Hi guys!!! Well, i'm new here also so please bear with me...anyway, I just got my 325i '04 last week.
It's a lease though ...hehehe
well, originally I wanted to buy it (2.9% apr-buy- you can beat this price) but my friend told me which he's a master technician in BMW center that might as well go for the lease because anytime soon after you paid off the car you need to get a new car (probably depend on the person...) He has a point though (for me) when it comes to free maintenance wise (4yrs or 50,000 mi) because on the 5th yr your free maintenance will be gone, meaning you will gonna pay from your own pocket after that. I do know that european car is kinda expensive when it comes to maintenace (oil change, brakes and minor things) base from my sources.
Anyway, the main reason we chose lease is free maintenance, low monthly and no downpayment...hehehe
and also dont need to maintain the car after i paid off. Well, that's my small amount of opinion...bottom line is (i think) it's up to the person to decide...which is which. And also like what StephenA said their's a lot of payment type available with BMW... purchase, lease & baloon payment...you can check on their financial services.
By the way, just giving you info though...about my monthly is $546/mth, 15,000 mi /yr with chip & scratch warranty covered for 3yrs.
I hope it helps.