Finding a car that ticks the daily-commute box but is also enjoyable at the weekend can be a bit of a conundrum. But if anything can fulfil that brief, it’s surely a BMW M3.
Let’s home in on the E46 of 2000 to 2006. It’s still the one most diehards regard as the finest, with handling, performance and comfort on its side. It can mix it with the best whether on a track day, a motorway or a simple trip to the shops. It’s still the bestselling M3 ever, at 85,766 units.
It came in coupé and convertible bodystyles, both driven by a 343bhp 3.2-litre straight six that could send them from 0-62mph in 5.1sec. And best of all, it redlined at 8000rpm. Buyers got the choice of a six-speed Getrag manual or sequential manual.
Despite its age, the M3’s kit list isn’t disgraced by those of new cars. Automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control, an electrochromatic, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and drive mode select were all standard.
The used market is flooded with examples that have optional extras, too, including 19in wheels, sat-nav, Bluetooth, parking sensors, heated seats, bi-xenon headlights and a Harman Kardon sound system.
Appreciating prices, due to the M3’s growing classic status, mean now is the time to buy. They start at around £10,000 (coupés attract a 10% premium over convertibles), rising to £40,000 for the best. Our eye was caught by a 2004 coupé with fewer than 100,000 miles, a full service history and lots of extras for £15,959.
For the ultimate, look to the lightened CSL. It commands a hefty premium over the standard M3; one low-mileage example recently sold at auction for around £120,000.