The 2000 Model year M3 came out in 1999. The early e46 M3's had engine 'issues' = blowing up. The e46 M3 engine is a high strung engine that redlines at 8000 RPM
. At first these early year e46's were being repaired but the engines kept blowing up. The problem related to faulty oil pumps and eventually led to a recall. Your best bet is a 2003 and up.
As the new M3 has hit the market the e46's have taken a dip in the used car market so you may get lucky and pick up a good car with 40 - 50K miles for relatively cheap.
I fell in love with the e46 M3 during BMW driver training events and have just recently acquired a 2004 and the first thing I did was lower the redline to 7500. It is not a four door, it does have child seat anchors
(no kids yet for me but soon...) so I understand your plight.
The e46 M3 goes like stink (333 BHP) and has proven to be reliable. If you do track the car you'll need to keep the suspension tuned and an eye on the rear suspension components, top plates, shock mounts and sub-frame assembly.
The e36 M3, my first love, is a great car but low mileage specimens are becoming harder and harder to find. I've found a few but they've been modified, pimped and beaten to all hell. The aftermarket and the following is huge and you'll never have a problem finding support for it.
With some tweaks and a few mods an e46 will surprise you. Here is a link that may give you more insight on M3's if you haven't already seen it: BMW M3 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I've always wanted a 1984 911T. There is one around the corner from me and I love to see it and hear it drive by. Maybe one day when I build a bigger garage.
Good luck and let us know what you decide.