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.
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.
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 bought this car used for $5,700. When I bought the car it had 165 thousand miles and I take care of it very well. Most people complain about the car and that it keeps breaking down constantly. I only had two problems with my car. 1. The front light bulbs died out... Yeup. 2. I need a new head gasket. It's a great car if you can't take care of it. If you can't, well buy a Honda.
This is my third BMW and my favorite yet, before this car I had a 1999 M3 coupe. I was a little worried about losing power but the 2.8 makes plenty of power and really gets up and scoots. The handling of this car feels just as good as my M3, the ride is firm but comfortable, and the manual trans shifts smooth and precise.