++ what Eurostyle said.
1) Get the cleanest looking car without visible paint work done (look at body panel seams for tape lines, uneven fitment etc.)
2) If there's ANY rust, walk away. An unmolested OEM paint job will deter rust with the factory galvanizing paint process.
3) Stick with a facelift E46 <'02. 330i preferably... once you take that 1st on-ramp with the car, you'll be yearning for the power to pull away strong.
4) If you take the plunge for an E90, STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING MADE IN 2006!! First year run on this chassis has nothing but problems (make no wonder BMW changed all the motors 1yr later in '07).
5) IMO, don't bother with XI models (all wheel drive). They suck way more gas than a 2WD and that AWD will only help you get OUT of the ditch in snowy winter days (the few that we have!) after you've over-confidently put it in... won't help you steer or brake in slippery conditions.
6) Last word of advise. If you do go for an older E46 ('99-'00), don't get the automatic transmission. It's built by GM and way under-engineered for the helf of the chassis (I blew mine and found out many others had similar experiences).
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Last edited by GeMc; 09-27-2012 at 03:42 PM.