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Buying a Used 3-Series



  • nickb81nickb81 Posts: 36
    Sorry...I have been looking for so long, I get all of the engines and years confused. It is a 325i. Thanks for the correction!
  • Does anyone kow anything about leasing a CPO 2007 328xi? I found at a local dealer an 07 328xi 12,000 miles that i would prefer to lease over buy. the cost is $31,995. I want to lease it over 3 years (all covered by the BMW free maintenance) I would pay taxes (i live in Nassau county, NY) bank fees etc. up front. What can I expect for a monthly payment? please help!
  • dhumptydhumpty Posts: 6
    I'm presently driving a 2004 Volvo (S-80), which I will pass on to my son

    as I'm (finally!) pursuing my dream of owning a BMW.

    I'm thinking as a newbie, I should start out easy and familiarize myself with the BMW via the purchase of a CPO (3-series, sedan [325 or 328].

    I don't need all the latest state-of-the-art everything (i.e., run-flat tires, navigation)...
    just the comfortable and enjoyable BMW driving experience.


    1) Are there any absolutely spectacular additions to the new models
    that I will miss out on by opting for a CPO instead of a 2007 or 2008?

    2) Are the newer (325,328) models, 2006 and 2007, necessarily better
    than the older, 2004 and 2005, models? Are there major differences?

    3) If you were buying a (325, or 328) CPO, which year would you choose
    between 2004 and 2006?
    Is there a year that stands out from the rest as your favorite? Why?
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    I purchased a 2005 325Ci CPO with stick shift about one year ago, and I am very pleased with this decision. I can provide a couple notes regarding your question #3:

    - The data provided last year by Consumer Reports indicates the overall reliability of the 2005 3-series was statistically better than the 2004 models. They should be releasing the 2008 automobile issue soon, with updated information. This data, along with the longer remaining warranty, is why I would again look for an '05 rather than an '04, if I was in the market now.

    - Based on all I've read, I am reluctant to believe BMW made the correct choice with using RFTs on their new 3-series platform. I fail to see much of any upside. However, don't take my word for it. Check out the BMW Run Flat Tires discussion topic for yourself.

    - The new platform is very nice. I had a 2006 325i as a loaner for the weekend, and it was definitely quieter than my 2005 model. It reminded me of the previous generation 528i I owned several years ago. Maybe I'm too biased, but I thought my 2005 model was more fun to drive than the 2006 325i. But if I was a passenger -- not the driver -- I'm sure I would choose that 2006 loaner over my own car.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,253
    It reminded me of the previous generation 528i I owned several years ago.

    Exactly; I'm considering an M3 sedan for my family car, I consider it to be more of a hyper-fast grand tourer, much like an E28 or E34 M5. It certainly isn't an edgy corner-carving hooligan like the original(and still the best) M3.

    Maybe I'm too biased, but I thought my 2005 model was more fun to drive than the 2006 325i.

    My 1995 Club Sport is definitely more fun to drive than any E90/E92 I've driven- even taking into account the massive horsepower deficit. As a matter of fact, I did think long and hard about buying a 335i sedan, but I just didn't find it involving enough, as the Brits put it. I decided to buy a very hot hatch while I wait and see what other interesting cars come down the pike...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • ducatiguyducatiguy Posts: 11
    One person's experience - I just purchased a 2005 330i automatic with premium and sport packages and xenons. Car has (had) 2250 miles as it was still with the original dealer and had not been titled, although the In Service date was 5/30/2005. Considering what I believe I gave up on my trade-in (2000 528i), I estimate my true cost was 30500. Plus, I am the beneficiary of BMW's great finance rate on 2005 CPO 3 series cars right now. While a new 328i optioned the way I want MSRPs at (just) 37,200, bottom line, I am pleased with my car and purchase. :)
  • dhumptydhumpty Posts: 6
    Thanks so much cotmc, roadburner, and ducatiguy

    (love those names!)

    Of course, I'll have to test drive a few myself, but I really appreciate other experiences and points of view...

    and since I know little about BMW's (and have a limited knowledge of cars in general), this info is very helpful to me.

  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    (love those names!)

