Is the BMW E46 Coupe a Good Automobile for Canine House owners?

We’ve watched the BMW E46 coupe evolve from an immediate icon to a driving-enthusiast benchmark to what it’s at present: A contemporary traditional, and nonetheless a fantastic worth for individuals who love driving and don’t thoughts spending vitality on upkeep. Tomes have already been written about peoples’ love for these vehicles, however at present we’re going to speak about what canine consider them.

Let’s go! Andrew P. Collins

The 343-horsepower M3 is after all the delight of the road, however even a primary variant is pleasurable to drive if it’s in good situation. Our instance car is, for my part, the second-best E46 for individuals who don’t wish to drop M cash—a 330ci ZSP. Whereas the ZHP is the “non-M particular” you normally hear about (that one obtained a warmer cam and funky gauge needles, amongst different issues) the ZSP sport bundle contains sufficient goodies (particularly, nicer seats and suspension) to squeeze a fantastic drive out of the E46 chassis with out additional modifications. I additionally suppose the pre-facelift headlights (2003 and older) look superior to what BMW did afterward.

The E46 was obtainable as a four-door sedan or perhaps a wagon, both of which might be objectively simpler to load a canine into. However the coupe has the long-lasting look of considered one of BMW’s greatest eras, so our canine simply need to make do.

Click on right here to see extra canine automobile opinions. We drop a brand new one each month.

Welcome to Will It Canine, The Drive‘s automobile assessment collection for canine homeowners. Right here we’ll have a look at what a BMW E46 (1999-2005) coupe’s wish to reside with when you’ve got canine and level out any particular elements that assist or damage its case as a canine taxi.

Our important check canine Bramble, Indi, and Silas are littermates; half Golden Retriever (dad) and half Australian Shepherd (mother). Bramble’s the smallest at 40-odd kilos whereas her brothers are about 60 kilos apiece. They’re energetic animals however snug with automobile rides, harnesses, and journey. You’ll be able to click on right here to see my favourite photograph of them.

Which snoot would you boop first?

2003 BMW 330ci ZSP Specs for Canine House owners

  • Base worth when new (normal costs at present): $35,600 ($3,500-$7,500)
  • Seating capability (individuals): 5 (4, actually)
  • Seating capability (canine): 2 (comfortably)
  • EPA gasoline economic system: 18 mpg metropolis | 27 freeway | 22 mixed
  • Noticed gasoline economic system: About 26 mpg over 1000’s of miles
  • Cargo quantity: 14.5 cu. ft.
  • Dimensions:
  • Rear seat to ground top: 13 inches
  • Rear seat to ceiling top: 35 inches
  • Door sill to floor top: 14 inches
  • Trunk opening to floor top: 28 inches
  • Rear seating width (widest level): 56 inches
  • Rear cargo width (important usable space): 35 inches
  • Fast take: A non-M can nonetheless be an incredible automobile to drive if it’s in good condition, and a coupe can nonetheless be a viable canine taxi if the again seats are this good.
  • Will It Canine Rating: 6/10

Inside Supplies and Structure

After about 160,000 miles and 20 years of steady use, our BMW 330ci has had a a lot harsher supplies check than the brand new vehicles we normally have a look at. The headliner nonetheless seems pretty however the A, B, and C pillar upholstery is molting like an adolescent penguin. Liners across the doorways have utterly indifferent. The wooden trim has developed a number of cracks you possibly can see, however not really feel. The leather-based, arduous plastic, and rubber surfaces have held up remarkably effectively, although. There are just about no cuts or scratches in any of that stuff.

“Did anyone say ‘stick’?!”Andrew P. Collins

So far as coupes go, the ergonomics and structure are nonetheless as distinctive because it was twenty years in the past. Most significantly, the rear seat is massive sufficient for 2 human adults. Meaning two large-breed canine may sit collectively for prolonged intervals with out fear. There’s technically a center rear seat and we did cram three animals within the again briefly, however that begins to make issues fairly tight.

A beneficiant trunk in again holds loads of cargo when the passenger cab is full, though you possibly can’t snap the entire rear seat down, limiting your flexibility considerably.

Climbing In and Out

The entrance seats collapse ahead very simply; a handbook lever like what we now have right here is so significantly better than watching slightly electrical motor tediously buzz the seat ahead. The ground is low sufficient {that a} small-medium canine in good well being would don’t have any downside hopping into the rear footwell and both staying down there (as Bramble did as a pup) or hopping up onto the seat.

