I have put all 160,000 miles on this car and except for items that go on any car, like brakes, belts, etc it has not had any serious problem except that the sports shift mode hasn't worked in 2 years. Never uses a drop of oil, gets 31 mpg at a steady 75 and I always feel rested after driving it. While it has not been garaged it still looks brand new as I wax and seal each year. Great car and in 40+ years of driving I have driven the best cars available and some dogs along the way. BMW's have become too complex, but I am buying a new 3 series soon and giving this car to my daughter. Buy one and you'll see.
Handling, fuel mileage and snarl when I put my foot into it.
More carrying room in back of station wagon - pretty puny with seats up.
I initially bought the 2000 BMW Sport Wagon used with just 20,000 miles. It ran great with no problems until it went past 60,000 miles. After 60,000 miles I've had frequent phantom problems with the check engine light (and yes, I've checked the fuel cap every time...it was fine). I've had plastic bits breaking in all 4 windows regulators (one of them twice) and the sunroof clips (I hardly use the sunroof too). I've had electrical problems with the air conditioner, anti-lock brakes/traction/stability control, rear view mirrors and door locks. But, that's not all. I've always taken it to the BMW Dealer for repairs and maintenance to make sure it was done right. I think I got the lemon!
Drives great when there are no problems. Love the driving dynamics and solid feel of the wagon.
I was in love with this car. It corners like a dream and you can park it anywhere. Unfortunately, the steptronic transmission has a MAJOR design flaw (some say it was an engineering compromise made to meet EPA mileage requirements, but I don't know this to be fact). The reverse clutch drum has a C clip that holds the gears down under pressure. After 50-75k miles the clip breaks off and you suddenly lose reverse. It can't be repaired - you have to completely rebuild the transmission. It cost us $4700. So, if you MUST buy, I would either get one w/ an already rebuilt transmission or invest in an extended warranty.
While my 3-series wagon was under warranty, all was well. I didn't mind the repeated trips to the dealership to replace every motor in each of my power windows, or my power steering leak, or a regulator in my AC. However, once the warranty expires the out of pocket cost to replace a transmission, along with lengthy list of repairs that accompanies each regular check up becomes quite irritating. The door panel inserts became dislodged and even the BMW logo on the hood came off. . . TWICE. Too headache and expense for "the ultimate driving machine."
Sporty look, performance, luxury, ability to stay in style
More reliable parts, less expensive labor, fewer trips to the shop
Pretty steady car, Great for small families, good performance, interior engineered well and is holding up fine. Real good on tires. First set went about 55K. The cons are not real bad but gas mileage - the auto transmission tank vents and dirt accumulated in the engine compartment. Lots of brake dust and get used to cleaning it - all the time. I would buy another. Repairs are a bit pricey.
Comfortable on long drives and roomy for a mini-wagon. Interior layout is effective and good turning radius