Picked up with European Delivery Program (still frustrates me everyday that American drivers do not have the competence and courtesy of the Germans on the road). As with any car, maintenance will be required. Due to volume production of the e46, parts are very reasonable and you can save $$ if you have some mechanical inclination. Everything on the car is easy to work with and finely engineered. Now with 150k miles since new, the car still feels tight and solid, even after front end collision caused by erroneous driver. Airbag deployed, very little damage. The larger Ford excursion SUV didn't fare as well. I still trust the car to protect my family--no other make will suffice for me.
BMW has always been ahead in their tech . Even for 10 yrs old, homelink, memory seats, rt mirror fold down, bluetooth/ipod upgradeable, xenon lights, traction ctrl, 5spd auto,remote window roll down--some of these just now appearing in mainstream cars. No substitute for the sublime inline 6 engine.
As with any car, there will be some issues prevalent for certain years. Respect that and you will enjoy the drive experience. There is no comparison. That's why the 3-series tops on all comparison tests. Proper maintenance is most important. Newer models-very nice, but I am still thrilled w/mine.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.