Find out why the Vorsteiner E46 BMW M3 is worth $140,000 | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • Vorsteiner is celebrating its 20th anniversary by developing the high-performance E46 BMW M3, complete with a carbon fiber body kit and various upgrades.
  • The modified M3 features lightweight carbon fiber body panels, carbon bucket seats, and carbon fiber interior trim, resulting in a weight reduction of approximately 200 pounds.
  • While the car has impressive performance and handling, there are some drawbacks, including the SMG II’s slow gearbox and disappointing exhaust note, which Vorsteiner plans to address based on feedback.

For those of us of a certain age, it’s more than likely that there’s a car you’ve been reluctantly forced to sell. Be it the sale of a loved one sports car to make room for a bigger, safer, family SUV, or if finances are tight and you need to raise capital, it’s never going to be easy.

For Vorsteiner founder and CEO Peter Nahm, that car was the E46 BMW M3 – Used the money to start an aftermarket wheel company almost 20 years ago. Since then, Vorsteiner has gone from strength to strength to become one of the preeminent modern wheel companies in the industry, along with Gunther Werks, maker of some of the wildest and most expensive Porsche restomods money can buy.

In a full-circle moment like few others, Vorsteiner has been busy designing its own definitive E46 BMW M3 to present to Us as a 20th anniversary gift since the company was founded. To see what the car looks like, Zach Klapman of TheSmokingTire YouTube channel rode it in the canyons of Los Angeles and has a few gripes about some of the choices Forsteiner made with this German car performance.


Why the E46 BMW M3 CSL is worth a fortune today

The E46 BMW M3 CSL is highly prized among enthusiasts, which is why its value has skyrocketed over the years.

This E46 BMW M3 has been on a carbon fiber diet

Technical characteristics of the Vorsteiner E46 BMW M3


3.2-liter atmospheric in-line six-cylinder engine


Front engine, rear drive

Method of transmission

6-speed automatic mechanics


380 hp

A turning point



3260 lbs

(figures courtesy of YouTube @ TheSmokingTire)

While Vorsteiner is mostly known for its wheels, the company also produces a range of carbon fiber body panels for a range of sports cars, SUVs and even a pair of Teslas. Their latest development, dubbed the V20 kit, is a complete CSL overhaul for the E46 M3 and will set you back a solid $11,795 for the body panels alone.

This show car isn’t just an M3 with a few carbon body panels, where almost every little piece, inside and out, has been tweaked or modified in some way. Even though the iconic E46 M3 CSL never officially came to the US, it still became the benchmark for any E46 owner looking to get a little more out of their stock M3, and the Vorsteiner is no different.


Everything you need to know about the 2001 BMW M3 GTR Coupe

Twenty years after its launch, we still haven’t forgotten the mighty 2001 BMW M3 GTR.

Up front, this M3 now features a CSL-style carbon front bumper, with Vorsteiner ditching the asymmetric styling and air ducts on either side of the bumper. The lower lip is also now uniform across. This M3 also features a carbon fiber hood with rear-facing carbon vents that exit either side, presumably to dissipate heat from the engine bay more effectively. The rear of the car also gets a carbon finish with a new CSL-style rear diffuser and a ducktail spoiler integrated into the trunk.

Inside, there are now two Gunther Werks one-piece carbon bucket seats, carbon fiber door cards and center console, and plenty of Alcantara at every touch point. The carbon parts continue under the hood with a carbon spoiler and CSL-style air box, and Zach says the M3 now weighs about 200 pounds less than stock as a result.

