Here are the coolest mods for a BMW M3 E46

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Bmw The M3s have been popular for years among the mod community and “built, not bought” because they combine exceptional performance, a killer look and a relatively affordable price. Currently, the E46 M3 are among the cheapest on the market, probably due to their age. They’re too old now for those looking for a ‘modern’ M3, but they’re not yet old enough to really be considered classics.

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This has allowed a whole new generation of modders to pick a cheap one and make it their own, and there are countless versions out there. From static floor scraping constructions to state-of-the-art racing machines, the E46 is as versatile as it is popular. There are mods for all budgets, too – from a few dollars to ten thousand dollars in conversions, it really depends on each owner. Let’s take a look at ten of the best mods that make everything E46 instantly cooler.


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Custom packing

The easiest and most visible way for an owner to add flavor to their car is through custom wrapping. Wraps are great because they allow owners to indulge their designs however they want while preserving the original paint underneath so the car can be restored at any time.

This is good news for collectors, who always appreciate a car with its original paintwork higher than a car with aftermarket paint. It also gives the owner complete freedom to swap their car designs as often as they want, without having to repaint anything.

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Rocket Rabbit Kit

Want to gain height and annoy some purists? A widebody kit is the way to go, and one of the major kit manufacturers is Rocket Bunny. They’ve provided aftermarket parts for almost all of the popular modding favorites, so it’s no surprise that they also offer a kit for the E46.

Often times, Rocket Bunny kits go along with other mods like a bagged suspension and stripped-down interior, so it’s unlikely to see an E46 that sports an RB kit as its only mod. It’s worth noting that adding a wide body kit is an irreversible change as it involves drilling through the original body panels, but hey, that’s part of the appeal for owners.

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Under-brightness

Some might dismiss it as a faded trend in the Fast and furious days of the mid-2000s, but it’s hard to deny that adding a tasteful undertaste doesn’t make an M3 look better. It works best when the car is stationary to begin with, so there is almost no room for light to escape under the car.

Adding underglow is illegal in some countries around the world, so it’s probably best to check local laws before deciding to add it to a car. It might sound cool, but it’s probably not worth a fine, especially in jurisdictions with tighter law enforcement.

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BBS wheels

There is a huge choice when it comes to sourcing aftermarket rims for an E46, but a particularly popular choice is the BBS range. Several high-profile E46 versions on Instagram use BBS rims, and they look perfect for the style and era of the car.

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Alternatively, rims like Rotiform or Work can look great depending on what type of build the owner is looking for. It’s worth paying a little extra for a branded set on a random set from eBay, as that alone can transform the look of the whole car.

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Bag suspension

The slammed look almost always suits the E46s, but given the car’s ride quality, it’s not worth sacrificing its on-road capabilities in search of a better fit. This is where the air suspension comes in: when the car is stationary, it can be lowered to sit on its wheels, but on the road, the suspension height can return to normal.

Buying an air suspension will cost more than coilovers or (shock horror) just cutting the springs, but it’s well worth it for the versatility it gives a car. Expect to pay several thousand dollars for a full set of air suspensions from most retailers.

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Racing seats

It’s not just the exterior that needs to look great on the best project cars, but the interior as well. Additionally, racing seats are a must have for anyone planning to dramatically increase the performance potential of their build.

Aftermarket seats like Recaro or Bride are always a good option, but it’s just as good to replace seats in a newer, higher-end BMW. For example, the car above has red seats on a newer F80 M3.

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Angel Eye headlights

An easy way to make a car more modern is to update its LED headlights, and Angel Eye lights are the best options for an E46. They have exploded in popularity in recent years, in part because they are perfect for replacing traditional retractable headlight bulbs.

The E46 doesn’t have pop-ups, but it still looks cool, and even better owners can tint the lights to their individual taste as well. It should be noted that, like sub-glow, changing the color of the headlights is illegal in some places, so it’s best to check before swapping anything.

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Hood vents

Really, there are two ways to add hood vents to an E46: making real ones, which will involve cutting off a section of the car’s hood or adding fake ones. Fakes are easier to install and cheaper to buy, but they will be visible up close.

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That said, there is no shame in using fake ones, as most modern cars use them anyway. The Honda Civic Type R, for example, has sparked a lot of debate over its use of fake vents, but if one of the world’s biggest automakers can do it, so can E46 modders.

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Window tint

Cheap, easy, and quick to install, Window Tint is one of the simplest mods of all. But do it right and it can make a car so much more beautiful. A slightly reflective tint adds an air of cohesion to builds with a brighter paintwork, and blacked-out windows add an old-fashioned VIP cruiser look.

It’s also a practically useful mod, as it gives drivers some privacy and also reduces glare from the sun. Just watch out for the cheap adhesive tint because it can peel off and look absolutely hideous.

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Hoop

For the more performance-oriented builders, a roll cage is one of the most expensive but also the most rewarding modifications to install. Adding one will mean removing the car from its chassis and adding the cage structure, so it’s best left to the professionals.

It will also cost a fortune, as high quality steel and labor costs are not cheap. But it’s not only a way to make an E46 cooler than ever, but also a way to meet safety standards for participating in competitive races. It’s one thing to just modify an M3 to look good, but to make an amazing looking competition race car, things are taken to the next level.


BMW M3 E36 via Forgestar

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