I purchased this vehicle in 2008 and 2wks after purchase I had a ton of issues. Had new engine dropped in the car after purchase due to dealership negligence. After the repairs I have had minor issues nothing major. So far I have spent about $500 on repairs not covered under warranty so I consider myself lucky compared to most 3 series owners. Just dropped $800 on new tires and now need an alignment that will total about $240. This car looks nice and rides sweet, but once they go down you're out of luck! The maintenance is absolutely ridiculous and the rear wheel drive is CRAP in snowy weather. So I have decided to trade this money guzzler in for a low maintenance ride.
Ive owned this car twice. Once new as a 330ci and now used as a 325ci both manuals. My 325ci is much faster than my 330 was because of the many mods I've down. CAI,exhaust, intake M3 bumper all cosmetic mods. Performance clutch flywheel,headers, HR springs Billstein shocks,struts,sprint booster, slotted rotors, makes this car much quicker. 0-60 in under 6 seconds and if I add turbo would be 350hp and prolly 4.5 -4.8 sec 0-60. Cars are slow OEM but can get quick pretty easily. Automatica will never be quick tho so don't buy thinking its a muscle car. Also BMWS are meant to outhandle any other cars and this e46 chassis is one of the best of all time. I'd take a automatic 320ci vs a 450hp mustang gt on a road track any day. The BMW will run circles around most cars. The handling and weight distribution is perfect. So to summarize: don't buy to drag race although can be quick w few boltons, car is best handling car ever, value is incredible as u can get low mileage manual trans for under $8k and also they still look terrific especially with some 18 inch rims. Also don't bring to mechanic and let them buy your parts. Buy your own parts do your own work when possible and maintainence is cheap. Slightly higher part(s) prices is a very small price to pay to drive one of the GREATEST cars ever made!!!
We have owned it since new. It was maintained by the dealer of course until 50,000 which came quickly. The only two complaints that I have is that the skip plate is too fragile. If it touches the curb it will come off and sometimes you drive over the parts before you know it is failing. ($700.00) each time. So you learn not to park near the curb. A few times preminum gas was not available had to use 1/2 & 1/2. The back seat is hard to get any use out of. THe seat belt sets too far behind you when you first egage it. People (service personnel) are always surprised that it takes 8 guarts of oil.
Positives: Smooth and steady power, silky gearbox, and better than advertised fuel efficiency. Dead solid road manners, cat-like road stance...A/C holds up to the Florida summer heat, wipers and xenons take care of the Florida rain...my wife is sold on her little coupe...and no trips to the dealer for silly stuff. Thumbs Up! Negatives: You gotta reach waay back to grab the seat belt.