Last post on Nov 23, 2013 at 6:17 AM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
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BMW M3, BMW 3 Series, Motorsports, Engine, Suspension, Car Buying, Coupe
#276 of 762 3-Series with 73k or new?
Sep 14, 2008 (11:34 am)
I need another car in the family and have been looking for a new one with all the latest safety features. It will be driven only about 7-8k a year, but I might want to keep it in the family for 10 years or so. A new car with ESC will run me at least $15k + TT&L; options include Elantra SE, Sonata GLS, and Optima LX. I've also been considering used cars. For $14k or less I could get something like a 2005 Jetta A5 with relatively low miles and ESC.
Or... what about a 2003 325i with 73k for under $14k?? I've always wanted a 3-Series, so I started thinking about this after I looked online at what's available around town. I've heard that maintenance costs on a Bimmer will be very high. This one might be in great shape (haven't seen it yet, it's at my local BMW dealer) but it's at least 5 years old with 73k miles on it. FE won't be great, but given how little I drive that won't be a killer. And it does have all the safety features I want. And it's a 3-Series. I know my daughter won't mind getting it in a few years... if I give it up. And I'm not sure I'd want to put a car like that in the hands of a 17-year-old--safety features or not.
So what do you think... is this a really stupid idea? Should I go with the new low-end car with a long warranty, and likely low maintenance costs, or a "mature" 3-Series?
#277 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [backy]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 14, 2008 (11:57 am)
Well 73K is just about at the cusp when a 3-series *might* be needing some things, so I'd certainly have all the usual trouble spots carefully examined.
Certainly it's a better idea than buying a used Jetta IMO. Jetta reliability ratings are not good.
#278 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [backy]
Sep 14, 2008 (3:25 pm)
I'm partial to 3 series BMW's (driving an '87 right now). But, if you have to rely on a dealer to do all the repairs and maintenance, they ain't cheap to keep up.
Have you considered an Acura TL in the same price range?
#279 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [srs_49]
Sep 14, 2008 (3:44 pm)
That's a thought. There's a few 2003 TLs in my area for around $14k with around 70k miles (those seem to be the magic numbers, don't they?). It would likely be more reliable than a 3-Series, but it doesn't have all the safety equipment the 3-Series does, e.g. side curtain airbags and ESC. That is one reason I like the 3-Series. And of course, a TL is not a 3-Series. Another one I thought about is the S80; 2002s with about 60k miles start under $13k. Those have curtain airbags, not sure about ESC. But the S80 isn't a 3-Series either. Lots of choices...
#280 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [backy]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Sep 15, 2008 (6:53 am)
Our '03 325i averaged about 26 mpg in suburban commuting... We were pretty happy with that. Sold it to friends, who are still driving it with about 60K miles.. Since the free maintenance expired, they've replaced one window regulator ($90 for the part) and had a dealer do the 60K service for $530.
#281 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [kyfdx]
Sep 15, 2008 (8:10 am)
That is good to hear about the FE--I've heard the 3-Series does pretty well in that area, for a 6-cylinder. And the 60k service wasn't too bad either--that's not much more than what a dealer would charge for the service on an Elantra.
#282 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [backy]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Sep 15, 2008 (8:16 am)
They shopped it... the other dealer in town was $200 higher..
It was a really nice car.. still is.. Our friends love it!
#283 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [backy]
Sep 15, 2008 (10:13 am)
The E46 has proven to be durable and reliable. The six cylinders need a water pump at 60K intervals but other than that there really aren't any major problems. I also recommend that you have the car inspected by a good BMW tech. The E46 3er is a great car, and there are enough of them around that you can afford to be selective. As for maintenance and repair, here's a brief overview:
On an E46 some services are determined by time, some by mileage, and some by the on-board Service Interval(SI) system(which calculates service based on driving conditions).
The time based services are: Brake Fluid(every 2 years) and Coolant(every 3 years)
The mileage based services are: Spark Plugs, ATF, and Oxygen Sensors(every 100K miles for all three).
The SI system has 3 levels of service: Oil Service, Inspection I, and Inspection II. An Oil Service is called for at 15K intervals(or every year, whichever comes first). It is just an oil change.
The Inspection I rolls up at 30K; it is an oil change, a cabin air filter change, and a comprehensive inspection of the car.
Inspection II occurs around 60K and is essentially an Inspection I + an engine air filter change.
If you are planning on flipping the car in a couple of years I'd just follow the BMW schedule. However if you're going to hang on to it for a while I'd advise changing the transmission fluid(slushbox OR manual) every 60K at least. Ditto for the final drive oil. If you take your 3er to the track I'd reduce those mileage intervals by 50%. I change the engine oil on mt 3er at 7.5K intervals due to the fact that it sees the track every so often and my wife's X3 chews up its oil in less than 9K miles(based on used oil analysis). Some people go 15K without any problem but I'm not one of them.
#284 of 762 Re: 3-Series with 73k or new? [roadburner]
Sep 15, 2008 (5:41 pm)
Thanks for the very informative post! I was wondering about those "Inspections" and their intervals.
#285 of 762 Help....what should I do?
Sep 18, 2008 (10:42 am)
I am currently looking to buy a used car....I have found 2 cars that I love...a 02 audi a4 and a 01 BMW 330i. Both have alomst 100,000 miles on them....should I buy and what should I ask the dealer? Thanks!