most 'nice" examples i've seen (and I keep a close eye on the market) are in the upper 20's. (which is a good 12-15k more than they are "worth" (though that is completely subjective, and based on market availability, cult status, blah blah).
do I agree with this? sure. the e30 m3 is one of my all time favourite cars. they're worth what people will pay for them, and with nice examples becoming rarer and rarer, you will pay a unicorn tax.
and now in comparing the e46 to the e30...
coming from an enthusiast/purist stand point, sure. I'll give it to the e30. overall smaller dimensions/weight/"teh bmw soul" amounts to a more communicative and "fun" driving car? this is especially true for the M. truth be told though, these cars shine in the handling department, but are relatively slow.
if you want to talk pure sports car figures, the e46 m3 absolutely murders its ancestor in almost every conceivable way (as it should...it is progression).
I don't know where you come off saying that the e46 M3 is "an embarrassment to M's"
these cars are regarded and revered as one of the best overall modern sports cars of all time.
you go to any autocross/track etc, and you'll be hardpressed to find anyone with anything negative to say about them. and really, before we talk about the modern "fatterning up" of cars, the e46 is still relatively good in that department.
I have quite a bit of experience in both of these cars, and what it comes down to is that they are complete products of their eras, in which they both excel respectively.
so yes....final point. the e46 m3 absolutely fucking rips. you cannot argue that these cars are embarrassments to bmw m cars...