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The BMW E46 is the fourth generation of the 3 Series compact executive cars, produced by BMW. It was produced from 1998 when it succeeded the BMW E36.

The E46 was released in May 1998 to worldwide markets in the sedan body style. In 1999, a coupé and touring body style became available to all markets, and the sedan was released in the United States. A convertible and hatchback body style was released in 2000, the latter only for Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The E46 experienced enormous success in all markets and was widely considered the performance benchmark of its class. The record selling year for the E46 chassis was 2002, when 561,249 vehicles were sold worldwide.

///M Division

BMW M GmbH produced a high-performance variant of the E46 chassis, designated the M3. This version had a larger, more powerful engine, sportier suspension, a limited slip differential, and various aesthetic modifications. The M3 was released in 2001 and was available in coupé and convertible body styles. It was offered with two transmissions: a standard 6-speed manual or an optional sequential manual gearbox.

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