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."
This is a great car. It drives, handles, and feels like a unique, solid performance sedan should, yet it is smooth and quiet and gets respectable gas mileage. When considering a BMW, please remember that it is not a Japanese car; it won't be as reliable and as simple to drive, nor as cheap. Conversely, you'll be reminded it isn't Japanese every time you drive it -- it's that enjoyable. Maintenance is also more costly: air filters cost $20, it takes synthetic oil, and even special windshield wipers. You should be aware of this before you test drive. My wagon has had only minor problems: door latches and a sunroof drain issue. I love this car -- I won’t buy another brand.
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.
after test driving about 7 makers, i was blown away by the BMW sports package ride in this wagon. I bought it certified used and the warrenty coupled with present low apr made it a great deal. My honda seems like it was a tin can in comparison.