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      03-16-2019, 09:32 AM   #1
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Modified 128i vs E46 M3

For those who have driven both, how would you compare an E46 M3 vs FBO 128i with 330i intake, E90 M3 bushings/control arms, coilovers, etc?
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      03-16-2019, 05:26 PM   #2
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My 128i isn't FBO yet, but has the M Suspension. The e46 m3 I had was stock. It's been years since I had it, but handling wise nothing jumps out at me. Both handled well beyond what I did with the car.

Power wise was another issue. The M3 was a beast and the higher red line just blew my mind as I'd never owned a car that I revved past 7K RPM even when using ARP head studs and springs that would take it.

I never realized the power potential of the M3 until I bought it. I found out very quickly it was very adapt at holding its own against a lot of different cars....even a 370Z.

If after I do my 3 Stage Intake, headers, and MILVS.....if it comes close to that performance I would be extremely pleased!
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      03-16-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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Are you kidding? You can make any car arbitrarily well-performing with enough money but you already know this is a silly question.
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      03-16-2019, 07:40 PM   #4
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Okay here is my take on it, and I already know many will disagree lol. Never owned an E46 ///M3, but 2 of my very close friends did and I have driven them so much that I think I am more than familiar with it's potential, especially in the canyons.

Hypothetically speaking, if e82 came with the s54 from factory, everything else being bone stock when comparing to a bone stock e46 M3, It would be a close call but ill go with the e46 mainly due to the suspension being an ///M suspension.....but having that said, if you had the option to spend same amount of money on aftermarket parts, ill take e82 any day because it has so much more potential......so what i am trying to say is that e46 ///M3 is a beautiful car to drive but personally i think it is overhyped. Chase vs chase, the e82 is a better platform. I am surprised that people are today willing to pay as much for them as they sell for. Just my 2 cent, not hating on anyones car or anything like that.
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      03-16-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayHack View Post
Okay here is my take on it, and I already know many will disagree lol. Never owned an E46 ///M3, but 2 of my very close friends did and I have driven them so much that I think I am more than familiar with it's potential, especially in the canyons.

Hypothetically speaking, if e82 came with the s54 from factory, everything else being bone stock when comparing to a bone stock e46 M3, It would be a close call but ill go with the e46 mainly due to the suspension being an ///M suspension.....but having that said, if you had the option to spend same amount of money on aftermarket parts, ill take e82 any day because it has so much more potential......so what i am trying to say is that e46 ///M3 is a beautiful car to drive but personally i think it is overhyped. Chase vs chase, the e82 is a better platform. I am surprised that people are today willing to pay as much for them as they sell for. Just my 2 cent, not hating on anyones car or anything like that.

Very true.....I have seen a lot of crazy prices on the e46 M3 with outrageous mileage on them. When looking for this past daily driver, that was a big factor in me picking up the 128i as I was looking to get back into an M3.

But I got a great car at 60% less price and half the mileage or more. Plus I didn't have to worry about how hard the previous owner ran the car. A lot of people with the M3 drive it like it's stolen!

I did a little "canyon carving" today in the 128.....and it impresses me everytime I drive it!
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      03-16-2019, 09:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rmtt View Post
Very true.....I have seen a lot of crazy prices on the e46 M3 with outrageous mileage on them. When looking for this past daily driver, that was a big factor in me picking up the 128i as I was looking to get back into an M3.

But I got a great car at 60% less price and half the mileage or more. Plus I didn't have to worry about how hard the previous owner ran the car. A lot of people with the M3 drive it like it's stolen!

I did a little "canyon carving" today in the 128.....and it impresses me everytime I drive it!
Lol I just recently installed ///M controls arms (front and back) with bilstein coilovers, along with other suspension refreshers and I was planning on going to for proper canyon carving today for the first time after install but my friend had his f80 M3 in the shop so maybe next week. .....but man there is a local short canyon around my place, and this puppy is AMAZING, i only pushed it about 80% though and I'm running 19" rims too with 225 / 245 setup....can't even imagine what would happen with 235 / 265 18" setup. And the fact it is 6 speed Manual is a plus !!! I love this car man !!!

Last edited by SayHack; 03-17-2019 at 01:37 AM..
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      03-16-2019, 10:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
Are you kidding? You can make any car arbitrarily well-performing with enough money but you already know this is a silly question.
Here's my thinking. The 1 series M is a favorite car for many reviewers and BMW fans. It's basically 135i with suspension bolt ons and LSD from the E90 M3. All those suspension parts can be put on a 128i and many people here have done that or even better with aftermarket coilovers.

