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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 11-01-2006, 04:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Looking to buy a BMW

I would like to buy a used BMW 3 series in the next 6-12 months. I know almost nothing other than 1 time a guy told me the 1st number describes the body size and the 2nd 2 are the engine size, then the letter have to do with trim/engine/etc. So I pretty much know nothing other than I want one.

I would like a 3 series. A sedan would be preffered. As far as the interior goes I live in California so I am not worried about heated seats. I am in to working on cars and also am willing to up-grade the suspension/radio/brakes myself. I would also like to know which 3-series sedan gets the best gas mileage. Basically I want the cheapest 3-series sedan that isnt totally stripped(do they make stripped BMWs?)

Sorry for being a complete noob and I have searched, but I cant find any kind of side by side break down for anything but 2007 models.

Last edited by nick95673; 11-01-2006 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How much do you want to spend?
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Dual income no kids.
As much as it will cost to get what is described. I just don't want to pay for a model/trim that comes with extras I will rip out and replace anyways. I don't think I will want an E-36 unless the price difference is night and day. I plan on spending a lot of time in traffic so speed is not important and fuel economy would be preferred. I don’t need an M series but I don’t want anything smaller than a 6 cylinder. I would just like to know what trim levels I should start looking at. I also wouldn’t mind a station wagon.

Sorry for being a total noob.

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Old 11-02-2006, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Gotta love the dinks. Most every bimmer I've seen already had the heated seats... not even sure if that's considered an "option" any more. What about old school, say like an E30? You still get the 2.5L V6, less weight (better gas mileage), easy to maintain, classy looks.

The hardest part for you will be narrowing down the search with limited packages already installed.
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Umm...Hootie...it's a 2.5 liter inline six, not a V.

My suggestion based on what you've said would be to get an E46 325i. If you want four wheel drive, you can get a 325ix.

And no, they don't make stripped bimmers.
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Are there years I shouldn’t buy? The first year of a redesign for example? Or will a 1999 be about the same as a 2000, 2001, and 2002? I am not talking about the ergonomics of the radio and arm rest. I mean are there expensive bugs in the first year of the redesign I will run in to? Or will I have more aftermarket parts (brakes, suspension) with different years? Will I spend more on aftermarket parts to bring a 1999 up to a 2000's stock level than if I just buy the 2000 from the get go.
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Old 11-02-2006, 03:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would say on general principle that newer is better.
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Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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Old 11-02-2006, 05:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would recommend an E46 325i. You may be able to find one without the weight-adding options. I am not sure if they made E46s without a moonroof.

The base 325i came with manual seats, not heatead, leatherette interior, halogen headlights... in general, nice but not over-the-top luxurious.

I recommend the 325i over the 323i for several reasons: newer > older, more power with the same displacement and -- I think -- better fuel economy.

You can get a 325i with a 6-speed manual if you buy 2004 or newer. I believe that would help your fuel economy.

I know my reply is not very structured, but I hope I have given you some good info.
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Umm...Hootie...it's a 2.5 liter inline six, not a V.
ghead

Uhm yeah... d'oh!
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Old 11-03-2006, 01:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What kind of problems would I have if I picked up a 1999 BMW 323i Convertible with about 75k miles?

Its a little older than I wanted but, my fiance(wedding is already paid for) says she really wants a convertible. Personally I don't think she wants to actually have one she just likes the idea of it. So I would rather kill 3 birds with 1 stone. I could get my BMW, she would realize why most cars dont have fabric roofs, and I wouldnt have as much money vanish when I sell it to buy what I really want.
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Old 11-03-2006, 03:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As long as it has been mainteained well, it really shouldn't be much trouble. Those are really low miles for a 1999 model. My E36 1996 328i (same engine as that 323i, only with larger displacement) has 197,600 miles on it, and all I have had to deal with is general wear and tear/maintenance. I would have the car inspected by a BMW mechanic (either in a shop or a dfelaership, at about $100 in either place), and would be ready with upt to $2000 (just to be safe) to replace all wear and tear items for which you are provided with no maintenance record. I am talking about all filters, hoses, belts, etc.

I say it would be a good pick.
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