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Buying a Used 3-Series



  • A newer generation or a car = newer technology and engineering. Period. Why would BMW redesign a car and put the same old technology and engineering into it??? The m3 MAY be harder to repair, because it is MORE likley to be driven hard then the 330ci, and ordering parts involves WAITING, which can be an inconvenience. 330ci is a newer, all around better car. ;) ;) ;)
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Hey guys thanks alot for your comments and support!It really does help me :) Well here are my priorities: performance!!! But my problem is that will i have to sacrifice performance for reliability and maintanance? I mean the m3 is a performance car and Im wondering which car will be cheaper for repairs? Lets say i get both cars with 50,000 miles, which will be more expensive to repair? is it the m3 cause its a performance car? By the way I like the E36 m3's style versus the E46 style 330ci because it looks more aggressive and seems to have more of an aggressive stance. thank you all for your help!! :)
  • dsurtidsurti Posts: 9
    performance hands down i would say E36;

    -heavier steering
    -LSD (limited slip diff)
    -a good clutch, not a "self adjusting" garbage clutch like the 330ci
    -does NOT have the CDV like the 330(clutch delay valve.. also garbage)
    -M3 is faster

    for smoothness/luxury.. 330ci

    edit: i'had a 2001 330xi automatic, 2002 325ci stickshift, and my cousin used to have a e36 M3 so i do know what i am talking about

    edit2: i just saw in another post of yours that you are looking at AUTOMATIC BMWs.. if that's the case, then my comments about the M3 and 330 gearbox do nto matter; i do not know much about the e36 auto tranny, but i do know the e46 auto tranny has had high rates of failure due to BMW's lifetime fluid.. in reality, it should be changed every 30k, but once the tranny has reached a certain age, doing a tranny fluid flush would probably do more harm than anything

    IMHO, you are nto really looking for pure performance if you want an automatic
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Good points; your hands-on experience demonstrates the important differences between the two platforms. I forgot about the LSD on the M3. That's a BIG issue if performance is a consideration. And that CDV is "new technology" that almost everybody wants to get rid of. As for the ATF flush, most of the techs I know say that @60K is the upper limit for a change interval. That said, I waited until 100K on my wife's E39 and at 140K it is still going strong. As for automatics and performance, I think that ///M cars should all come with a third pedal.
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    I see, well i would go for a manuel but the problem is that these days m3s will come with at least 50,000 miles, and if i get a manuel with 50,000 or more miles wouldnt that be stupid in a sense? i mean would the clutch be worn out and all? plus i heard its very expensive to replace a beemer clutch, and i dont know how to drive stick and i fear ill damage the m3's clutch since i am a beginner if it comes with manuel. does anyone know how long it takes to learn to drive stick well?? :cry: thanks!!
  • I wouldnt rule out cars that arent BMW's, unless you are dead set on one (which is not a bad thing, BMW's are great cars). I think an S4 blends the qualities of an m3 and a 330ci very well. Mabie give it a look...??
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I've driven several BMWs to over 100K miles and I haven't had to replace a clutch yet. In any event, a good indie BMW tech can install an OEM quality clutch for a very reasonable price.
    And please...
    Bimmer=BMW Automobile
    Beemer=BMW Motorcycle
  • I wouldnt worry about getting the "Beemer" in a stick, if you are worried, go with the auto "Beemer", and once you've got the "fast" driving down, you can upgrade to a stick "Beemer". You could even participate in "Beemer" driving school to help you learn the stick.
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Umm Quatroporte12, s4, i was once a fan of it, but then i researched audis a and they unreliable, alot more then bmw. Wats more is the s4 doesnt look anywhere near as good as an E36 M3, lol. "a good indie BMW tech can install an OEM quality clutch" what is an indie BMW tech? do they have those in chicago? Sounds good if a clutch will take you over a 100 miles! How much is a new? Is it hard to learn to drive stick with an E36 M3? Is there anyone here that ones an E36 M3? Id like to ask you whoever owns an E36 M3 to give somewhat a review of their car if you may, I would really appreciate it!!! :) Thank you very much for all your replies, keep the advice and facts coming!!
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Hey thanks alot guys, well I would love to know how to drive stick and i would but i fear that I might ruin the clutch of the M3 because it will be my first manuel car to drive since no else in my family has a manuel car, let me know your opinions, thanks!!! Keep em coming!!
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Would a 2005 or 2004 GTI Be a better option? Performance is my strong point, after looks and maintanance follows...thanks!!
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    I used to own a 2001 330i, 5 sp, with sport & premium package (basically 330ci with 2 extra doors). At the end of 2004, I traded it for 1999 E36/8 M Coupe (basically, M36 M3 in a modified Z3 Coupe body).

    If you're looking for performace, go with M3. If you're looking for more luxury, go with 330ci.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    -does NOT have the CDV like the 330(clutch delay valve.. also garbage)

    Hate to burst your bubble, but E36 M3 does have a CDV.
  • If performance is what you want most, an M roadster is much faster than the m3. But it wil not seat four, if you need a car that can...
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Yeah i really do need five passengers. Um is the "CDV" a bad thing? is it really a pain? Does anyone here know if maintaining and repairing a E36 M3(1999) is more expensive than a 330Ci???????
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Um is the "CDV" a bad thing? is it really a pain?

    Yes. It's in all modern BMW with manual transmission. It makes it easier for novice to shift, but makes "spirited" shifting more difficult. It's a pretty easy thing to eliminate though.

    Does anyone here know if maintaining and repairing a E36 M3(1999) is more expensive than a 330Ci

    They are going to be about the same. If things break, then it's not the part, but labor that's going to be expensive.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    If performance is what you want most, an M roadster is much faster than the m3. But it wil not seat four, if you need a car that can...

    Unless you get a '01-02 M roadster (S54 engine), it's not going to be much faster than M3. Also, unless you replace the differential on the '01-02 M roadster, it's not going to be that much faster than 99 M3 in 0-60. The roaster will pull away at higher speed though.
  • dsurtidsurti Posts: 9
    oops didn't know BMW's idiocy went back that far..

    well as dave330 said, fortunately the CDV is easy to take out anyway

    from what i heard, the cdv can acutally cause more wear? this may seem counterintuitive as the purpose of the CDV is to reduce driveline shock, but during spirited driving and quick shift, the cdv will slow the engaging of the clutch and thus cause more slippage, therefore glazing the clutch etc..

    this is a good writeup from david zeckhausen, a good in NJ who performs the cdv-ectomy for bmws:
  • dsurtidsurti Posts: 9
    I had a 325ci that i traded for a s2000.. i really wanted the M Roaster/Coupe but i coudln't afford to make the jump... i picked up a used s2k for a few grand less than what i sold my 325ci for

    the s2k, m roaddsters/coupes, m3.. real sport/performance cars imo
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