The twin turbo N54 in the 1M/135i is a monster but I personally prefer a normally aspirated engine like the S54 of the E46 M3. I figure an N52 can make about 280 crank HP with a 330i intake manifold, bolt ons and tune. That's a good deal less and the 333 HP S54 but that engine is about 200 lbs heavier than an N52. The E46 M3 overall is about 3400 lbs, so ballpark it has 10::1 weight to horsepower. A 128i with a lighter aftermarket exhaust system, coilovers and wheels should be around 3000 lbs so power to weight is a little less but close. With a shorter final drive could it be nearly as quick as the M3? And with the E82 being so much lighter and having a shorter wheelbase I wonder if it's the more fun car?
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      03-17-2019, 12:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiBimmer View Post
Here's my thinking. The 1 series M is a favorite car for many reviewers and BMW fans. It's basically 135i with suspension bolt ons and LSD from the E90 M3. All those suspension parts can be put on a 128i and many people here have done that or even better with aftermarket coilovers.

The twin turbo N54 in the 1M/135i is a monster but I personally prefer a normally aspirated engine like the S54 of the E46 M3. I figure an N52 can make about 280 crank HP with a 330i intake manifold, bolt ons and tune. That's a good deal less and the 333 HP S54 but that engine is about 200 lbs heavier than an N52. The E46 M3 overall is about 3400 lbs, so ballpark it has 10::1 weight to horsepower. A 128i with a lighter aftermarket exhaust system, coilovers and wheels should be around 3000 lbs so power to weight is a little less but close. With a shorter final drive could it be nearly as quick as the M3? And with the E82 being so much lighter and having a shorter wheelbase I wonder if it's the more fun car?
Engine wise, mine is 100% stock, but yeah with bolt ons, i agree with the numbers you came up with, its doable. The 3000 lb though, I think you're pushing it a little. 3200 is likely what you can achieve, unless you strip the car or something like that.

Im 99.9% sure that you can have as much fun with an e82 than with e46 ///M3. One thing i can tell you from my experience is that i rather have a car that handles better but is slow than vise versa. Its an amazing car bone stock but you put some money in suspension and it will out-handle an ///M3 100%. (but M3 is still faster, going back to your original question but driving pleasure isn't just about being fast) Maybe its just me but I love my car.
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      03-17-2019, 05:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayHack View Post
Lol I just recently installed ///M controls arms (front and back) with bilstein coilovers, along with other suspension refreshers and I was planning on going to for proper canyon carving today for the first time after install but my friend had his f80 M3 in the shop so maybe next week. .....but man there is a local short canyon around my place, and this puppy is AMAZING, i only pushed it about 80% though and I'm running 19" rims too with 225 / 245 setup....can't even imagine what would happen with 235 / 265 18" setup. And the fact it is 6 speed Manual is a plus !!! I love this car man !!!
Mine is a 6 speed as well! I will be going with a 235 18" square setup within the next few weeks.

I have all the bolt-ons here ready to go when I have time. But I did get to accomplish the rear diff swap to the 3:73's.....and it made that particular drive a lot more fun!

Gears are a must in my opinion on these cars!
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      03-17-2019, 05:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayHack View Post
Engine wise, mine is 100% stock, but yeah with bolt ons, i agree with the numbers you came up with, its doable. The 3000 lb though, I think you're pushing it a little. 3200 is likely what you can achieve, unless you strip the car or something like that.

Im 99.9% sure that you can have as much fun with an e82 than with e46 ///M3. One thing i can tell you from my experience is that i rather have a car that handles better but is slow than vise versa. Its an amazing car bone stock but you put some money in suspension and it will out-handle an ///M3 100%. (but M3 is still faster, going back to your original question but driving pleasure isn't just about being fast) Maybe its just me but I love my car.
What's the old saying....it's more fun to drive a slow car fast....than a fast car slow?

I've done the same road in my 460/460 rwhp/RWTQ vette. The vette never really gets to stretch it's legs on it. But the 128 with the gear swap was perfect. I actually got to interact with the road....going through the gearbox just finding it's sweet spots.
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      03-17-2019, 01:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmtt View Post
Mine is a 6 speed as well! I will be going with a 235 18" square setup within the next few weeks.

I have all the bolt-ons here ready to go when I have time. But I did get to accomplish the rear diff swap to the 3:73's.....and it made that particular drive a lot more fun!

Gears are a must in my opinion on these cars!
Yeah I hear the 3.73 is fun but it doesn't intrigue me at the moment....square setup sounds good.
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      03-18-2019, 10:28 AM   #12
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I would love to find a blend of parts that made my 128i feel like the S54 M3
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      03-18-2019, 02:15 PM   #13
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I'm FBO 6spd, any E46 want the sauce?
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      03-18-2019, 03:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayHack View Post
Engine wise, mine is 100% stock, but yeah with bolt ons, i agree with the numbers you came up with, its doable. The 3000 lb though, I think you're pushing it a little. 3200 is likely what you can achieve, unless you strip the car or something like that.

