For the race variant, see BMW M3 GTR

The BMW M3 (E46) is the third generation model of the BMW M3 series, which replaced the M3 E36 in 2000.

Unlike the previous generation model, the E46 M3 was not available as a saloon, with body style choice being limited to coupé and convertible. To address criticism regarding the E36 M3's strong design similarity to regular 3 Series models, the E46 features flared and vented fenders, a domed aluminium bonnet, as well as two double exhaust pipes.[2]

The E46 received a 3.2 litre straight-six engine with a more linear powerband than its predecessor that redlines at 8000 rpm. Other major additions include a special limited-slip differential capable of sending 100% of torque to one wheel, and floating brake calipers. The E46 was available with an optional SMG sequential paddle shift gearbox, which also found usage in other M models.[3]

The E46 was the last M3 to have a unified chassis code throughout all models, and was replaced by the E92 in 2007.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

The M3 E46 can be found in the game files of Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

The model is fully customisable with the exception of bodykits or refined performance. In the PC release, the model does not have an assigned texture material and appears black in colour all over. In the PlayStation 2 release, the model doesn't have any problems besides some missing hoods and wrong textures.

The car can be seen in some early development images fitted with a bodykit, hood, and spoiler resembling the American Le Mans Series racing M3 as well as a set of ADR wheels.

Need for Speed: ProStreet

The M3 E46 appears in Need for Speed: ProStreet as a tier 2 car with a price tag of $38,000. It is unlocked upon dominating the Showdown II: Autopolis race day.

The BMW M3 is a torquey car with decent handling, making it suitable for Grip and Drift events.

The player is awarded with two modified M3 E46s after successfully dominating React Team Sessions' challenge in Ebisu.

Need for Speed: Undercover

The BMW M3 E46 appears in Need for Speed: Undercover as a tier 2 car with a price tag of $145,000. It is unlocked upon reaching Wheelman Level 9.5.

It has powerful acceleration, but a low top speed of 206 mph (331 km/h) compared to most Tier 2 cars.

Need for Speed: World

Development - Some content may have altered during development.

The M3 E46 was available in Need for Speed: World during the closed beta fitted with a custom bodykit and spoiler resembling the BMW M3 GTR (Race). It was replaced by the BMW M3 GTR (Street) in later builds.

Game files for the BMW M3 E46 could be found in the directory of Need for Speed: World, although the car was never released, which resulted in the removal of its mesh and textures from the game.

Need for Speed: Shift

The M3 E46 appears in Need for Speed: Shift as a tier 2 car with a price tag of $58,000. It has a car rating of 5.40 and is capable of a Works conversion.

It can reach an average top speed and has a decent handling.

Shift 2: Unleashed

The M3 E46 appears in Shift 2: Unleashed as a Modern Road car with a price tag of $33,000. It has a C 530 performance rating and a 3.22 handling rating.

It can reach an average top speed and has a decent handling.

Need for Speed (2015)

The M3 (E46) appears in Need for Speed (2015) and can be purchased for NFS2015CreditsIcon36,300.

0 - 60 mph 1/4 Mile Top Speed Power
Stock 05.13 seconds 13.53 seconds @ 110 mph (177 km/h) 176 mph (283 km/h) 338 hp
Fully Upgraded 02.23 seconds 09.20 seconds @ 163 mph (262 km/h) 234 mph (377 km/h) 1,095 hp


The Deluxe Edition release features a specially modified M3 that resembles the luminary BMW M3 GTR featured in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, although it is possible to recreate it. The Deluxe variant can be purchased at no cost.

Need for Speed: Payback

The M3 E46 appears in Need for Speed: Payback following the reveal trailer released on June 2, 2017.


It is unlocked for purchase from the drag, drift, and race class dealerships upon completing three questlines in chapter 3 - City Lights.
Need for Speed: Payback - Statistics
NFSPB BMWM3E46 Garage NFSPB Dealership Drag IconNFSPB Dealership Drift IconNFSPB Dealership NA IconNFSPB Dealership Race IconNFSPB Dealership NA IconNFSPB Dealership NA Icon LV167
NFSPB BankYellow Icon 93,850
Unlocked in chapter 3 - City Lights.
NFSPB StatIcon Speed LargeWhite Horsepower  338
Top Speed  176
NFSPB StatIcon Accel LargeWhite 0 - 60  4.90
1/4 Mile  13.40
NFSPB StatIcon Nitro LargeWhite N2O Power  3.2
N2O Duration  3.2
NFSPB StatIcon Air LargeWhite Airtime  4.5
Landing  4.1
NFSPB StatIcon Brakes LargeWhite Response  4.1
Power  3.3


  • The BMW M3 E46 can be equipped with a body kit resembling its ALMS racing variant in every game it has appeared in.
  • The M3 E46 features North American side markers in every Need for Speed game except the Shift series and Need for Speed (2015).
Development - Some content may have altered during development.
  • In the PlayStation 2 release of Need for Speed: ProStreet, the M3 (E46) features red leather seats instead of black leather and has a different wide bodykit from the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 releases.[4]
  • In the closed beta release of Need for Speed: World, the BMW M3 E46 was named the "BMW M3 GTR" despite the wheels, hood, interior, and the badge belonging to the BMW M3 E46. It is unknown if it was a mistake by the developers or if it was intentional.



  1. Web link: 30 Years of BMW M3
  2. Web link: BMW M3 Buyer's Guide
  3. Web link: The BMW M3 E46 Coupe
  4. Images: Front; Rear