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Hey all! Here is my situation. I recently sold my car and now I'm in the market for a new/used one. I read the FAQ thread on the E46. Other than steering problems and the window regulator, is there anything else I should worry about? How many people actually experienced these problems? I read a thread about a guy trying to decide between a E46 and a GS. Are the E46's really unreliable? Or just not as reliable as the Lexus? I know this is a BMW forum but please post honest answers. I'm 20 years old and I don't want to be stuck with a car, regreting my decision. How much can I expect to pay for an '01 or '02 with low miles? Thanks.

Here is a pic of my old car
 

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The main problems with the E46 is the ac compressors clattering, window regulators failing (depending on how often you use them), sunroof cassette failing (although they have been updated, and you can now repair the old ones), and front control arm ball joints wearing, some early, some not.
It's a reliable car for the most part. I don't have any info on other cars.
 

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I read various report stating that 00-01 models are below average in reliability. I just bought a 03 BMW with 13K on it. Picking it up tomorrow. Hope nothing is wrong.
 

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I dont know what the steering problems are, if youre referring to lighter steering on the 2001 Models that is the nature of that model year vehicle, it is not a defect. Also 00 and 01 are not really less reliable than other years depending on who you ask,of all the typical problems, the only thing that was replaced on mine was the window regulator. You should make your purchase based on which one has the best features for the price you want to pay. Once again, the E46 and the GS are two completely different cars, for completely different catergories. I honestly dont see the BMW as a reliability problem, but as I always say GET AN EXTENDED WARRANTY, itll save your ass in the end in one way or another, and can usually be negotiated into the price of the car quite easily. Certainly Lexus will only be slightly better in the reliability department, but not a whole lot, and they will absolutely eat you on parts and maintenance costs, as will the BMW to an extent unless you take it somewhere other than the dealer. Bottom line is for the money, you just cant do better on the overall package than the 3 series, many have tried, many have failed. Good performance, Good resale, Good features... I purchased my 2001 330iA for about 26k with 31k miles on it and the Premium Package w/xenons, a 325 will be substantially less, while a convertible or AWD 325 or 330 will be a bit more. In my area, the same car sells for no less than 30k typically and 02's are even more.
 
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