Who doesn’t love a random act of warm-hearted kindness? Especially when it involves making a weird BMW even weirder while parodying tuner cars and cliché car TV shows at the same time?

United Kingdom-based YouTube powerhouse Car Throttle recently did just that with an E46 BMW 3 Series Compact, a strange-looking short-body coupe we never got stateside. It makes for a really solid, good-feeling tale.

It all started back in the winter when the channel’s main cast member (Alex) needed a cheap daily to fill in for his other cheap daily, a 700 pounds-sterling Suzuki Vitara. He reached out to fans across the UK to see if anyone had anything for sale for cheap, and went with a wildly cheap E46 Compact being sold by a dude named Jack. That’s all detailed in the first video of this little series.

The E46 3 Series Compact is a pretty foreign thing from the American perspective. We’re generally familiar with the E36 version, but we never got the newer one. It’s basically a pre-cursor to the 1 Series. But unlike the 1 Series, it basically looks like a lobbed-off 3er coupe that’s had a bit of plastic surgery; can’t say I find it to be the prettiest car with a BMW roundel ever affixed to its hood.

Car Throttle Turned a BMW Into a Ridiculous Tuner Car Then Gave It Back to Its Previous Owner
A face only a mutter could love. Image: BMW (FavCars)

I must note: E36 compacts have been turned into really cool hill climb/rally cars, as well as spec circuit racers; I’d totally mob either one.

The E46 had independent multi-link suspension, which was a big plus, and was available with the reasonably-torquey M54 2.5-liter inline-six. They were also reasonably light; the fattest they got was never any more than 3,100 pounds. Though, most of the engines that came under their hoods were meh-spec inline-fours and diesels tuned for efficiency; there are jokes in the above videos’ comments sections about Googling turbo kits being the first thing that teenage BMW Compact drivers do.

Car Throttle Turned a BMW Into a Ridiculous Tuner Car Then Gave It Back to Its Previous Owner
Factory rear end, better than the front. Image: BMW (FavCars)

So, naturally, Car Throttle went to town doing what they could to make this car stand out and look fun on a reasonable budget, and I think it turned out pretty darn decent! Can’t say I’d do exactly the same, especially its wild Bōsōzoku exhaust, but to each their own. The heart wheels actually look pretty fun, and the interior looks clean and very Euro tuner… in a good way.

What’s really cool though is after having their fun with it, the Car Throttle crew gave it back to the dude they bought it from free of charge. They decided to do so after Jack became popular in the YouTube comments section. Apparently, Jack hasn’t been doing too well lately, too, so it’s especially nice to see this random act of kindness. Check out the video, it’s really cool!