5 Best Spark Plugs for BMW e46 (Reviews) in 2022

You BMW owners love these sorts of things. Swapping out parts feels like a hobby to some of you.

But some of you actually need replacement spark plugs. Whether you belong to the former group or the latter one, if your engine misfires, it needs attention.

BMWs are compared to the epitome of modern automobile engineering. And yet, something as small as a spark plug might make it struggle to start.

We’ve all been here, trying to find the best spark plugs for BMW e46. Well, we got you e46 owners covered. We had the privilege to check out 20 different spark plugs of all kinds.

Then we made this top5 list so you can have a better chance at finding one for your beast. We even added some tips towards the end of the page. Be sure to check that out too.

1. NGK Platinum OEM 3199 Spark Plugs

At A Glance

  • Core Material: Platinum
  • Pieces in the box: 6
  • Weight: 9.9 oz.

Let’s start the list with this one from NGK. There are some pretty obvious reasons for keeping this on top. So let’s talk about what’s so good about this one.

Let’s start with what sets this one apart from the rest. The change in design elements due to the four prongs might catch you by surprise. We found that the plug was a tad bit more efficient than the rest on this list.

Another thing that we liked about this is that it already comes gapped. You don’t need to waste time on gapping it again, so that’s nice. We tried this spark plugs out on our BMW e46, they ran decently.

We were told that the plugs fit most 5 and 7 series BMWs too. But, we didn’t really have any lying around in our garage. So, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt this time.

When we tried this one out, it was pretty hot out. So I think the spark plugs got to witness some intense heat under the hood. And they dealt with the higher temperatures just fine.

We should let you know that one of the six failed in our case. Well, we’re not saying that you’ll have the same experience, but we’re just notifying you. Yes, you might easily be as unlucky as us.

After testing this one out for almost two weeks, we thought that it was decent. The overall engine performance was a tad zippier than before. So no complaints there.

It’s got a bit of a different design element from the spark plugs you’re used to. I don’t know whether the four-prong design has any practical aspects or not. But we didn’t find any difference.

If you want us to give a verdict, well, it’s a great set of replacement spark plugs. It gets the job done and checks all the boxes.

The fun part is that the whole set is priced close to the similar products on the market. So there’s that too. Overall, we think this is the best one out there, but you might disagree.

2. Bosch 4417 Platinum Spark Plug

At A Glance

  • Core Material: Platinum
  • Pieces in the box: 4
  • Weight: 7.2 oz.

Coming in at second place is this set of four from Bosch. This might have come as a surprise to you. But let’s talk about how this set squeezed into the top of the list.

Well, we have to admit that we liked the aesthetics. I mean, you won’t be seeing them under the hood, but boy, these look amazing.

So, what makes this set of spark plugs unique? On top of that, they have these new yttrium-enhanced electrodes. We don’t know whether this one is anything new to the automobile industry or not. But, we enjoy the fancy words. This actually does make the combustion a bit more efficient.

They didn’t fail to throw in a couple of gimmicks either. This revolutionary technology with “surface air gap” didn’t ring any bells in our heads. They claim ultimate engine performance. But the word that we thought would do justice was “decent.”

Yes, this is a decent set of spark plugs from Bosch. And, we don’t think getting the job done classifies as ultimate engine performance at all.

We had the chance to try these out for around 2-3 weeks. And, they didn’t fail us. But it’s still too soon to say whether these will last you for three to four years. I still think that’s just asking for too much.

Most companies brag about how their spark plugs are the best in the market. Some go even as far as to claim that their electrodes give better access to the fuel to air mixture.

Well, this is one of those companies. Unfortunately, we don’t have any mechanism available to see if this is true. And we can’t really give the benefit of the doubt to the companies in these sorts of cases.

We appreciate the fact that this set also comes with pre-gapped plugs, just like the first one on the list. So the installation part is rather simple. You can follow the instructions clearly and get the plugs onto your e46 without too much fiddling around.

This might come as a surprise to some of you, but you also don’t need any adjustments before installation. We think this is a big plus.

So why isn’t this on the top spot if it’s so good? Well, I’m getting to it.

First off, it’s a tad bit on the expensive side, considering you only get four pieces. I mean, you get six pieces for the same price if you check out the first one on the list. So, we thought this deserved to come second.