Our agility-trained animals had been gleefully bounding from the again seat to the entrance whereas we tried to take photos of them, however different canine may should be lifted straight into the again in the event that they’re confused by the prospect of compacting by the folded entrance seat. Fortunately, a reasonably beneficiant door opening makes this not too troublesome.

Actually, I had a neater time loading and containing canine on this than I did within the four-door GR Corolla. For what it’s price, the E46 coupe’s again seat is extra snug for people too.

Driving With the Canine

Our 40-pound feminine and the near-60-pound male shepherd/retriever mutts match actually properly within the butt valleys of the E46’s again seat. The truth is, larger canine can curl up and keep fairly effectively tucked as soon as they settle in.

One of many E46 coupe’s distinctive options is a “push-out” fashion rear window, the place as an alternative of rolling down, the again home windows really come out about an inch from the rear. This could be a good technique to get the animals recent air with out letting them get their heads out the window.

For low-speed cruising and sniffing, we now have discovered that Bramble actually likes to relaxation her head on a shoulder and get her snout out the entrance home windows. This lets her get a very good whiff of the wind with out permitting her to leap out after squirrels. Operating a harness that buckles to the automobile’s seat belts retains her in place even higher, and nonetheless lets her stand within the center seat to look out the entrance windshield.

Driving in Normal

I used to be slightly underwhelmed when my spouse and I first took supply of this automobile at about 140,000 miles. The engine was warm-butter clean, however the steering sucked and normal dealing with was nowhere close to the legendary standing I’d heard about this stuff. A fast examination of the underside revealed toasted LCA bushings (essential to front-wheel positioning), wonky brake rotors, and oh yeah—the tires had been historical.

A silver pre-LCI E46 coupe is quintessential BMW to me. It would be cooler if it had been an M3, however a 330ci ZSP continues to be loads of automobile for the cash. Andrew P. Collins

Rectifying all of the above reworked the automobile markedly, and when you’ve obtained an older E46 that feels slightly disappointing I’d encourage you to interchange all of the little rubber bits that are actually effectively previous retirement age regardless of what number of miles are in your chassis.

The shifter on ours is slightly rubbery (I believe some recent bushings would change issues there, too) however clutch and throttle really feel nice. Strolling this automobile as much as the pace restrict on an on-ramp is a pleasure, and even higher is carving mountain roads with the home windows down and sunroof open.

Pack Hauling

Carrying two decent-sized canine is completely doable in an E46 coupe, although it’s slightly powerful earlier than they settle. God assist you when you’ve obtained to hold multiple throughout a coat blowout (shedding season) because the cockpit will rapidly grow to be fogged with flying fur. The gray leather-based and inside trim really hides the merle-colored hair fairly effectively, although.

If this had been an album cowl, what style is the band? Andrew P. Collins

Carrying Kennels

No kennel goes to slot in the trunk, and also you’re undoubtedly not going to get any hard-sided field into the backseat. Whereas some collapsable arduous kennels will be made to slot in the trunk, bigger crates gained’t (even folded). It’s too unhealthy as a result of the trunk seems fairly huge, however the form is hard for crates. The tent-style kennel we now have folds up and tucks into the E46’s trunk properly, with room to spare, however these are solely helpful in case your canine will be contained by material partitions at your vacation spot.

BMW E46 Coupe Canine-Friendliness Verdict

A two-door 3 Collection is certainly not what I’d name a “dog-optimized” automobile, however having lived with our 40-pound child Bramble for a few 12 months now and utilizing this as our important each day driver, the coupe design has actually not been that a lot of an inconvenience because of a still-generous backseat and trunk.

Andrew P. Collins

If we needed to carry two canine commonly, it could be fairly powerful. And three … no.

One canine as much as about 65 kilos is completely wonderful in considered one of these. Any larger and the ingress/egress may get fairly annoying, particularly because the canine age. However if you need an E46 coupe and have a canine, or you might have a canine and try to determine when you may get away with the coupe and nonetheless carry them, I’d say go for it so long as you’re not fearful about transporting a big crate.

Featured Canine Automobile Gear and Journey Equipment

  • Harness: Kurgo Tru-Match Enhanced Power ($39.05 on Amazon)
  • Seat Cowl: Kurgo Wander ($69.95 on Amazon)
  • Laborious Kennel: PetMate Vari Kennel (1998 mannequin, $NLA) (Related: $159.50 on Amazon)
  • Tender Kennel: Backcountry x Petco Foldable Canine Journey Crate ($169.99 at Petco)

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Andrew P. Collins

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