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#1 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 09:28 AM
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Question Looking to get started..

Hello everyone!

Sometime in the near future, I will be coming to that point where it is time to change cars. I currently own a 97 Buick LeSabre and I've just about driven her into the ground with 3 years of pizza delivery. During such time, I've constantly had to push the car further and further to find it even remotely enjoyable to drive. FWD and automatic, however, is pretty much disappointing. It is comfortable at least, I can give it that, and she does put up to anything I throw at her (so far, at 166k).

I'm in the market for a car that I can use, but also enjoy driving. The other primary requirement is reliability. I'm a cash only sort of guy, and I don't have a bunch. I'd be looking for around $4-5000 at most. Less if possible!

BMW is one of the brands that comes to mind when I think of a fun RWD car that can also be comfortable and nice. I'm a fairly big car nut, and I know enough about BMW's to tell them apart and I know the basics of how they differ. What I lack are the intricate details that would help me decide what might be best for me.

So, given the budget. I want bang for buck. Reliability at the top, tell me what sort of mileage I should aim for, how long these things last, etc. Other than that, I want to put a focus on whichever model will allow the most for the least. You know, slap on some good tires, minimal modification, and really go to town with it. Maybe which ones perform best out of the box so to say? Also it would be nice to know if there's a certain model that is cheaper to repair due to abundance.

Any help you provide may help create a future BMW loyal person!

Thanks,
Tim
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#2 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 01:57 PM
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Look in the range of a lower mileage e30.


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#3 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 03:41 PM
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And by E30, he means a 3-series from the mid to late 1980s. Think 325 or 328. Make sure it is an "i" rather than an "e" (i.e., 325i instead of 325e).



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#4 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 04:21 PM
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I think you could get an early E36 (92-99) 3-series for that price. Much smoother looking than the E30. (not to put down the E30 by any means.) 318i's are fairly cheap but lack in power. You could possibly pull off an early 325 tho... you have come to the right place tho! Welcome!

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#5 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RexKing86
I think you could get an early E36 (92-99) 3-series for that price. Much smoother looking than the E30. (not to put down the E30 by any means.) 318i's are fairly cheap but lack in power. You could possibly pull off an early 325 tho... you have come to the right place tho! Welcome!

I would second everything that was said here. E36 is safer and has more creature comforts but if you like older E30s better then check them out. You will find a lot of E30 race cars so that shows their potential. Either platform can be had for under 5k. There is a nice looking 325 for sale just down my street for 5k. If you are on a limited budget then only look to a BMW if you are comfortable doing most work on it yourself and have the means to do so. The maintence cost of BMWs is mainly in the labor. Parts are not too bad.
Hope you can make it work!

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#6 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 06:53 PM
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What does this 'i' instead of 'e' designate? I'm not really familiar with all these codes and such they use in their name. Also, I'm under the impression that the actual name of the car like 318, 325, 328, etc, designates the engine. It there a particular engine that is more desirable than others? For instance maybe one that has a much larger aftermarket potential? Or should I just go for 'as big as I can get for the money'

Thanks again,
Tim

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3UOND
And by E30, he means a 3-series from the mid to late 1980s. Think 325 or 328. Make sure it is an "i" rather than an "e" (i.e., 325i instead of 325e).
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#7 (permalink) Old 06-30-2006, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyrm
What does this 'i' instead of 'e' designate? I'm not really familiar with all these codes and such they use in their name. Also, I'm under the impression that the actual name of the car like 318, 325, 328, etc, designates the engine. It there a particular engine that is more desirable than others? For instance maybe one that has a much larger aftermarket potential? Or should I just go for 'as big as I can get for the money'

Thanks again,
Tim
this should help when it comes to the 3-series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_3_Series

the 'i' after the number in the car name is for fuel injected. the first number is the series, (3, 5, 6, 7, etc...) then the second two numbers are generally the engine size. 325= 3series, 2.5L I-6 engine. 530= 5-series, 3.0L engine. etc, etc. Get the 325, or a 328. (328 may be a little out of range, but if you can find one at a decnt price, jump on it.) the 318 is just way to slow and theres not much you can do. even if you supercharged it, you not looking at much more than 200HP. 325 and 328's can be modded pretty easily.

ps- get a 5-speed!

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