I bought my '01 with 124k on it back in '08 based on a bulk of the reviews from this site and research I've done from other sites.
Sure you're going to find people that complain that things went wrong but I was thinking of a used car with a lot of miles. I've replaced control arm bushings, water pump, coolant resevoir, valve cover gasket. I learned how to do most of the work myself so the cost is minimal and at times the work enjoyable/rewarding.
Expensive to maintain? Sure as with ANY car if you take it to the dealers. If you're looking for low maintenance neither this car nor ANY used car is it. Leasing is your option.
I have had this car for 5 years now and it has honestly been amazing, until recently. I always have done all regular maintenance, such as oil changes… etc. Ive also always had it repaired at Euro auto shops. This car was cheap to purchase and can be cheap to maintain, just as long as you GET RID OF IT when it hits between 150-160k miles. Now at around 170k miles it has been in the shop every other month and spent $6000 in the past 5 months, after being every fixed the body shop says it should be good for a year, but a month later something randomly breaks. There hasn't even been any warnings that it would break down… again.
I really enjoy my BMW. The coupe is one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars to look at and I wouldn't change a thing when it comes to styling. The sports seats are firm and fantastically comfortable -- my back gets really sore from bad car seats and these are good enough to drive 12 hours a day. My car has a sports suspension which gives it superb handling but the automatic transmission makes my 325 a little underpowered so if you are into speed get the stick. The fuel economy in mixed city/highway driving is only about 22 mpg which is probably average for a car of this age with this type of performance characteristics.
If you are picky about one or two repairs( which can happen to any manufacture ) this in not a car for you. But if the performance the handling or the safety such as 50/50 ratio is what matters, give it a try...
This car is still a hoot to drive and it still gets envious stares after more than six years. Seems quite quick, stops on a dime and corners with ease (I can't get the tires to squeal). Very hard to fault it in any way. I'm thinking about moving up to a Jag XK or BMW 650, for highway comfort, but I'll miss the agility and easy parking.