The E46 are the engines that BMW users rate the best. Petrol and diesel versions


Market prices for individual car models range from a few units to tens of thousands. In the case of more expensive ones, we are talking about the best options for drive units that were installed on the E46. Engines worth paying attention to can be found in our text. Read now!

E46 - engines offered by BMW

The line of power units for the E46 included both in-line sixes and four-cylinder options. During the production period, the car was also offered with six diesel engine options and as many as fourteen petrol engines. 

It is worth mentioning that the spread of the E46 model was associated with the introduction for the first time of a gasoline unit equipped with direct fuel injection. The smallest engine that was installed on cars of the German manufacturer was the 316i with 105 hp, and the largest was the M3 CSL with 360 hp.

E46 - 320i, 325i and 330i engines were among the most popular

The most popular E46 engines were the 320 or 150 hp 170i. It had six cylinders and is still on the road today. It has a high work culture and consumes little fuel.

Buyers' first choice was often 325i-powered models, which were more fun to drive. An even more powerful version of the 231i with 330 hp was also popular.

User reviews of BMW engines

Despite such a variety, it was difficult to find products with a lot of rejects. With proper handling (warming up before starting off and regular oil changes), the power units worked without interruption for quite a long time. However, with use, some glitches appeared.

They included eg. problems with camshaft sensors. Delivered inconvenience and defects associated with turbines and swirl dampers that were installed on diesel units. When they loosened in the intake manifold and entered the combustion chamber, it led to serious engine failures.

Engine operation - what elements were most faulty?

Among the most faulty components were mass air flow sensors, as well as camshaft and crankshaft sensors. Owners of BMW E46 models with a 330d diesel also complained about turbocharger failures with high-pressure fuel pumps.

One of the safest solutions when it comes to operating the engines fitted to the BW E46 is a manual transmission. It responds great and is not associated with any problems for a long time. However, the automatic transmission developed by General Motors could cause problems and did not function properly at high engine torque when the transmission was damaged.

What to remember when choosing a BMW E46?

Despite the years that have passed, the BMW E46 is still one of the most sought after cars. The fourth generation has sold 3,2 million copies and many vehicles remain in good technical condition. However, you must be careful. Some of them have been tuned by amateurs. There were also problems with the rear axle characteristic of this car model. Therefore, it is always worth making sure that the model you are looking at is worthy of your attention.

What determines the price of individual models?

You should also be aware that the price will vary depending on the type of chassis you are looking for. The well-maintained versions of the Touring wagon are the ones to pay the most money, followed by the Saloon version on a par with the coupe and convertible. Among the cheapest options are definitely sedans and compact versions.

Unfortunately, you also have to pay attention to corrosion, which is quite often a problem in used BMW 3 Series E46 vehicles. The place where it can be found in most car models is in the wheel arches. It also appears on the hood or tailgate in place of the handle.

Should I buy a used BMW 3?

This car is likely to be a good choice for anyone who wants to start their adventure with BMW or learn about the solutions that have given the brand a well-deserved reputation. The cars are affordable, and many models are still in good technical condition, both in terms of bodywork, interior, and the heart of the E46 models - the engines.

A well-made steering system is still able to give a lot of emotions thanks to good dynamics and quick response to user movements. Add to that a comfortable interior and powerful and efficient drives that provide good performance, the BMW E46 is a good choice as a used car and definitely worth picking if you have a model in good condition in mind.

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