With all the electric cars being launched this week at the IAA auto show it’s easy to forget about good old ICE models. Don’t fret though, we’re not going to leave them all behind, especially if we’re talking about special engines, like the S54. In case you’re not an expert in BMW lingo, that’s the 3.2-liter straight six engine used on the BMW E46 M3. That’s one of the most loved powerplants out there but how does it withstand the test of time?
Well, one owner decided that he wants to find out. It’s truly a tricky decision to make because it can really hurt your ego. That’s because over time internal combustion engines tend to lose some of the power they came with when brand new. That’s mainly due to normal wear and tear, no matter how well you look after it. When talking about 173,000 miles (278,500 km) you’re probably looking at some serious wear and tear.
The car was put on the dyno and measured. Before we talk about the results, there are some mentions to be made. According to the owner, his particular M3 got a tune a while back which is supposed to raise the power up by 20-30 HP. Since the E46 M3 is claimed to come with some 333 HP, the car should be making in excess of 350 now, right? Well… It’s not far! The car showed 289 horsepower at the wheels.
Considering it uses an SMG gearbox and a drivetrain loss of around 20% which is rather normal for a 20-year old model, it adds up to about 347 HP. That’s impressive for a car this old and with so many miles on it. Furthermore, when it was bought, the current owner was looking for the cheapest M3 he could find and, at $3,000, we’d say he got a pretty sweet deal.