When you get your Bimmer you will really enjoy it. Its a fast curves in the winding and twisties and isn't as much a 0 - 60 kind of car - of course M cars are awesome and some Z's. If you have $8,000 try to spend $6,000 and throw some money at the car to make it look better. For example if you find a great car, but it needs some paint on a panel or two, get it. Then go to a good auto body place and have them paint the one or two panels, clear coat the panels and maybe the closests panels to it, then deep polish the rest of the car, it will almost look brand new on the outside. Then you can have your leather seats re-dyed and they will look brand new. The same guy who does your seats can also pre-spray paint on the panels, etc. and your interior will almost look brand new. The alloy wheels can be refurbished if they have scraps and chips out of them and have become dull, they will look brand new.
What's nice with a Bimmer is that you can throw money at it, and end up with an awesome looking car even though it might be a 1994 (like I recently purchased for my son - his looks brand new now after I threw some money at it).
Then latter with more money you can chip the car or upgrade the software, which I have just done with my 528i with good results - I was pleasantly surpised. You can Ipod your car, with the FM radio adapter (cheap to do). Throw in a K&N filter, cheap to do and you won't have to replace your air filter ever again - but it will need to be recharged.
Its great to take a so-so car with a good motor and throw money at it so that it looks brand new. I guy liked the "new" car I got my son - his 1994 318i.
What I did to his was:
1) Add twin exhaust & K&N filter
2) Chipped it
3) added alloy 16 inch B&W "E46" wheels on it - they're wider
4) some new paint on a couple of panels, clear coated the rest of the lower body and deep polished the roof - it looks brand new, and because of the bigger more recent designed alloy wheels, it looks like a recent model. Oh yes, I had the front and back bumper painted along with the side pieces to move away from the dark gray plastic and to make it look like a newer "3".
5) You can have a lot of fun fixing up, up grading and up dating your car.
6) You will like becoming part of the Bimmer family.