Time for the 5 month review. Highly recommend buying the service manual and an error-code reader ($250 total for both). My car had little things, such as bulbs, sensors, filters degrade and required replacing. These cars are CAKE to work on so long as you have the service manual. Most repairs require very basic tools and a couple hours of patience. My first winter encountered no driving problems, even on snow-covered roads. The DSC kicks in as needed to keep the vehicle from slipping, even with all- season tires. I still can't get enough of this auto...
I've had this car for 5 years and if I can have things my way, I'll never buy anything BUT a BMW. It's a joy to drive, styling is sporty without being gaudy, and after a car wash, I could swear I was looking at a brand new Beemer. Maintenance costs are high after the warranty has run out. Be smart, and DON'T go to the dealer to fix every little thing. I recently had my brakes repaired (new rotors, pads and sensors) for $700, the dealer wanted $1900. Do yourself a favor and hunt around your city to find a reliable BMW certified mechanic. If you do this, long maintenance will be much more managable.
I bought my 323i about 4 months ago. It's an automatic with the option to drive manually. I love driving it, but I have had to replace two window regulators and the battery so far. The sunroof cover has come all to pieces and I need to replace my windshield fluid container. I have taken it to a couple of different people to figure out why my abs, brake, and traction control lights stay on and they can't figure it out. Other than that I really do like my car.
Check the rear subframe. Have a mechanic check it. I had some cracks and had to get a plate welded in for reinforcement kit. At the same time I added a 3.46 open differential out of an automatic 323i. I have a 5 speed 328i. I can now pull on s2000's and it's not annoying on the highway. This car still gets looks with some decent rims (Rial Salerno concave rim). Other than doing some basic repairs like an alternator and cooling system this car is amazing. Never left me stranded but one time.. the accessory belt broke but that was around 190k and my fault for not replacing it. Buy this car. Love this car.
I purchased this car on the basis of promised road-handling and prior experience with an earlier BMW. Some minor issues which should not have occurred (malfunctioning sun roof, malfunctioning ignition switch) have been the only problems. The car handles delightfully, has a shorter turning radius than any four-door car I have encountered, looks good inside and out. This is not an economy car, and may be overrated by some enthusiasts, but it is still a safe and enjoyable means of transportation. I could, and do, recommend it to any potential purchaser.