Vorsteiner also gave this M3 more performance

Vorsteiner E46 BMW M3 key parts

  • Wheel and carbon aerospace company Vorsteiner is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and made this E46 BMW M3 as a gift to itself
  • Vorsteiner is also the parent company of Gunther Werks, who builds wild custom Porsche restomods.
  • This M3 features a new CSL-inspired V20 carbon aerokit, as well as a set of full carbon seats, carbon door cards and a carbon center console.
  • Overall, the car weighs no less than 200 pounds less than factory stock
  • This M3 also features Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, a 4.10 rear axle, and a full racing exhaust.
  • Zach praises the ride, handling, feel and performance, but finds the BMW SMG II’s transmission slow and the exhaust noise disappointing

In addition to the weight reduction, this M3 also features Ohlins Road and Track suspension on all four corners, front and rear wishbones, and a large Brembo GT brake kit, with the latter providing the best braking feel of any E46 M3 Zach has driven. , he says. Under the hood, the S54’s now-iconic 3.2-liter naturally aspirated inline-six remains pretty much standard, aside from the aforementioned carbon airbox.


The evolution of the BMW M-series in photos from 1978 to today

BMW’s M division has built some of the baddest cars ever to come out of Germany, and they’ve changed a lot since their inception.

However, this M3 has a full Super Sprint Race exhaust and ECU tuning that means this E46 makes 380 hp. on the crank, on 47 hp. more than at the factory. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a BMW SMG II 6-speed semi-automatic transmission that features faster CSL shift settings and a revised 4.10 rear axle that gives the car better low-end acceleration compared to the factory 3.64 rear. .

Zach has a lot to say about the updated M3

To see how all these changes affect the driving experience, Zach takes the Vorsteiner M3 for a blast through the canyons of Los Angeles, and first impressions are very positive. Zach himself owns an E46 M3 so he has a perfect reference point.

The first thing that strikes Zach is how different the steering is on this car compared to the other E46 M3s that Zach has driven. One of the main problems Zach has with the stock car is that the steering can feel too heavy and indirect, and have too much dead zone just off-center.


One of the last German sports cars that you can still drive in your own gears

YouTuber Ben Hardy took a look at the 2024 BMW M2, the last BMW M car to have a manual transmission before they went fully automatic.

While this car still has the same dead zone, the steering is much lighter and more direct than Zach’s E46. Zach attributes this to lightweight, forged three-piece Vorsteiner GTE-352 wheels (worth more than $3,000 a turn) and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, staggered 235 front and 275 rear. The Ohlins shocks also provide a great compromise between compliance and directness – performing well on the highway and in the canyons.

While Zac wishes the carbon bucket seats had a bit more padding, he says they hold him in place remarkably well. Zach is also a big fan of the upgraded 4.10 rear end, saying it provides a much more usable power range in each gear for canyon driving compared to the stock car.

However, not all updates are positive

A shot of the rear of a blue E46 BMW M3 2005
via TheSmokingTire (YT)

E46 BMW M3 Market value


Average market value

Highest selling price

51,140 USD

30,364 USD

339,120 USD

(figures provided Kelly’s Blue Book/

While the rear axle update is certainly a positive, the BMW SMG II’s transmission is still too slow and lackluster, even with the CSL software update. Zach says it’s the main thing that dates the car, and while it doesn’t detract from the driving experience, he finds it disappointing. Fortunately, the SMG II is essentially an automated manual transmission rather than a fully automatic, so there are conversion kits to add a third pedal and a gear lever – something Zach recommends.

Zach’s one minor complaint is that he struggles to feel the weight reduction on the road. He says it would be more obvious on the track if he were racing someone else, but he tries to get a feel for the impact of driving in isolation.

However, Zach’s biggest complaint about the Vorsteiner M3 is the sound. For many BMW enthusiasts, the naturally aspirated straight-six is ​​one of the loudest engines ever produced, but unfortunately, the Super Sprint exhaust system on this car alters the sound characteristics so much that it’s barely recognizable.

Zac disparagingly compares the noise to a Nissan 350Z and says it’s just not what he wants from a street M3, with the exhaust note completely drowning out the induction noise. Vorsteiner has since said it will change the exhaust based on feedback. Overall, though, Zach is a big fan of the work Vorsteiner has done with this M3, and while he would change a few things here and there, he concludes by calling the car “stunning both visually and dynamically.”

Sources: YouTube @ TheSmokingTire, Kelly Blue Book,

Leave a Comment