The BMW E46 3-Series was first introduced in Europe in 1998 and in the US in 1999 with the E46 323i and E46 328i. The E46 model range was expanded in 2000 with the E46 328Ci and E46 323Ci coupes and convertibles. The E46 continued to grow in 2001 in the US market with the E46 325i, E46 325Ci, E46 330i and E46 330Ci. Despite the great engineering feats gone to produce a well performing BMW 3 Series from the factory, there are many E46 Modifications available to improve acceleration, handling, aerodynamics and more.
E46 Performance Modifications
The BMW E46 3-Series has a well tuned inline 6 engine from the factory that can greatly benefit from improvements in the intake system, software tuning for BMW, exhaust system and even superchargers.
aFe Power produces high performance cold air intake systems for the E46 including the E46 330i, E46 325i and E46 M3. The aFe cold air intake system provides better flow and performance over the stock airbox which is designed to reduce noise and emissions. In addition, you can choose from the aFe Pro 5R or aFe Pro Dy S filter elements for better flow and performance over the factory BMW paper air filter.
The Active Autowerke ECU tuning upgrade will maximize power gains from other modifications by tweaking the air:fuel ratios and other parameters for a truly custom BMW ECU tune. These are geared towards stock vehicles as well as modified E46 3 series to ensure that the software is custom produced for your specific application. In addition, you can do the Shark Software tune for the E46 which is a simpler upgrade that does not yield as much power but still is a substantial improvement over stock.
The BMW exhaust system is very good from the factory but also quiet and restrictive. Aftermarket exhausts for E46 3 series are available from the likes of Remus Exhausts for BMW, Active Autowerke E46 Exhausts, Eisenmann BMW exhausts and much more. These systems vary in sound and cost but will all improve flow and performance- a must for any E46 3 series with a cold air intake.
E46 Suspension Modifications
The E46 Suspension is good for a factory system but can be vastly improved with springs, springs and shocks or coilovers. H&R Sport Springs for the E46 are a great alternative to the factory springs that will improve handling and lower the car without being too aggressive for street use. If you are looking for a complete suspension upgrade for the E46, then it is best to get a spring and shock replacement such as the Koni FSD/Eibach Pro Kit or the H&R Cup Kit. These are matched spring and shock combos that improve performance and lower the car.
Coilovers for BMW are the ultimate upgrade for your E46 3 series. These adjustable suspension systems allow you to dial in the ride height and in some cases, such as the KW V2 and BIlstein PSS10, you can adjust the rebound and compression settings.
E46 Exterior Parts
The E46 3 series is well styled but can benefit from upgraded bumpers like the M3 Bumper for the E46 3 series. In addition, you can do the M Tech II bumper for the E46 to change the look to a more aggressive setup. E46 matte black grills are also a popular upgrade to give the car a more aggressive look.
The Vorsteiner CSL trunk is a popular upgrade for coupes that reduces weight and improves downforce for maximum stability at high speeds. The RD Sport E46 parts line includes fenders, a front bumper, and a rear tornado bumper for the E46. Finally, the M3 lip spoiler is a popular upgrade for the stock E46 trunk that provides a clean look.
E46 Interior Parts
The E46 Interior is one of ergonomic perfection but can be tailored to your needs with custom alcantara shift boots and carbon fiber shift knobs. You can also change the lighting to LED interior lights with the Bimmian Interior Xenon Kit for the E46.
Many E46 models do not come from the factory with xenon headlights so you can change those out with the Projector46 Headlights. These are full projector headlight replacements with LED angel eyes for a complete plug and play error free setup.
If you wish to add angel eyes to your E46, you can do the WeissLicht LED angel eyes which are a direct fit into the factory E46 halogen or E46 xenon headlights. Finally, you can do LED turn signals and LED license plate lights for E46 to change the exterior to a xenon white look.