Originally Posted by adamt
And when the E90 did eventually start needing the repairs that all cars need sooner or later, would those tend to be pricier (and/or more numerous!) than what an E46 or E36 would need?
All BMW repairs are very expensive unless you know how to do them yourself. An E36,46 would be cheaper than an E90 but not by all that much. The parts are parts, most require OEM BMW. Labour is Labour, you need to pay it.
In buying an E90, I specifically stayed away from:
More things to break later in my opinion. I got my E90 with just over 100K, just out of warranty and lots of stuff was needed. All known stuff with routine fixes and i was able to dodge the bullitt on a few using the forums, but they're not cheap to fix. Not for a school kids budget if you know what I mean. Water pump was a grand, a set of tires is large, a battery alone is over $200.
I would get an E46 3-series and then see if you really like Bimmers before you get anything newer. You can get one with higher miles well maintained and hopefully get 30-40K out of it before you decide to keep it or not without having to have spent much.
Don't get an M3, the maintenance of everything doubles compared to a 3-series. All cars are money pits.