Luxurious, powerful, exceptional road manners, available all-wheel drive for sedan and wagon.
Pricey for their market segment, limited rear-seat space and cargo capacity.
BMW has seen fit to give the sedans and wagons a facelift for 2002. An in-dash CD player finally makes it onto the standard features list. The center stack has been altered to accommodate the new automatic climate controls. Steptronic automanual operation has been altered so that you move the transmission lever forward for downshifts and backward for upshifts. Bi-xenon headlamps are on the options list so that both low and high beams can glow a cold blue and can be set to automatic operation. Rear side airbags are available for coupes and convertibles. Two new colors, Electric Red and Gray Green (and a Natural Brown interior leather) join the color spectrum.
If you've got the bucks, this is unequivocally the best car in the entry-luxury category.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2002 BMW 3 Series 325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.32 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
The fifth-generation 3 Series was introduced in sedan form in 1999, followed by the coupes, the convertible and the wagon. We like 'em all. This year, few changes are in store for this homerun hit, among them some exterior alterations and increased feature content. Mostly, we're just pleased that BMW has abandoned its misguided attempt to appease the masses by lightening up the steering. It has now been restored to its former glory.
Sedan buyers can choose from a 2.5-liter inline six (models with this powerplant use the numerical designation of 325) that makes 184 horsepower, or a 3.0-liter inline six (330 models). The latter engine bumps horsepower and torque to 225 and 214, respectively, in the 3.0-liter engine and adds some noticeable punch to the 3 Series, keeping it ahead of rivals like the Audi A4 and Lexus IS 300.
All 3 Series sedans, coupes and convertibles receive a standard five-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and ventilated front and rear disc brakes. Two versions of the coupe are available: the 325Ci, with the aforementioned 2.5-liter inline six, and the 330Ci with the more powerful 3.0-liter engine, larger brakes and standard 17-inch wheels. The more powerful 330 coupe reaches 60 from 0 in just 6.4 seconds and features a broad torque band. Both engines meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards. A five-speed Steptronic automanual transmission is available for those who don't want to shift their own gears.
Another option is all-wheel drive. Derived from the all-wheel-drive system found in the X5, "xi" models split 38 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels and 62 percent to the rear. The AWD package also includes a 0.7-inch increase in ride height and is available on both 325 and 330 sedans, as well as the 325 wagon.
If you opt for the 325Ci convertible, you'll have to lower the top manually unless you pop the extra cash for the power top, but 330Ci ragtop consumers get this perk standard. To BMW's credit, convertibles come with a glass rear window and rollover protection. Wagon buyers will appreciate the touring model's standard roof rack and rear window wiper, but, as with the sedan, don't expect to carry full-sized adults in the backseat for long periods of time.
Safety equipment on all 3 Series models includes All-Season Traction (AST) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), along with dual front airbags, door-mounted side airbags and BMW's patented Head Protection System (HPS). Dynamic Brake Control reinforces the driver's effort during emergency braking. Rear side airbags and xenon headlights remain optional.
The 3 Series remains at the top of its game in terms of driving dynamics, looks and quality. For passionate road warriors looking to break into the luxury segment, this BMW is truly the Ultimate Driving Machine.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 BMW 3 Series.
2002 BMW 3 Series 325i Rwd 4dr Sedan (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I got this car after selling my 2000 Audi A4. It's pretty much perfect in every way. Despite what everyone says about it being expensive to maintain, it isn't. Sure, if you take it to the dealer for every little thing then yes, it's expensive. It gets decent MPG, it's quick, it's comfortable, it's nicely equipped, it's gorgeous. The only issues I've had is with the ABS, which every … German car has problems with. Mine has now got 218,000 miles and still starts every time. Definitely glad I bought it.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Don't believe the naysayers
2002 BMW 3 Series 330i Rwd 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5M)
My current 2002 330i Sport is my 4th BMW and 34th car overall so I have some experience. This model of BMW - the E46 - is just plain solid. Yes, there are known issues such as window regulators and water pumps, but when you get past those annoyances and pay attention to the detail in the design of this car they fade into the background. It's easy to do regular maintenance on the car such … as oil changes and brake replacements, in part because the parts are made with quality materials and still look like new after 10 years on the road. I think the E46 is possibly the last 3 series to have the classic BMW look and feel, and I have noticed the value of these cars going up in the used market.
4 out of 5 stars
188,000 and still runs like a clock!
2002 BMW 3 Series 325xi AWD 4dr Sport Wagon (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I bought my 2002 325xi wagon used in 2009 with 110K miles on it. I love this car, and even though I sometimes feel the urge to buy something new and more modern, I have to say I have not found one that is comparable in all areas yet. This car has been very reliable considering it is now almost 17 years old, and nearing 200K miles. Yes, the window regulators (plastic) were all … replaced. The head gasket was replaced (easy) and the rest has just been regular maintenance - I run synthetic oil, and do my own maintenance; I change the oil every 7000K and spark plugs every 15K. This car does not burn oil, still gets about 25/20 miles to the gallon, even more if you you run high octane gas. I made a road trip from CA to TX, and it loved the 93 octane gas in TX! I was getting 28 mpg on the highways! This car is the perfect blend of sportiness, utility, and luxury. It does not have all the fancy bells and whistles of the modern cars of today. But I do have the sport package with sport and overdrive features, steptronic shifting, heated leather seats, moonroof, cruise control, ABS, Traction control, power windows, seats, mirrors. On road trips, this car has enough room for sleeping with the back seats folded down, and once drove 13 hours straight without back pain. Seats are firm but comfy enough, at least for me, a 50 yr old 5,5" woman, for the long haul. My BMW mechanic still loves these cars as well...says they are the last analog BMW worth their salt, as the new models just don't last with too many gadgets. This car runs best if you drive it every day. As with many German cars, if you let it sit too long, it gets finicky; misfiring, door locks stop working. I did change the AT fluid at 150K (recommended by my mechanic) even though BMW says you don't have to. It handles well in all weather conditions, I take it to Tahoe in winter snow every year with confidence. Yes, I would love better gas mileage, but when comparing and/or test driving other cars and smaller SUV's, I am hard pressed to find a car that has has all this one has, without paying a $400-500 car payment each month.
5 out of 5 stars
Long time owner
L B, 09/04/2016
2002 BMW 3 Series 325Ci Rwd 2dr Convertible (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
I've owned my 325 do convertible for more than 10 years and I've kept up with the maintenance. I've rarely had to make repairs on the car. As I've gotten older it's hard to get in and out of, but other than that, it's been the best car ever!