Long story short. I wound up with this car by accident. I thought that I was buying something nice and boring and maintenance free... Itt ain't. These (I bought one for my daughter) things take some TLC; but if you stay away from the dealers and do your own work, they're no more expensive than a Pontiac(got the bills from my wife's dealer). E46 - watch out for the cooling system. Radiators and water pumps are plastic and die after 8-9 years. Keep up the "routine" maintenance religiously. Find a reasonably priced source of parts.
The ultimate driving machine. I've never had the chance to drive anything fancier than a European 911 Turbo, but...
Maintenance engineering. It shouldn't take a PhD in computer science to change the brake pads. Reliability.
I've owned this 328 for 6 years now and I have 153k on it. I've redone the transmission, tons of pads, clutch, fog light bulbs and about to do the entire front susp/rear susp.. It will always start and remains sexy but it will dig in your pocket... I'd get rid of it were it not paid for.. I love bimmers but you gotta pay to play in this world... Find a guy u can trust to do your repairs and I'll help... I've got the sports package and it helps... Car could use more power.. It's a tank... The car has heart but like most pretty faces ends up costing more than it's worth.
appearance... will start after weeks alone or under a ton of snow...
more power... upgrade speakers... not so many silly flaws for a 42k car...
BMW=Bring Money With You. This car was junk from day one. All 4 electric window motors & relays replaced. Ac condenser electric fan-replaced 4 times. Belt broke did $1100.00 damage. Radiator split, $1300.00 front end, list goes on & on. Best day of my life when it was gone.
First BMW, got another one (06 330i) even with the minor issues I had with this one. Caution on getting the first year of a new generation (1999 E46 in this case). Should have waited for the bug fixes. Good handling, styling. Had to replace 4 window regulators, 2 cooling fans and 1 control arm. Broken sunroof shade. BMW owner should know that these cars are high performance = high maintenance. Tires will wear out in 20k miles.
I have always enjoyed BMWs, I drove my first one back in 04 when my mom gave me a hand-me-down 325i 94. It was a great car for a just out of high school kid to have. I now drive an E46 99 and this is by far an excellent vehicle. The fact that these cars are very electronically sophisticated makes it almost imperative that they be taken to an authorized BMW tech for service every time the engine light comes on and for all tune ups. These cars are very fragile and not as durable as others.
The engine sound interior and exterior are my favorite parts about this vehicle.