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e30svp 12-02-2012 07:43 PM

E46 320i?
Hi, I am considering a low mileage '02 320i...

I have performed some research on this forum and others - I know that it was a model that didn't make it into the states; therefore, there are limited performance parts for it etc. It also has less HP compared to 325 and 330 models.

I am looking for a general fun car that I could do the odd BMWCCA track day/school with - nothing too intensive. I do not need gobs of power, but I don't want a 'bogged down slouch' either, if you know what I mean. I am only considering a manual gearbox, btw.

Would you advise me to steer away from a 320i, even if the specimen I was considering was awesome? If so, why?

Anything specific to look for, or any funkiness to these particular models?

Mod wise, I may go with a CAI and exhaust, that's pretty much it. I presume they come with LSD already?

StraightSix 12-02-2012 08:43 PM

I'd look for a 325 instead.

Intake and exhaust will probably only give you an extra 5 hp if that. These cars are well designed from the factory. Only mod besides F/I that will give you a noticeable power increase would be headers.

None of the non M e46s have an LSD. Most people swap in the entire rear subframe from the M3 since you can't just swap the diff. The other option is to purchase one from Quaife or Wavetrac but they're expensive.

ac_2007 12-03-2012 11:04 AM

It will be a slouch, but with a decent suspension it doesn't mean you can't have fun autocrossing it.

Sorry Ralf I gotta disagree with you this time lol..
320/325 are roughly the same animals in terms of power.

320i is usually just a lot more barebones in terms of amenities and parts. Suspension itself is different and geared towards economy. A few parts on the 320 would be considered second line options when compared to the other non-M e46's

If you wanted a decent track car, with a more raw feel out of the box, I'd say E36 M3.

e30svp 12-03-2012 12:22 PM

Thanks for the insight, guys.

There is also a 'small' concern about breakdowns...

If this car did not make it the US market and it has a breakdown on a road-trip, will I be SOL for parts?

ac_2007 12-03-2012 02:10 PM

There are too many carry over parts to make that a significant purchase factor.

I'm curious though, why a 320? Its easier and probably cheaper or the same to find 325/330's

e30svp 12-03-2012 02:56 PM

Simply the specimen I found and the price range...

2002, 70K kms and $6,900.

Looks clean and with little or no rust - checking it out later today.

StraightSix 12-03-2012 03:13 PM

The reason I said he should look for a 325 is because I think they would be much easier to find. Also, even though the power difference isn't that great, the 325 still manages to get to 100 km/h almost a full second quicker.

Personally, I'd do what Alex said and look for an e36 M3 instead. Their prices have really gone down recently and the come with an LSD stock.

Bforte 05-27-2013 09:48 AM

So did you end up going with the 320i?

I just picked one up 2 months ago, I'd like to compare notes... let me know.

pocojo68 06-08-2013 12:12 AM

Hey. I have a 04 320. I have owned it for 4 yrs now, runs and drives great. I have done a few upgrades.

Bforte 06-11-2013 10:57 AM

Nice... I've had mine for 2 months now and so far, so good. No real upgrades but did the valve cover gasket, plugs, air filter, cabin air filter and camshaft position sensor. Also put some style 68 rims on her.

I'm finding it's a great balance of economy and style, definitely a good choice for a first bimmer. Let me know if you have any advice in terms of maintenance and also winter driving tips. Oh and I'd like to hear what upgrades you have done too.


pocojo68 06-12-2013 02:36 AM

Wow.I have recently done my vcg at 117k, also oil filter housing gasket.Bought 68s a few yrs ago too. How many kms? What colour? I had it at the dealer last year for tailight recall, the service writer told me that in 9 yrs only had 1 pulley changed for squealing in 06.I still have original battery.This car has been great, my first bimmer too.I hope yours works out as well. I have put parrot bluetooth in swapped airbag for multifunction one for radio and cruise. Homelink for garage door,38$ ebay trunk spoiler, aux for mp3, painted black grilles,and, front & rear sways. Maintainence wise I change my oil at 15000k using castrol 0w-30. I use Mahle filters,oil,air,fuel Napa sells them very inexpensive. You could prob. do brake flush, ps flush and fuel filter. fcabs, perhaps control arms, I will do that next year. Look at your cooling system, I would think about doing an overhaul expansion tank ,waterpump, thermostat , belts, pulleys, hoses. I have replaced my fcabs and my belts and pulleys, just for piece of mind. No issues with cooling system yet.I know it should be done soon.You can go to bimmerwiki for more info. Don't cheap out on parts use OEM, never go to paces like crappy tire etc. Basically just enjoy driving it, I know others might not think much of them ,who cares. Oh, as for winter driving tips, sorry I live in Vancity so no winter here.

Bforte 06-12-2013 11:22 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Mine is a quite a bit higher kms, I bought it with 220K on it for $3K. Previous owner was a Parts Manager at a Porsche dealership in Toronto and had an good service history though. All it needed to cert was new brakes and a new rear brake line.

I did all the stuff with parts from Pelican Parts (less than $100) and did the air filter, cabin air filter and plugs myself. The total bill for all of that stuff came to less than $500 including labour, I figured because it's higher mileage it'd be a good investment. Next up I'll probably put in a new rear sway bar and do a cooling system flush/inspection.

She's a rare stock colour, Tourmaulin Violett, pretty cool and is a bit of a chameleon (looks almost black at night)... funny that you got the 68's too, imo those are the best looking rims on an E46. What colour do you have?

pocojo68 06-14-2013 03:20 AM

Bforte. I really like that colour. Looks and sounds like you gotta good deal,3k man I paid 13k in 09 with 65k. You got a standard too.*th-up*. Mine is jet black, auto (yawn),so hard to keep clean, swirls etc. 68s rock. I will try to post pics this weekend (weather permitting).

Bforte 06-14-2013 09:15 AM

Hey thanks man, I like the colour too... it's gotta be one of a handful in Canada. It was a bit of a steal at 3K, I looked at a ton of beat up bimmers for that price before I found this one. That being said between the tires, rims and maintenance I put in another $1500 within the first two months of purchase... on the upside my insurance went down $200/year from my TSX and I get better mileage now too.

The colour is actually also a bit tedious to keep clean... I get out to the car wash pretty regularly lol. The standard is def fun, but off the line acceleration is still a tad sluggish. I find this car shines on a twisting country road going 100-120 km/h... eats those corners alive.

Def try and post some pics, the world can never have enough black bimmers (especially with 68's on)... :D

pocojo68 06-17-2013 03:32 AM

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Hey Bforte. Pics uploaded (sorry about the size). Do you get a hesitation when you punch the accel. quick 5-6 times rapidly when just idleing. I have no codes runs smooth Gradual accel. no problems. Might be normal. Mine is sluggish from a stop too. I have about the same money into mine, mostly mods, air bag, bluetooth, freakin $55 cruise retrofit kit, 75$ aux cable. +1 on corners eh. Just amazing how well it handles even w/o sport suspension. They go good too, had mine up to 170kmh no vibration or rattles, could put a cup of water on dash wouldn't even spill a drop.:D I use the touchless carwash every week, try to touch it as little as possible. Spent 2 days last yr removing swirls and then polish,wax. (HATE BLACK) Looks good clean though.

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