We’re not saying this is a bad set of spark plugs. It’s decent, and you might end up getting two years out of all four. Well, it’s not the best in the market, but it’s right up there.

3. NGK 6418 Iridium Spark Plugs

At A Glance

  • Core Material: Iridium
  • Pieces in the box: 6
  • Weight: 10.6 oz.

Here’s another one from NGK. This one came third even though it’s an iridium-cored set of spark plugs. And we’ll tell you all about it in just a bit.

What makes this one so special? The Japanese use magic when they are making automotive parts. This is the only iridium-cored spark plug on the list. So it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve.

We tried this set out for our BMW e46, and they worked smoothly. We wouldn’t say that these plugs are the best in the world. I mean, that’s apparent as this set isn’t even on the top spot in this list. But they are decent, and you might like them too.

We’ve seen complaints about this one. Some sellers might scam you and send you counterfeit spark plugs. So check things out very carefully if you are planning to get this set.

But I think we managed ourselves a set of the original deal. They were above average in performance but nowhere near the best.

We still had a bit of a mishap after testing this out. One of the plugs failed after we heard a misfire. This was around the third week of testing. I’m not saying that you will see all your spark plugs fail, but there’s still a possibility. This means we’re not endorsing this set for longevity.

But our BMW e46 had smooth starts for the most part. We covered almost 300 miles over the testing period. There wasn’t any wear on the plugs after we took them out, except for that one, of course.

Listen, we’re not trying to say that you’ll have the best time with this set of plugs. But if you really want to get your hands on a set of iridium spark plugs, well, this is the way to do it.

4. Denso Platinum Spark Plugs

At A Glance

  • Core Material: Platinum
  • Pieces in the box: 6
  • Model number: PK20TT

We’re almost reaching the end of the list now. And things are still interesting around here. In fourth place, we have this set of spark plugs from Denso. You might not have heard about them before. So, let’s talk about them.

What sets these plugs apart from the rest? In this case, it’s the price. We love the price. That’s it. It’s half the price of the others on the list while offering 6 pieces. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap solution, you can’t go wrong with this one.

We appreciate the fact that these plugs come pre-gapped. So you don’t have to meddle with different adjustments after you purchase these.

When it comes to installation, the entire process was quick and easy. These are the modern plug-and-play type spark plugs. So we expected these to be good enough.

That said, we still don’t know how they are offering platinum spark plugs for the price of copper ones. So we had to dive deeper into the review. It was only after the third week of testing that we realized that something was off.

Two of the six had failed by the third week. I’m not saying that this will happen to everyone who would buy these. But I think it is fair to say that these aren’t built as well as the others.

Some of them may have durability issues. But I don’t think all of them are as fragile.

We would still recommend these plugs solely because of the price point. You can get twice the number of plugs for the price of one set of the others. To me, that’s a win-win situation.

Listen, we aren’t saying that this is the best in the market. It’s not even close, but the features that you get from this one for this price are praiseworthy. And this set of spark plugs might cater to some of your e46 owners.

5. Shuji High-Performance Platinum Spark Plugs

At A Glance

  • Core Material: Platinum
  • Pieces in the box: 6
  • Weight: 10.2 oz.

It’s time to end this list on a high note. We have another set of platinum spark plugs, and this time it’s from Shuji.

The ceramic frame sets this one apart from the others on the list. They claim that the frame provides a bit of extra resistance in case of high temperatures. We can’t deny that.

But that’s not the only positive of this set of six. Although they claim that the plugs are “high performance,” we thought that they were above average.

After trying these out for a couple of weeks on our BMW e46, we think they just about edged it to make it into the top five.

During the two weeks, we were able to get around 300 miles on the odometer. This should be an average estimate, even though we didn’t try this for a longer period.

When it comes to compatibility, these plugs are said to be compatible with loads of 3 series vehicles. You might even be able to use these with the X5’s or the Z4’s. So compatibility is a big deal for Shuji. But let’s focus on the e46 for now.

There’s another thing we thought was interesting. This set also had a similar four-prong design that we saw in the first one of the list. We’re not saying that the design makes it as good as the first one, but we thought this was notable.

Let’s talk about durability now. We didn’t face any issues during our time of testing. But for some reason, there were scratches on the ceramic frame. Whether they came used or not, this isn’t really a good side for the company.

