposition, especially at this price level. £5000 buys you a good-condition 2009 car from the end of the model’s run.
We found 2.0, 2009 (09), 26,000 miles, full service history, £5000
If you were cynical, you could say the Laguna Coupé, in common with a lot of other coupés, is no more than the saloon or hatchback version of the Laguna with a more attractive body on top. This is true, but style is a large part of the appeal here and the Laguna Coupé scores not only by looking different from its siblings but also from just about anything else on the road. It drives well, has a comfortable interior and the GT model even has four-wheel steering. Furthermore, a 2011 car is barely run in, so it’s worth more than a casual look.
We found 2.0 dCi Dynamique, 2011 (11), 79,000 miles, full service history, £5000
Now, if you’re talking style, then the Alfa Romeo badge takes some beating. Trouble is, for a long time Alfa had the wrong reputation, with a notorious fragility and cars that were distinctly below par to drive. The GT was a much more likeable car, though. Dynamically, it wasn’t up there with a BMW 3 Series, but it still offered a fine mix of style, performance, practicality and, crucially, enough chassis competence to make it a valid choice. Now, such racing heritage and charm can be yours for peanuts. Worth the risk, we think.
We found 2.0 JTS, 2007 (07), full service history, 46,000 miles, £4995