At $12,900, Is This 2003 BMW M3 Drop-Top A Drop-Dead Good Deal?

Illustration for article titled At $12,900, Is This 2003 BMW M3 Drop-Top A Drop-Dead Good Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice M3 is a convertible that’s also been converted to a six-speed manual. Might that make it worth converting some cash to buy it?

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Different people like different kinds of dogs. That’s why they make them in so many different models. Some folks like big dogs. Others like little yappy dogs. Seriously, even those little guys have their fans.

That same dichotomy can be applied to cars, and when it comes to Toyota Supras there are certain years that are far more beloved than others. As far as your comments were concerned, yesterday’s 1982 Celica Supra was one of the more meh years. That reaction didn’t do its $11,500 asking price any favors, and it fell in a not-so-super 62 percent No Dice loss.

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As most of us know, the current Supra is a thinly veneered version of the latest BMW Z4. The cars share engines, suspension geometry — all the important undergarment stuff. The major difference between the two is that the Toyota is a cramped coupe while the BMW is an open-air roadster. Both cars are fairly tight inside, but the Bimmer feels more expansive owing to its larger window openings and its convertible top.

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Photo: Craigslist

If that’s an important consideration for you, then you will no doubt be interested in this 2003 BMW M3. That’s because its top goes up and down and, unlike either the modern Z4 or Supra, it can carry four in a pinch.

Along with that soft top, this E46 offers a six-speed manual. It apparently didn’t come from the factory that way, however. According to the ad, the manual shift was part of a recent round of maintenance and other work. Further updates include new tires on 19-inch Style 359 wheels plus new halo-style bi-xenon headlamps for the otherwise stock-appearing nose.

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Photo: Craigslist

Power is provided by BMW’s vaunted 3.2-liter S54 straight-six. That’s good for 333 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. That latter number is reached at 4,900 rpm, while the former requires spinning all the way up to nearly 8,000 to get the goods.

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All that power gets pumped through a new clutch and that after-the-fact installed Getrag. The ad notes that the engine has had all of its connecting-rod bearings replaced as well as its VANOS solenoid. Along with that, it’s had a round of fluid changes. That seems like a smart move on an M3 with 150k on the clock.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The rest of the car doesn’t appear to show those miles. The Topaz Blue paint seems free of major flaws, exhibiting only some minor scraping on the leading edge of the deep front air dam. All the trim is intact, and all the glass looks clear. The top is free of any rips or stains and is said to operate — both up and down — without issue.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The interior presents in similar fashion, with only minor wear on the sport seat bolsters and a good bit of shine on the steering wheel leather. All of the display pixels seem to be doing their thing, and there’s no evidence in the center console that this was not born as a manual. You do get those back seats that I mentioned, and you also get the optional windscreen for when you want to go two-up and you don’t want your long, luxurious locks flying in your face.

The title is clear and the car is claimed ready to pass its smog test. That’s required to transfer a title in California, where this car now lives. Should you wish to move it to another state, YMMV.

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Photo: Craigslist

Another factor to consider in that hypothetical title transfer is the M3’s price. That’s a cool $12,900, and it’s now incumbent upon you to vote on whether that’s a deal for the car as it sits. What do you think, is this manual-converted M3 worth its $12,900 asking? Or, does that price get an automatic No from you?

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You decide!

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San Francisco, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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DISCUSSION

shanemorris
Shane Morris

The E46 is overshadowed in stupidity by the nonsense V10 M5, so people have forgotten just how bad the SMG version of this ride could be. That’s why my first instinct on looking at this ad was to find the correct number of pedals. (Three. The answer is three pedals.)

When surveying modern engines, the 333 horsepower, 3.2 liter inline-6 from this M3 is one of the best engines of the past 50 years, and it’s paired with a tossable, predictable chassis, and in this case... it gets topless. (Like YOUR MOM. BOOM! ROASTED!)

Is this a fair price? Yes. All things considered, even Bring A Trailer prices, this car is priced to sell. Are there nicer examples? Sure. But you’ll pay $20-25K for those. This is one of those few times where I may even contact the seller myself and see if I can purchase it. I like it, and if you want to buy a convertible, the best prices are when the weather turns cold outside.