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.
Hello all, being that I'm new to this forum I'd like to start off by introducing myself. My name is Jack and I live in the Los Angeles area. I was recently involved in a car accident and as it turns out, my car was deemed a total loss. I had a 2004 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SE, black on black, with 20" black/chrome Diablo wheels. I had just purchased this car earlier this year in February so I didn't even get to enjoy it to its full potential. Luckily I didn't hurt anyone else or myself because the accident happened very early in the morning. I had actually fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree! My insurance valued my car at $27,000 but I still owe $32,000 and I had the option of getting GAP insurance when I purchased the car (which I declined) so now I'm in hole $5,000. I won't have a car for a few months but I'm already planning on getting an E46. I love BMW's and I've always wanted one but thought I could never afford one until I started looking at used ones.
What's the point? Well, I was hoping to get some input from you guys on what I should be looking for when buying a used Beamer. I haven't been to a BMW stealership yet, but I've been looking very heavily at CarMax.com. Here's a couple examples of what I've found on there:
'03 325i 4D Sedan Black Automatic 20K $27,998
'02 325i 4D Sedan Black Manual 16K $25,998
As you can see I would like to get another black ride. If not, maybe silver.
Do these deals sound reasonable or should I go check out the BMW stealerships?
I like the 325 but would love to get the 330 for that extra horsepower...is it worth the extra $$$?
I've had both manual/automatic transmissions before, but I prefer automatic, especially those times when sitting in traffic! How does the 325i drive with manual transmission?
Any input on this would be greatly appreciated!
ALSO: I still have the rims that I mentioned ealier. Luckily they weren't on the car when the accident happened, I was riding on my stocks. They are up for sale because I know that I can't fit 20" rims on a 325 or 330, and I probably wouldn't want to because it wouldn't ride the same. So if anyone is interested in purchasing these wheels (tires included) let me know. They are 20" black/chrome Diablo Delta Force wheels. As for the tires I need to double check the name/size.
Hard to say on those prices. To me they look average - not great, but not bad either. I think it depends on what area of the country your in too. In some areas that would be considered high, but perhaps not in LA? Check nada.com - it'll ask for your zip code and give you a ballpark figure.
I don't know the specs on the 3.5 SE, but I know it's faster than a 325. You might be disappointed in the 325's power? I recently had a 330 loaner and it definitely has more grunt. Not huge, but noticeable. Other than the increased engine output and bigger brakes (and performance package - see below), you can get all the same options on a 325 as a 330. Brand new w/ similar options, the 330 is ~7K more than the 325. I think it's personal opinion as to whether it's worth it. Used that price difference probably falls to 4-5K?
A bit harder to find is the 330 with performance package (often times called a 330 ZHP). It was offered starting in 2003 in a 6 speed, 4 door only. In 2004 it was offered with auto (steptronic) and coupe & convertible versions as well. It adds some nice cosmetic and performace upgrades over the stardard 330. Check out BMWUSA for more info.
Good choice on the colors - silver and black are my two favorites. They probably have better resale value than most other colors as well. Keep in mind there are two blacks out there - jet black and sapphire black metallic. They look very similar, but if your picky, you might like one over the other.
What would I look for in a BMW 3 series? In terms of color - silver or black! I prefer a manual, but it sounds like your set on the auto. More than anything, I'd recommend finding one with the sport package (17 inch wheels instead of 16, 12 way adjustable sports seats, sport steering wheel, sport suspension). I wouldn't even consider one without it. Xenon headlights are the other popular factory option. So, I'd recommend finding one with at least those two options. Cold weather package will give you heated seats, folding rear seats and ski bag. The heated seats can be found as a stand alone option as well. Premium package adds leather, interior wood grain trim, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and moonroof on the 325. Moonroof and leather can also be found/purchased without buying the entire premium package.
This has gotten long so I'll wrap it up. Good luck in your search - hopefully I've answered a few of your questions.
In my experience I would say make sure you get the biggest 6 cylinder engine you can (i/e/ a 2.8 or 3.0 there is little in it from a performance point of view). Two door cars seem to hold their value more than 4 door, which makes a second hand 4 door better value for money.
Sport and performance packages are all well and good, but bear in mind that the ride quality with the bigger wheels and sport suspension is not as good as standard. If you do a lot of distance driving you may want to consider the standard suspension.
Make sure it is fully loaded inside. That is what counts more when you come to sell it. Best of luck and enjoy the car, after all it is one of the best in the world.
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