Changes by Model Year
Mid-year 1998 (MY 99)
- 316, 318, 320, 323, and 328 sedans are released to worldwide markets, designated “i”(excluding the US).
- 323 and 328 E46 Sedans introduced in the US (The 316 to 320 models were not released in the US to the general public at any point).
- E46 Coupe is launched into worldwide markets, designated “Ci” (excluding the US).
- E46 Touring is launched into worldwide markets, designated “iT” (excluding the US).
- E46 Coupe is launched into the US.
- E46 Touring is launched into the US.
- Dynamic Stability Control replaces Automatic Stability Control.
- Auto Recirculation becomes standard.
- The 323 has 15″ Alloy wheels standard (replacing hub caps for no-option package 323s).
- The Premium Package has wood trim and moonroof standard, with 16″ wheels only (no more 15″ offered).
- The 323 gets the Sport/Premium combo package offered.
- Power seats are a stand-alone option on 323.
Mid-year 2000 (9/99)
- Power seats with driver’s seat memory upgraded to include exterior mirror memory.
- Radio has clock function; as a result, an onboard computer function and the time can be displayed at the same time.
- Child seat tether anchorages added as standard equipment.
- Center console buttons redesigned.
- New key design
- Automatic transmission changes to Steptronic
- 323i is replaced by the 325i and receives a the new M54B25 engine
- 328i is replaced by the 330i and receives a the new M54B30 engine
- New sport steering wheel with circular airbag cover.
- New dual exhaust from headers to muffler.
- 325i sports package gets 17×8 style 44 wheels.
- 330: 17″ rims are standard
- 330: Sports package rims are changed to syle M68 with 17×7.5 up front and 17×8.5 in the rear.
- 330: Brakes are 1″ larger
- 330: Headlight washer jets standard on cold-weather package
- 330: Silver trim around headlights
- 330: “Updated” steering (more power assist)
- Coupes get titanium front spoiler trim.
Mid-year 2001 (3/01)
- 325i and 325iT: New standard equipment: foglights, cruise control, & automatic climate control
- 325Ci and 325Cic: New standard equipment: automatic Climate Control
- 330: Due to customer feedback, there was a midyear change back to a steering system with less boost, although more than 323s and 328s had. BMW offered a free “steering retrofit” to reduce the boost for some time. You now must pay for this retrofit. This only affected 2001 cars.
- 330i: New standard equipment: power Seats, Harman Kardon stereo, & sport suspension
- 330Ci & 330Cic: New standard equipment: Harman Kardon stereo
- NAV systems now have a widescreen 16×9 display.
- E46 Sedans and wagons receive a facelift: New headlight and taillight designs, side directional marker moved and re-shaped, new wider grille, new hood, new front bumpers for 325i and 330i without sport package.
- 330: 18″ wheel option offered
- 320d: Receives new engine 148 bhp (110 kW; 150 PS)
- Xenon headlight option upgraded to Bi-xenon configuration
Mid-year 2002 (9/02)
- Sirius satellite radio now pre-wired on non-navigation cars
- NAV system becomes DVD based (Mark IV NAV system). In addition, the navigation system will now be available with in-dash CD-player or cassette player.
- The sound system head unit now has a new auxiliary input (aux input kit required)
- Sedans receive third rear headrest and 3-point seatbelt.
- 325: Rain sensor and automatic headlight control will now be part of the Premium Package.
- 325: Front armrest will be standard in the sedan and sport wagon.
- 325: Moonroof will be standard in the sport wagon.
- 325: SULEV 325i, 325Ci, and 325iT are introduced with the M56 motor to meet new emission requirements. The SULEV M56 motor was offered optionally and only comes with the Steptronic transmission.
- 330: Tire Pressure Monitor replaces the Flat Tire monitor on vehicles with run-flat tires. The alarm display and button in the middle console remain unchanged.
- 330xi with Sport Package will come with 17″ all-season run-flat tires with styling 98 wheels (same as the current run-flat tire option).
Mid-year 2003 (3/03)
- Performance package introduced on the 330i sedan. It’s only offered with a manual transmission and NOT offered with the premium package.
- All E46s are now pre-wired for the BMW Bluetooth kit
- All 330 manual transmissions now 6-speed instead of 5-speed
Mid-year 2003 (6/03)
- M3 CSL production (1400 units)
Mid-year 2003 (9/03)
- All 330i/330xi Sedans, and 330Ci Coupes must be ordered with option 403 – moonroof.
- All 330Ci Convertibles must be ordered with ZPP – premium package.
- Myrtle wood is no longer available as a stand-alone option. It will only be available when the Premium Package is ordered.
- A new interior trim will be made available on all 3 Series. SA 426 or Aluminum “Brushed Columns” trim will be available as a no cost option when the Premium Package is ordered. If the Premium Package is ordered and SA 426 is not specified, the car will be equipped with Myrtle Wood trim (as before)
- Cars equipped with Navigation are now pre-wired for Sirius
Mid-year 2003 (10/03)
- SMG or Sequential Manual Gearbox available in conjunction with the sport package (not available in conjunction with the Performance Package or all-wheel drive models).
- Performance package now available on coupes and convertibles, as well as with the automatic transmission and the premium package (on all 330s).
- The climate control head unit has a new control button layout (temp, fan and recirculate control buttons) for simpler operation and ease of use.
- The rain sensor and automatic headlight control standard for all Sedans and Sports Wagons. These features were previously only available with the Premium Package (ZPP).
- Automatic STEPTRONIC transmission will be available in conjunction with the Performance Package.
- New Sport Package wheel for 325i Sedan and Sports Wagon. Styling 119 replaces Styling 96.
- New base wheel for the 330i/330xi Sedan and 325xi Sedan/Sports Wagon when equipped with the Sport Package. New wheel replaces Styling 73.
- Titanium exterior trim on the front grille and headlights is no longer different for 330i and 330xi Sedans. (The headlights are black and the front spoiler is a combination of black and body color.)
- Coupes and convertibles receive a face lift with a new front grille (larger “BMW kidneys”), revised lower bumper design and front/rear light redesign including LED tail lights, repositioned side turn signal lights and clear front corners on sport package cars.
- The Xenon headlight package was upgraded to the Adaptive Xenon package for coupes/convertibles only.
- 325i and 325iT: Styling 119 (17 x with performance tires replaces Styling 96 when the sport package (ZSP) is ordered.
- 330i/330xi get a new base wheels. 325xiT and 330xiT get new Sport Package wheels.
- Styling 137 (17 x 7) with all-season tires replaces Styling 73, also known as the Radial spoke.
- Lumbar seat support added to the premium package on the 325.
- CD shuttle became MP3 compatible
Mid-year 2005 (5/05)
- Performance package 330s get a perforated leather steering wheel instead of Jamica