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M-Series (M1, M3, M5, M6) General M-Series Discussion - If it does not fit into a more specific M Category above, please place it in here. In addition, previously archived M-Series discussion is located in this section.

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Old 08-01-2005, 10:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys, im looking for a straigt up, honest answer. Please, put aside your loyalty for this post, and reply in pure honesty.

On average, are M3s reliable? If i were going to look into getting a late-90's M3 with 40-100k miles, driven "normally", should i be prepared to do any serious work?
Thanks alot, AP.
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I will be serious, the answer is maybe. If you find a good example you will and you won't. It all depends on how you drive the car, the nicer to it you are the better it will go. I have had many BMWs and they last a very long time. When they break, they definately can be pricey to fix, but when they are running good and used everyday they tend to last longer and fail very little. Anything with an M stamp on it expect to pay a little more, but usually if you are a driving enthusiast, its worth it. I have had a couple of issues with mine int he year I owned it. One was that it needed a new clutch, it slowly started slipping after 6 months of ownership and I am sure I had to do with it a little myself. That cost around 1500 parts and labor included which I thought was resaonable, expecially if this one last 75,000 miles like the last one. Tires can be expensive, so if you are going to drive day to day don't get the Michelin PS2s or some crazy soft rubber high performance tire, get a good longer lasting tire. I spent over 1000 on my tires alone! Lastly, I had an oil pressure problem that caused my oil light to flicker at idle. So far BMW in Germany at the M plant has said my engine is the only one that has ever had this problem, and after 8 weeks in the shop and an entire new oil system it went away. Under 1000 dollars for that too, BMW was generous in fixing it for me.
If you are looking for a used car there is no better car on earth, I still have an '86 7 series with 227K+ on it and climbing. They are tough and dependable (I just replaced the stock exhaust on my 98 M3 with a corsa, and the stock exhaust looks like it just came out of the box!) and also SAFE. Good luck in your hunt, I am sure you will be satisfied with the right one when you find it.
Happy hunting!
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Heres the deal. Im 17. Right now I have a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee lifted 4" with 33" tires. This year im going to be going to college (sommunity, Sierra College). Its about a 15 mile drive from my house. I dont really want to be driving the jeep there every day. I also offroad my jeep, and I have finally come to realize that even though it performs well offroad, the parts are to expensive to break as often as they can offroad. Also, when on road, I just drive it WAY too hard. I drive it like a sportscar. Sliding it, etc. In fact, one time a friend was behind me going around a corner and said one of my rear tires came off the ground heh, not good. Also, since I was like 14 I've had a love for the M3s. I really want to do this, but getting my parents on my side is another thing...I am going to try to make a good case with them, and be very reasonable about it. Thats why im looking into reliability, i still need to find crash test ratings on the late-90's M3s, and the fuel mileage is much better. The cost of the vehicle cant much top about 13K. If you guys are thinking im dreaming trying to get a 199* M3 w/ 40-100k miles for that price, please tell me.

Thank you so much for your help, AP.
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You can find one for that price, but good luck, a little over a year ago I paid 20K for a 98 with 61K miles on it. They don't lose value very quickly, and not as fast as most cars, even most BMWs. Your best bet is a 95-96 M3 with the 3.0 liter engine, they tend to be cheaper, but then again they are older and more likely to break down earlier if they would. The later models, 98-99 are good buys, they have less mileage and have a better engine (in my opinion) the 3.2 liter. I know the mileage is better! I average 15 in my Tahoe Z71 that I use for the skiing in Tahoe and driving to the base and back. I drove my M3 to Oklahoma for work when I went there for 2 months, and I averaged 34 mpg there and back. Not bad at all, and in the city if you can keep from punching it at every stoplight you can get 20-25 in the city. As a daily car the E36 (late 90s model) is the best for everyday. Good luck convincing the rents!
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the encouragement! For insurance purposes, the 4-door would be cheaper right? Being a "sedan" instead of "coupe"? Also, do you know any other good points I could bring up in my discussion with the parents?
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Old 08-02-2005, 07:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sedans are less-costly to insure than coupes, but insurance companies use a ratio of weight to horse-power to determine the "sportiness" of a car. An M series, sedan or coupe, will boost your insurance for being a "sports car".

If you'd like to avoid the extra insurance, you could always buy a regular BMW and then make some mods to it.
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Insurance may also deduct from rates if youy factor in the safety - I get a whopping -$170 to my rates from the six airbags. I don't know where they are all at (I know about driver side+door and passenger side+door - but where are the other two?!?). That easily cancels out any "it's a sports car" price hikes. It might also help that mine is a sedan and is not a high-profile color. I've heard both that color and body type matters and doesn't matter, but when I'm paying less on my insurance than some people pay for their dodge durangos, I'm happy.
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The sedan no doubt will have cheaper insurance.


Other than that sell them my car as if it is the same as the M3. M car has 277,000 miles on its original engine and tranny, and running hard and strong! Let them know it can be a VERY reliable car when taken care of properly.

Also, taking an extra defensive driving course will also lower your rates!


Just so you know, the sedan was only around in 1997-1998.
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Old 08-05-2005, 09:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by AgitatedPancake@Aug 2 2005, 12:47 AM
Thats why im looking into reliability, i still need to find crash test ratings on the late-90's M3s, and the fuel mileage is much better. The cost of the vehicle cant much top about 13K. If you guys are thinking im dreaming trying to get a 199* M3 w/ 40-100k miles for that price, please tell me.
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This is my second Bimmer. They are wonderful cars and will last a long time if cared for. Just be prepared to dig deep in your wallet if they do need repair.

I will never own my M3 out of warranty. My '03 M3 with 5500 miles has required a SMG update, rod bearing replacement, and now a new navigation system. BMW is a technology leader, and to a degree technology = complexity = less reliability. Check Edmunds and other places for reliability ratings. What I've seen rates the M3 as average at best.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My car is a 2002 Feb Build M3

Problems:
Front bushings deterioated
Rear bushings deteriorated
1 SMG Relay recall
2 Rod bearing recalls'
4 Flat tires
Road side assistance is horrible
Rear Tire life is 15K miles
Front Tire life is 20K miles
Maintenance upgrade 1200 bucks
3rd Party warranty cost 3500 bucks
Shocks were decompressed at 50K miles
Rear shock mounts deterioated
No Engine issues
Oil Leak due to improper rod bearing fix
Front Plate replaced
Gas, better not bitch 16 to 18mpg
Rear severe clank upon hard braking, never fixed, problem just disappeared.


THE GOOD
Drive Train is fine
Engine is fine
Differentials are fine

UPGRADES
Wheels and Tires
Air Intake
AA muffler and Mid pipe swap
Loads of electronic gear, batt is great
Koni Shocks
RSM

No tracking No accidents

as a daily driver...forget it
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