BMW 1 Series Coupe Forum / 1 Series Convertible Forum (1M / tii / 135i / 128i / Coupe / Cabrio / Hatchback) (BMW E82 E88 128i 130i 135i)


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      10-30-2011, 10:24 PM   #1
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2006 E46 M3 vs. 135i

So as of right now I am in the market for another car. Moving from a Japanese car to a German car. I'm in a dilemma between an E46 M3 and a 135i. I chose these two cars because the price value is roughly about the same right now on the market.

I am aware of the E46's issues, but can't take my eyes off of one when I see one. Been lurking on this forum for sometime now and whenever I read through threads that's concerning about the 135i issues and reliability, it gives me the chills. Makes me curious and wonder does it really matter between the two choices since it seems like the issues are about the same.

I notice that there are a few that made the switch from a E46 to a 135i and vice versa due to it being similar. How do you guys like the two? I'm sorta looking for pros and cons to each one of the choices. Hoping to pick one up before the year ends. Please give me some input for those that had the opportunity to own both, others are welcomed to chime in also. Thanks in advance.
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      10-30-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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I was looking at E46 M3 and 135i before.

Chose the 135i just because with the same price I get a newer car (warranty) and a lot lower mileage.

Less issues with new car I suppose.

Would have loved to get the M3 but the maintenance cost would be too much
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      10-30-2011, 10:41 PM   #3
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I was in the same situation earlier in the year, but I chose the 135i after test driving both cars. The e46 M3 entails higher maintenance which you already know. The 135i does not have the mystique or glamour of the M3, but IMO it is more fun to drive. I do still search for e46 and e92 M3s and plan to buy the e92 in the future. As for now, the 135i is it and modding the car is fun and not too expensive. That said, I did not go with Dinan parts but other aftermarket quality parts Either car is great but I would recommend test driving both and then wait to see what shows up on the market.

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      10-30-2011, 10:43 PM   #4
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Would like to also see what others think of this
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      10-31-2011, 06:31 AM   #5
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I was shopping between those two cars myself. I chose the 135i because I got a newer car with no maintenance costs and finding an e46 in a 6spd coupe with low enough miles for me to consider seemed nearly impossible. When I did find them they were $34k and I just couldn't justify spending that kind of money on a 5 year old car.
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      10-31-2011, 10:18 AM   #6
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I also cross-shopped a tad. I wanted an M3 so bad, and yes I definitely was drawn to the E46 M3. I had an E46 330i that I adored and still to this day regret getting rid of: It wasn't the fastest or best car on the road but it was practical, all-day-driving comfy and with the ZSP and a 5-speed manual it was an absolute riot when I took it out on curvy roads.

Still, for the same reasons as people above I ended up ordering a 135i (still waiting!!!). Basically the more I looked into it the more the maintenance worried me. The E46 is one hell of a car, but it's high-strung and has all the same bad habits as my 330i had (cooling system problems, window regulators etc) and some new ones unique to the more powerful engine. When I did the math I figured that the 135i was 98% of the car with a factory warranty and included maintenance. That became the deciding factor for me; less things to worry about and thus the choice became easy.

It also didn't hurt at all that when I drove the 135i I was reminded a lot of my 330i. The cabin dimensions feel about the same, the dash and all its control feel familiar and the general feel of the car is almost identical. The E46 M3 I drove was a great car to drive hard but the 135i is a better daily driver due to the suspension tuning. I think I'd get tired of the M3's suspension eventually.

YMMV, but I hope this helps
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      10-31-2011, 10:43 AM   #7

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The cars are comparable, but to me they fit two slightly different niches. They are both BMWs so they have that special feel and balance not too many cars have. Both handle well (M3 handles great). Engines are totally different though. 135 is quick, and the n54, n55 are easy to extract more power out of if thats your thing. The M3 will out handle the 135 unless you throw some serious money at the 135's suspension and it has an LSD to boot.

Thus to me it really depends on what you are looking to do with the car. I like the 135, but love the M3. The looks, the high strung engine, the track focused suspension all appeal to me in the M3. If you are looking for a great car to track that is easy to drive to the limit, the M3 is for you. If this car is a daily/all around car then I would highly consider the 135. Boost is very usable on a daily basis, which is the opposite of the M3's engine characteristics. Maintenance will be more costly with the M3, but you probably already know that. 135 will probably be a similar basket of problems once the warranty is finished, especially those with the n54.

I own neither, but like you am in the market for a car in the next few months. Really trying to find a 1m at a reasonable price (msrp) but that is proving to be impossible. May look at new e46 m3s or 08/09 e90 m3s. Drove a cayman r for the hell of it (way out of my price range) and it has me thinking cayman s is a good possibility. That car felt perfect. Good luck with your decision.
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