Is Wheelman The First Movie To Co-Star an E46 BMW?

Netflix has served up a tightly shot and intense car chase movie called Wheelman, and the co-star is an E46 BMW.

You could describe Netflix’s experimental movie Wheelman, starring Frank Grillo, in a couple of ways. If you remember Phone Booth starring Colin Farrell, it’s sort of like that but in a car. If you saw Ryan Gosling in Drive, then it’s what that movie could’ve have been.

Frank Grillo driving an E46 BMW in Wheelman

The movie starts inside the BMW as it sits driverless in a garage. Somebody climbs in and starts the car. Then we spend the next 60 minutes of the movie all shot from the car as everything spirals out of control.

The tight, compressed, neo-oir style brings up the tension as Grillo’s character, a getaway driver schooled on the track, finds himself double crossed and ends up frantically trying to figure his way out of a situation he’s struggling to understand. All the while  a voice on the phone is harassing him and sends bad guys after both him and his family.

Grillo mentions in an interview that the BMW is an M3. However, it’s a 4-door E46 and there was no M version produced. There are few examples out there of people swapping M3 engines running gear into 4-door E46’s, and it would make sense for the camera techs to require a four door. Most likely, we suspect it’s a 330i ZHP.

We say a ZHP because you can spot some Cube trim around the dash.

It could be a swap though. The car does look like someones project. The seats aren’t stock, the trunk is a different color and Wheelman’s steering wheel is aftermarket. In fact, you can see the airbag light is stuck on track-day style through the whole movie.

We definitely don’t want to give too much away. The movie has mixed reviews, but either way we do approve of the big takeaway from this movie – always teach your kid to drive stick.

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