Im 99.9% sure that you can have as much fun with an e82 than with e46 ///M3. One thing i can tell you from my experience is that i rather have a car that handles better but is slow than vise versa. Its an amazing car bone stock but you put some money in suspension and it will out-handle an ///M3 100%. (but M3 is still faster, going back to your original question but driving pleasure isn't just about being fast) Maybe its just me but I love my car.
I used to own an LSB E46M3. Beautiful car. After buying the 128, my goals were to make it as capable as my older E36M3. So far, I found it a much more friendly drive on the street, and think it handles better than the E46 and equal to the E36. The E46 felt so much bigger and heavier that the 128. Now with bolt-ons, I don't feel that the 128 is any slower, but its way more fun to drive at the limit. The 128 is a keeper once you take care of the suspension and do bolt-ons.

The 128 also needs some helps in the looks department vs the M cars. So keep that in mind.


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      03-18-2019, 04:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markslc1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SayHack View Post
Engine wise, mine is 100% stock, but yeah with bolt ons, i agree with the numbers you came up with, its doable. The 3000 lb though, I think you're pushing it a little. 3200 is likely what you can achieve, unless you strip the car or something like that.

Im 99.9% sure that you can have as much fun with an e82 than with e46 ///M3. One thing i can tell you from my experience is that i rather have a car that handles better but is slow than vise versa. Its an amazing car bone stock but you put some money in suspension and it will out-handle an ///M3 100%. (but M3 is still faster, going back to your original question but driving pleasure isn't just about being fast) Maybe its just me but I love my car.
I used to own an LSB E46M3. Beautiful car. After buying the 128, my goals were to make it as capable as my older E36M3. So far, I found it a much more friendly drive on the street, and think it handles better than the E46 and equal to the E36. The E46 felt so much bigger and heavier that the 128. Now with bolt-ons, I don't feel that the 128 is any slower, but its way more fun to drive at the limit. The 128 is a keeper once you take care of the suspension and do bolt-ons.

The 128 also needs some helps in the looks department vs the M cars. So keep that in mind.


Do you have a build thread or list of mods?
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      03-18-2019, 05:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markslc1 View Post
I used to own an LSB E46M3. Beautiful car. After buying the 128, my goals were to make it as capable as my older E36M3. So far, I found it a much more friendly drive on the street, and think it handles better than the E46 and equal to the E36. The E46 felt so much bigger and heavier that the 128. Now with bolt-ons, I don't feel that the 128 is any slower, but its way more fun to drive at the limit. The 128 is a keeper once you take care of the suspension and do bolt-ons.

The 128 also needs some helps in the looks department vs the M cars. So keep that in mind.



I owned 2 e36 M3 , and yes everything you said I agree with you 100%
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      03-19-2019, 03:55 PM   #17
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I couldn't find a manual 128i near me so I test drove an auto. It feels a lot lighter than my old 135i. Lighter and more nimble compared to both an E46 M3. I know the differences are only a few hundred pounds
but it was still surprising.

I wouldn't call the 128i fast compared to an N54 car or M car but it went a lot quicker than I expected. I like the NA power delivery and revs fast from to 4K on up. The N52 is a gem.

An aside, I like interior of the E82 more than the E46. The E90 feels more luxurious by a little but the dimension of the E82 feel more cozy.
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      03-20-2019, 10:11 AM   #18
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Build the N52 to 130i spec and enjoy. I love the E46M3 but it's so hard to find one that hasn't been totally molested and the S54 engine is going to require more care than the N52 1er.
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      03-20-2019, 11:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ShocknAwe View Post
Build the N52 to 130i spec and enjoy. I love the E46M3 but it's so hard to find one that hasn't been totally molested and the S54 engine is going to require more care than the N52 1er.
That plus the suspension I'd want to do and I'm about at the cost of an E90 M3. The mods on the 128i won't have resale value though the E90 M3 will cost more to maintain. Apple vs orange cars I admit. Food for thought. I did put out a call in a separate post if anyone has a well modded 128i near Chicago.
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      03-20-2019, 01:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiBimmer View Post
That plus the suspension I'd want to do and I'm about at the cost of an E90 M3. The mods on the 128i won't have resale value though the E90 M3 will cost more to maintain. Apple vs orange cars I admit. Food for thought. I did put out a call in a separate post if anyone has a well modded 128i near Chicago.
3L straight six is a totally different animal to the S65. S65 is my favourite engine from BMW, but I wouldn't really want to own one at this time I think.

Also, E9x M3 is too big. Now. S65 in a 1er, you're singing my song.
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      03-20-2019, 02:44 PM   #21
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3L straight six is a totally different animal to the S65. S65 is my favourite engine from BMW, but I wouldn't really want to own one at this time I think.

Also, E9x M3 is too big. Now. S65 in a 1er, you're singing my song.
Man....wouldn't that be awesome!!
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      03-20-2019, 02:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertman123 View Post
I'm FBO 6spd, any E46 want the sauce?
I can't wait until I can say that. I'm slowly getting there. Rear diff done, tune ordered from BPC for my 3SI to go on.....then I will do my headers and tune upgrade.

Lastly have my Milvs here, but I will probably drive to BPC and have them do the install and knock out the VCG for preventative maintenance....then let them do a custom dyno tune.

I bet your car is night and day different between stock and FBO!
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