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Old 09-25-2011, 10:35 PM   #1
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Hi guys,

I need advice on buying an E46.

I am in the market for my first car. I am leaning toward an E46 (2002-2005). The 325i seems to be the perfect power and fuel efficiency for me. But the 320i seems to be considerably cheaper. I can get a 320i with 30k km on it for the price of a 325i with 100k km on it. I am not into racing or even driving fast. So what do you think of the 320i? Some people say the 2.2L engine makes the car feel under powered, but I am a single man with no family to haul around. May be drive my parents on the weekend, but that's all. Beside, the E46 is not a big car so why do people say the 2.2L engine is not big enough? I mean, will the engine wear out sooner than say the 325i, because the 320i has a smaller engine? May be engine noise will be more apparent in the 320i?

Any insightful thoughts are appreciated

I have more questions before I make up my mind on buying which BMW, but let's start with one question at a time
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:48 PM   #2
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First thing you have to know about buying a used car; milage #'s mean next to nothing. If someone is selling a 6-9 year old car with 30K, you have to ask A LOT of questions! Without recors, milage can be changed to show whatever you want in 5min, and some people do it. Also accident cars are much cheaper, for a reason. You can find a cheap low milage car that was rebuild, sometimes in ways you dont even want to know...Will cost you tons more in the long run. One thing i can tell you for sure is DONT buy the chapest BMW (or any car) you can find, you will regret it.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:15 AM   #3
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Thank you for your feedback. I am not planning to buy the cheapest E46. I have a budget of anywhere between 10k and 15k for a used E46. And a relative of mine is a mechanic so I am taking him with me to check the car before I buy it. I am also requesting the vehicle history record to make sure it's not rebuilt/stolen/etc, and hopefully the owner even has a record of the maintenance history.

What are your thoughts on the 320i in comparison to the 325i, or even the 330i? Thanks.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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320 will have smaller brake rotors, and I believe they do no have auto AC but manual, no sport packages so no factory big wheels, but a great driver none the less and gets you into an E46. Body shells are all the same, suspension, trim and options is what you pay for. Have not tries the 2.2 engine, best is to drive it and see if it suits your needs
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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No 320!

I wouldnt go with a 2.2L just because of the power issue. You are buying a German car, it is DRIVERS(precision handling, good acceleration, good stopping) car, if you underpowered what is the point (where is the joy of driving??????) . You will get all the downfalls of the BMW, but nothing to compensate for it.
Originally Posted by Mr_Bimmer View Post
....., Naturally aspirated is the expensive way to go slow.
If you feel comfortable, you are not moving forward.
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:35 PM   #6
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I would go with a 325 over a 320 simply because of other improvements besides the engine as previously mentioned.

More options, better brakes, wheels etc. The 320i is just a little too basic for my liking.
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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320's ARE SLOOWWWWWWWWWWW.. you might be excited with your purchase at first but once the initial "new-car" excitement wears off.. you will be left with an empty feeling. Don't go by "cheapest" BMW you can get... Eurostyle was right.. condition of the car > mileage...

Bottom line.. they (320i's) don't look very nice.. they don't feel very nice and they don't drive very nice.. (Base Wheels/Base Brakes/Base interior/BASE ENGINE).. SLOW.. my 325 has a 3.0L N52 engine and even THAT is too slow.. I don't know if E46 325's had 2.5 motors or 3.0L..

SO.. get the 325 and it'll be worth the extra money..
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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Thanks guys. I really appreciate your feedback.
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