2001 BMW 3 Series Review
Pros & Cons
- Luxurious, powerful, exceptional road manners, available all-wheel drive for sedan and wagon.
- Pricey for their market segment, limited cargo capacity.
Used 3 Series for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
325i Rwd 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
Seriously. This car needs attention. Do not buy it if you are not willing to give it attention. I'm not sure if I can make that any clearer. I purchased this car as a graduation present to myself with money that I had saved up working throughout high school when I graduated in 2011. My dad and I are both car nerds. I wanted something that was sporty and had a manual transmission and wasn't your typical Mustang etc. I settled on this car after finding a 2001 Sedan with the manual with ~63k on it. I will admit that the first ~20k miles were somewhat rough. We probably spent an additional $2-3k catching up on some maintenance that the previous owner had neglected to do, and the dreaded Check Engine light did come on more than I would have liked. Honestly, the vast majority of those repairs were things like oxygen sensors where we could've just fixed it ourselves and have been done with it. This car really isn't terribly hard to work on. I am no mechanic, but I've fixed quite a few things on this car, and it's saved me a ton of money. If you don't feel comfortable fixing it yourself find a good independent shop in your area. The dealer will screw you out the butt when it comes to repair costs. I will say that the car has never left me stranded, and that's not something you can say about a 2001 Mercedes. Trust me. Like I said earlier. The car needs attention. Make sure to change its fluids and keep a watch out for weird noises, smells, and drivetrain peculiarities (read driveability issues). Doing this will eliminate over half of the possible repair scenarios people have described in these reviews. I'm quite positive that the majority of those leaving negative reviews bought an older BMW expecting it to be just as great on maintenance as a Honda. It is not a Honda; however, if you take care of this car, it will take care of you. Over the last 40k miles or so the only money I have put into this car is consumables (oil, tires, spark plugs, etc), an ignition coil ($75), power steering hoses (~$250), and a dirty injector. I would also like to point out that I would get the manual if I were looking to purchase another one of these, as there are a lot of complaints related to the automatic. The stick is way more fun, it makes the car quicker to 60 (by a full second!), and it's pretty bulletproof. Nuff said. Now to the part about this girlfriend being beautiful, and I'm not just talking about this car's good looks. This car is THE BEST car when it comes to driving. Not even a modern BMW rivals the steering feel and handling these old E46's have. With the manual transmission this car is sublime. The 330i is comfortable, it's powerful, it handles, and it's relatively quiet. It's not a drag car, but it is amazingly well balanced and fun to drive. Relatively good gas mileage too. In short, this car is so much fun. Sure, the interior plastics do have a tendency to be brittle after 15 years of sitting in the sun. Sure, parts are more expensive than parts for a Civic. And sure, there are cheaper cars to buy. What there aren't are better driving cars. I've had mine for four years and 60k miles, and the only car I would dream of getting rid of it for is an M3.
325Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I purchased this car used with 70,018 miles from a reputable BMW dealer. This is my first BMW. I was skeptical buying this car with so many miles but have no regrets. Purchasing this car from a "BMW Dealer" helped ease my worries. I subsequently had the car checked by a certified BMW mechanic. The Dealer replaced the control arms, tires, brakes, and rotors. It helped that this car had only "one owner," I only replaced the thermostat at 79K miles. It was suggested I replace the overflow bottle as well before driving from Philadelphia, PA to Tulsa, OK (1300 total miles). Since then, I have driven to Philadelphia (2600 total miles) and back to Tulsa with no problems.
330Ci Rwd 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
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.
325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I feel more confident in this car's handling, safety, and build quality than I've felt with any other car I've driven, even much newer cars. It's like a suit that's been tailored to your every curve and line and fits like a glove. Nothing is out of place. Then again, nothing is extremely endearing either. It's staid and true, if a little conservative. But damn is it great! Despite its age, everything works and it feels like a car that's been around only a few years. Its timeless styling still holds up on a road full of cars 10-15 years newer; you'd never know it was designed last century. Its faults are few, some significant, but none deal-breaking. Dat engine tho! My God, that engine.