In my mid 20s I have owned about 30 cars, many of them BMWs, and BMWs are my favorite by far. Some of them also with higher miles and never a problem. This includes a 2003 Range Rover (highly modified X5 essentially) with over 90k and a 1995 750iL with 114k. My M3 convertible SMG CPO only has 78k and already feels like its falling apart, has been to the dealer numerous times for an engine tap they insist is normal, and is unacceptably loud and harsh for the performance you actually get.
The BMW M3 is a true BMW enthusiast's must-have. I bought this car at 90k miles and have driven it 30k more without many major issues - just one dead gas pedal which cost me ($120, 5 mins to replace), four oil changes ($70 each), air filter, and a few other small repairs (window regulator $200, convertible top sensor $300). If you can even remotely work on cars, you can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the cost of ownership and heighten its reliability. I commute with this car everyday and it's fast, fun, practical, and great in stock form.
Japanese reliability and German reliability are 2 different things. My '95 Nissan Maxima had 165k miles and almost no problems. '02 M3 with 40k miles (bought with 28k) does have some issues. 1. Before 28k miles engine: overheating + minor repairs. After 28k miles: water pump failed, windows/locks control module failed, navigation failed + minor issues. If you buy German car, make sure you have warranty. I have 100k miles and 2 years left on mine. Other then that the car is nice. SMG is #1 transmission in the world. DSC does wonders to save your life. Convertible looks sexy! And S54 engine considered to be #1 winner engine in the world from 3 to 4 litters from 2001 to 2006.
I have permanently parked my 2002 E46
convertible with only 9100 miles on it.
I plan to sell it ASAP in the Spring.
This car has never lived up to its
hype. There are a lot of cars out there
(ZO6, E55 AMG) that give you better
performance, handling, and that good
ole' kick in the pants kind of feeling.
I don't think I'll buy another BMW.