BMW is German engineering summed up in one word, and their E46 3 series is a prime example. The model is almost 25 years old. You’ll see it being driven on the road by many enthusiasts even today because it was so ahead of its time. Unsurprisingly, there are ways to make it feel even more modern. The ID4Motion Digital Gauge Cluster for the E46 3 Series is one of them.
Let’s give a tribute to the legendary E46 3 Series and take a gander at the ID4Motion Digital Gauge Cluster.
History of The BMW E46 3 Series
The Background: Replacing the E36
The E36 BMW 3 Series was on its way out in the late 90s. It replaced the E30, which had made the 3 Series a force to be reckoned with. Despite being an underrated banger, the E36 almost didn’t fill the mighty shoes of its predecessor. That’s because it didn’t have an all-wheel drive. There was also criticism about the handling ability because of the suspension.
In the early 90s, BMW laid out the E46’s design. The aestheticism screamed aggressiveness. They also put back the AWD system, made the design more aerodynamic, and toughened up the chassis by almost 70pc more. The new design improved the handling by quite a bit. The E46 was introduced in 1997 and was available for the market. The previous model was to be slowly replaced, and history was to be made.
The E46 3 Series and its Reception
The E46 had a little bit of something for everybody. There’s a reason that your higher-end 3 series can compete in performance and handling with today’s cars. The engines were powerful and could give you bursts of acceleration like no other. This was remarkable as the car was heavier and bigger than the previous model.
The lower-end models, such as the 316i and the 318i, came with a choice of 4-cylinder engines. These made sure that the cars didn’t consume too much fuel while still having adequate amounts of power. The engine displacements ranged from 1.6 liters to 2.0 liters, based on the country and year. 5- and 6-speed gearboxes were available.
The models badged 320i and above featured a beastly 6-cylinder engine. These were the go-to cars for those that considered the entry-level variants underpowered. These bad boys featured a 2.0-liter engine starting at the 320i, going all the way up to the 3.0-liter powerhouse in the 330i. There was also a choice of 3 diesel engines in the 4- and 6-cylinder configurations, respectively.
There was also a plethora of body types, apart from the standard 4-door saloon variant. You could also choose from a 2-door coupe or convertible, a 5-door estate, or a 3-door hatchback. The latter is a rarer version. But judging by its reviews, that’s a good thing. All these cars looked apart from your usual road cars, and they continue to do so – as only a true classic can.
There were plenty of trim options available, with the higher-end ones emphasizing luxury and technology. The E46 came with technology that seemed like a long shot when the E36 came out. There were more gizmos and electronic systems available than a sci-Fi film.
BMW E46 M3
Naturally, the car fans received the E46 3 Series exceptionally well, so well that the E46 M3 became a cult classic. A large part of this is due to the M3 model, which came out in 2000. A prime example of this is the M3 GTR featured in the iconic Need For Speed Most Wanted game. If the E46 3 series have powerhouses under the bonnet, the standard M3 has a nuke – a 3.2-liter I6 with more than 330hp and 355 torques.
Timeless and Modern
The E46 is a treasure, and you can feel that whenever you see one on the road. Unlike the E36, this car isn’t used much as a trash-able drift car. It’s truly created to feel timeless, and now we try to make it look modern once more by developing a digital dash that will run the classic BMW gauges and won’t ruin the BMW soul. But with a button press will change in a racing look and displays a lot of data on the dash cluster.
It’s time to give the BMW E46 a new life. Subscribe to our newsletter to follow the development of the BMW 3 Series E46 Digital Cluster.
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