They will never put the same powerplant in the M3 that is in the M5 - that would be a disservice to the M3 as a production model and candidly lower the exclusivity of the vaunted and much more expensive M5. That said, they are indeed already confirmed for dropping the V-8 NA engine from the M3 as the new generation comes out next year. It will surely be a 6 cylinder major turbo set up (they are actually discussing a TRI-turbo set up with each a twin scroller like the N55 to keep and increase power while raising fleet wide gas mileage averages as they are required to do.
Now - as to reliability etc - the E46 was the next generation in every way from the E36, the first of the now modern era of M3's. It was the first M3 that made more than 300hp (100hp+ per liter of the 3.2L engine). However sadly, it's biggest problem was that it carried over its rear subframe from the E36 with all its horrific problems (to the point of a class action settlement where BMW agreed to fix the huge number that cracked. Unchecked, this problem could lead to catastrophic failure and loss of the entire rear suspension of the car! Turner Motorsports designed a steel reinforcement kit to address this which is inexpensive, however the labor cost is very high - 2-3 days work - I had mine welded, repaired and the kit installed this Summer especially given the power I run and investment made in mine). The E36 also had an awful by all accounts plastic radiator portion that often cracked and led to overheating and all other obvious problems. The list goes on, but in short, I think calling the E36 a stalwart of reliability is a bit generous. To be fair, the E46 had its share of problems too, although I have had nothing but reliability shown by mine (only issues were related to mods or sitting in the heated garage all winter). As with all models, the later into the run you get, te tether off you are as they've had the chance to work out all the bugs/problems - my Z3 is last production year bought new and my E46 is 2005 of a 99-06 run). Don't get me wrong, I happen to LOVE the E36 - one of my favorite looking BMW's ever, and a huge success for them on the track as well. But be fair - on reliability, I'm not sure I see a big difference, if not an edge to the E46. Anyway - here's to enjoying both models for years to come, and as with anything - taking good care of them along the way really makes all the difference! Happy Motoring!
2008 ///M5 with Eisenmann race exhaust "Athena" 2013 VOLKSWAGEN Tiguan 2L Turbo RIP 2005 Dinan ///M3 S3-R+ Vert w/hardtop
- 6-speed, DINAN SC - race kit, race headers, etc. RIP 2002 Z3 Roadster 2.5i - VF Supercharged
, 5-speed, Brembos etc. Turkey ///M Car Fleet Commander
TINA FAN CLUB PRESIDENT
Last edited by RoadsterMadness; 11-13-2011 at 04:09 PM.