I bought the car 2 years ago from someone who had it for 11 years and never drove it in the winter. The car is near perfect condition with a few modifications ( the previous owner liked to go fast ). M3 cam, header, M50 intake, AA chip and 3 inch exhaust, full locking diff plus new adjustable suspension. The ride plus handling is tight.
I have had this car a long time now, and I am still amazed at how great it feels to be in it. I love the feel of the road and the sound of the sweet audio from the premium sound system in the car. It is super quick when I need it to be. And it is great on gas. I have only changed the alternator and done the regular mantinence since it was new. The space in the back seat is a little light. But, If I were a parent of 3 kids and needed a great second car, this would be it. I think the car looks so classy and screems traditional BMW style. It is the benchmark by which I will measure all future cars. It looks especially good in Alpine White. It's one to drive before you die. Own one if you can.
The BMW 3 Series is the best balance of luxury, sport, comfort, fun to drive and style. No other small sedan comes close. No other front engine, manual transmission RWD sedans are currently available. I get 21 MPG around town and two road trips of 33 MPG driving 80+ MPH. Other have mentioned reliability issues. In the 4+ years I have owned it, all I have done is oil changes, brake pads and tires. This has been the most reliable car I have owned (I've had 20+ cars). It still looks and drives like a new car after 11 years and 95k miles.
BMW can not make a digital dash display to save their lives. My 328, 540 Sport and 535 all had radio and computer display issues. The display pixels slowly die after a few years. Functions still work, but display goes away.
Bought my Black 328i in 2000. 2nd owner it was a lease vehicle. I have been a naughty owner and have only changed the oil, rotors, brake pads, brake sensors & tires for the most part. I put TVs in the head rests, Chrome 18" rims w/z-rate tires and a kicking stereo system in addition to the HK system that included a tv in the radio as well. I've driven this car through out Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and from coast to coast (in the US. The tint came in handy) plenty of times and never has it stranded me. I had a problem with the acceleration in auto and would have to drop down to manual but it still never starnded me and continued to out perform other vehicles.
The high rate of speed that it is able to handle for long periods of time. The Steptronic feature is a life saver in my case.
BMW, I think needs to make these cars more owner maint friendly. They need more leg room and truck space.
The car is fantastic...when its fixed. When I first bought the car it was all right, but when the warrantee ended, I was forced to go fix the car. Cooling problems, electrical problems, I probably spent over 10g's of repairs and upgrades to the car. I love the car but the repairs for it are a...you know what. And the car is awful in winter, but that could be fixed with newer winter tires.
I love the power of the inline 6. the engine will push if you need it to. And the stability on the car is amazing, weaving through traffic never been so much fun. I have total control of the car.
Improvements? Not much to say but I'm a young adult and I'd rather not have the wood looking interior. I'd rather have carbon fiber haha.