All in all, this is still one of the best among all the sets of spark plugs in the market. Platinum spark plugs are usually more durable than the rest. They are also a bit more efficient. So I think you can trust these for your e46.

Copper Vs Iridium Vs Platinum

Here’s a debate a lot of you might be familiar with. For those of you who don’t, these are the materials of the cores of the spark plugs. And the three mentioned above are the most famous around town.

Whenever you buy a set of spark plugs, you either go for the budget end copper ones or one of the two from platinum or iridium ones.

Let’s dive deeper into how these come into play when you’re buying a set for your beloved BMW e46. So let’s talk about a few different types of spark plugs.

Copper Spark Plugs

This is the most common type of spark plug that you can come across. But you’re probably going to ask why none of the ones on our list has copper cores. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it.

These plugs have compositions of nickel alloy at the two ends of the central electrode. These ends are comparatively softer than the more premium versions that we’re about to discuss.

Platinum: Single and Double

The harder versions of spark plugs are platinum spark plugs. These guys are similar to the copper ones. The designs of most spark plugs are identical, though.

There’s this platinum-coated at the end of the electrode when it comes to platinum spark plugs.

And if you’re into the double-platinum ones, well, these are a bit more efficient. They boost efficiency by saving waste sparks. The additional platinum disc is the one to blame in this case,

Iridium Spark Plugs

Iridium and platinum spark plugs are often harder and more durable than the more common copper ones.

There is still the debate on which of the two is better. Let’s not get into that too much. I think both types have their fair share of pros. Some iridium spark plugs even have platinum discs on the sides.

We have to admit that some iridium plugs tend to use less voltage, so they also act against waste sparks.

Should You Be Using High-quality Spark Plugs?

I mean, there’s an obvious answer to this, right? Anyone would want to buy high-quality stuff. Well, there’s more than meets the eye in this case.

Your spark plug matters since it’s a pretty crucial part of your BMW engine. A good spark plug matters more than some other main parts under the hood. I mean, what would we have done without a good ignition, right?

Fuel Consumption Optimization

One of the good things about higher quality spark plugs is how they always give better output. The fuel combustion optimization is automatically better in these plugs.

Consistency is key. You won’t be happy if your BMW sees the light of ignition one day and doesn’t start the next day. Spark plugs play a major role in this. Fuel efficiency also takes a positive hit if you equipped your BMW with a high-quality spark plug set.

Making Things Smoother

A smooth start to your day is made smoother when your car starts smoothly too. Sorry, I guess we used the word smooth a bit too much here. My apologies.

If you spend those extra bucks on a quality spark plug, you get a well-rounded, smooth start. I mean, the difference in the ignition is not night and day. But there’s a subtle difference, and it matters.

It’s true, if you’re on the hunt for an energetic start, grab a set of high-quality spark plugs.

The Everlasting Environmental Thought-process

If you invest more in a quality spark plug, there is an apparent reduction in the emission of gases. A lot of people tend to cheap out on spark plugs. We recommend not to. That’s because the low-end plugs sometimes fail to complete the combustion process.

This incomplete combustion may end up releasing toxins and harmful gases into the environment. So take a stand and spend a couple of more bucks on those spark plugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I use any sized spark plug for my e46?

Answer: It’s always better to check the recommended size of spark plugs for your specific vehicle, in this case, the BMW e46. Not all spark plugs will fit every car.

Question: Is it fine to use non-branded spark plugs?

Answer: we wouldn’t really recommend that. It’s always better to shed out a bit more cash to get a set from renowned brands. At least you can claim warranties if the engine still misfires after the replacement.

Question: Are the copper spark plugs bad?

Answer: The only reason why we didn’t include copper spark plugs here is that the platinum and iridium ones are better. We tested out the copper ones, too, and we didn’t think they were good enough to be featured under the e46’s hood.

Conclusion

That’s about it, from us. We tried to bring out the nitty-gritty details of all the spark plug sets on this list.

This list contains the best spark plugs for BMW e46 that you can buy right now. Check out the features and compare them thoroughly.

If you’re truly short on budget, you can opt for the cheapest set from Denso. Otherwise, stick with whichever one you prefer. Always remember not to burn a hole in your pocket while giving your vehicle a sweeter upgrade.

Lastly, check out the tops before buying. Hopefully, your BMW will be running smoothly without any misfires quite soon. Good luck revving your engines! 

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