This car is far from a machine-- in my heart, its better than a best friend. It performs excellent, amazing car to drive and race. I have often encountered cars(men) that
want to compete, and I spank them every time from start. Other than it being very fast, its so responsive, it handles perfectly, I drove this car cross country 4 times, pushed it to the max, these cars like to be driven, that's for sure. I couldn't believe how comfortable it is, everything inside is designed intuitively. I've owned, lexus, benz, and volvo, I like this one the best. The car is worth every penny, parts will always have to be replaced and yes they are pricey, but they don't break often.
BEWARE FRAME Issue on all E46 models BEFORE You Buy
written on 10-16-2011
I've owned 7 BMW's, 3-E46s and have only learned recently that all E46s had a Class Action law suit for a defective frame build. I just bought my 323ci 6 months ago & after an inspection was told my frame is cracked and in need of repair.
BMW initially told me they weren't going to offer any assistance until I mentioned litigation and now they are "determining" what they'll do if anything beyond what I was told thus far. I bought this car because I know the 3-series very well and have come to depend on BMW's brand but NEVER would've bought the car, without a detailed frame inspection at least, had I known about this immense problem.
The Repair is about DOUBLE what the car is worth.
I am coming up on 11 years (145K miles) with this vehicle. I am still impressed every time I get in (shared with the wife). This car is fun to drive, is spirited enough and gets nearly 30 MPG around town. Never have had any reliability issues (still has the original plugs and clutch). I still like the way it looks and I'll drive it until ...
Almost like clockwork, after she hit 100K miles things started malfunctioning. First the blower resistor ($280), then the "no reverse" transmission ($3600). What's next? Repairs are more than the car's market value.
After owning a 95 318ti that had 220k miles on it and ran flawlessly, I knew i had to buy another BMW. I got a helrot red one with black leather interior and a 5 speed manual trans. I absolutely love this car. It's got good power for daily driving and sports driving too.