WOW, WOW, WOW.... What a great vehicle and a workhorse. I feel lucky to have the purchase. Fun to drive and is fast, handles well. Do your due diligence and you will be rewarded. Wanted a second vehicle (mini-van is primary) to bounce the wife and I around town for errands. This fits the bill. Not cheap to own... but preventive maintenance goes a long way. Use a real BMW mechanic and go on-line to the BMW forums and you will really enjoy the car.
Speed (crazy v-6 on a small frame) and handling, blowing doors off around corners (stock too).
After 2 plus years of ownership this has been a car I still love to drive. However, the cooling system has been a series of expensive repairs... Radiator, oil radiator, thermostat, water pump, head gasket, hoses. Otherwise a reliable car other than normal issues they all seem to have (upper door trim comes loose, easily diy fixed). I've researched these tremendously, and the 3.0 liter v-8 seems to need many parts replaced between 100-130k miles. My BMW mechanic informed me of this, however, so there were no surprises. A great highway car, very quiet up to 80 mph. Good a/c (replace the filters, makes a huge difference if they haven't been maintained).
handling and performance are wonderful...solidly built and it shows at this age.
the v-8's I've owned (2) both had very similar issues between 100-130k miles with engine cooling system, be prepared for those expensive items, otherwise a great automobile
BMW does a great job with their suspension. Road feel is superb. Goes around corners fast and flat. Classic styling still looks great. Has all the nice features you expect in a car of this class. The 4.0 V-8 has a lot of power, but can cruise on city streets at 35 mph or on the freeway at 65 mph (if you can restrain yourself). When I drive my 540i, I feel like I'm treating myself to a nice car. The V-8 does drink premium, so be careful with your right foot. Also, make sure you have plenty of $$ for all the maintenance and repairs these cars need. I feel it's worth the extra money to be able to drive such a fine sport sedan.
Handling, steering and performance are world class. The interior is very nice - you can feel the German influence, but it has a nice luxury feel also. I upgraded the stereo and it's fantastic! Car looks great - looks fast while sitting still.
The transmission has a major issue with the valve body. Also, the nikasil block problem gives BMW a big black eye. I've had to replace quite a few parts and the normal maintenance is very expensive - either pay now or pay more later!
I bought this car used with over 200k on it, and have driven it almost 20k since. A few minor problems, nothing major but the car is 14 years old. Car is powerful, A/C is ice cold, and the trip computer is accurate. Lots of technology in this car.
People said BMWs were expensive to maintain, but not this one. So far, only routine oil changes, shocks & other normal wear items, and an extremely reliable, low cost, and fun to drive car. Gets about 30 MPG on highway, 23 around town. Everything works on the car.