    That reminds me... I might want to change my name in here. It's an acronym given to me by a former co-worker: Car Of The Month Club. :blush: That was back in the mid- to late-90's when I was an engineer working telecom; when my wife and I were still DINKs. Lately, we've been holding onto our automobiles for at least 2-3 years each.

    I'm not as much of a car enthusiast as roadburner, ;) but even so, I am a big fan of several BMW models. The E46 platform with the Sports Suspension provides me with an ideal fun-to-drive experience, without the suspension harshness of some other sports models. Kudos as well to the spot-on steering feel as well as its relatively thrifty fuel economy. I purchased the extended maintenance plan for my '05 325Ci, and I plan to keep this car until shortly before the CPO warranty expires in April 2011.

    My wife drives an '04 X3, which was also purchased as a CPO vehicle. We both think it is an awesome little SUV -- nearly perfect for our small family. In the past 10 years we've owned/leased other models by Lexus, Acura, Volvo, Audi, and Toyota; but we've enjoyed these BMWs the most.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I might want to change my name in here.

    If you seriously want to do that, email Karen, the Forums Community Manager, and ask what you need to do - karen AT

    I'd hate to see you do that, though. You are well known as cotmc. Oh wait... is that the problem?? ;) :shades:
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Thanks, Pat!

    I honestly didn't think I was well known... at least not much, anymore.

    I guess the hosts haven't forgotten about the infamous Town Hall Riot of '99?? :blush: :P
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hah! The hosts don't forget a thing! Nuttin' at all!!! :P
  • Hey everyone.

    This is one of my first posts in the BMW forum, and am looking at getting either a used 2007 BMW 3 series 335i or a new 2008 infiniti g35x.

    I found a used 335i with 16000 miles on it, but it appears to be a BMW buyback car. When I asked what was wrong with the car, the dealership said that the "check engine light" was coming on, and that they had no more details as to why it was bought back by BMW. Since I live in PA, the carfax would be clean-titled so it would not show up as a buy back when I go to resell the car. However, if I go to a BMW dealer, they will see that it is a "buyback"

    In any event, the car seems almost fully loaded has some great options which are as follows:

    Cold Weather pckg
    Sport pckg
    Automatic Trans
    Brushed Alumninum
    Ambient Light
    Satellite Radio
    Premium Pckg
    Comfort Access pckg
    logic 7 sound
    paddle shifters.

    MSRP of the car was about $50,000 (i saw the original window sticker) and I have the dealer down to $35,000 including tax. I will most likely put ~5000 down to reduce my interest and monthly payments.

    KBB shows this car at 16,000 miles with similar configuration to be about $43,000

    Considering this is a buy-back should I try negotiating even lower than the price the dealer and I have thus far agreed upon? This seems like a tremendous deal to me, with the MFG warranty expiring in Oct of 2010, but I am a bit skeptical with the BMW buyback thing. What has your experience with a BMW buyback been? --Is the dealer trying to not tell me everything and if so, how do I find out what REALLY was wrong with the car?

    Much thanks,
  • Of course, the price & car are attractive. Things you want to know are:

    1. what has the dealer/service done since they took the car back to remedy problems?
    2. Is the warranty a true warranty and not the service pkg extended.
    3. Will BMW see if previous owner will consent to talk or email you re car history . Or can you otherwise find/contact previous owner?
    4. How much inconvenience will your personal schedule tolerate if the car turns out to have above average trouble?
    5. Do you have any basis to "trust the dealer" more than any other new car dealer - IMHO you could be asking for disappointment here- they are there to sell cars, and some are more honest and knowledgeable than others.
    Good Luck whichever way you go.
    2004 BMW 330ci
    Orient Blue, manual.
  • smurgsmurg Posts: 1
    I was wondering if anyone knows why my light for the mileage and outside temp wont go out when i shut the car off in my 2001 325xi, i recently charged the battery and it was hooked up correctly and the problem started then i believe. Mabey it was on before which caused the battery to drain??????any thoughts, thanks Scott
  • sakesake Posts: 11
    We found a 1997 M3 with 138,500 miles on it that we are very interested in purchasing. This would be our 3rd car & more of a project car than a daily driver. The seller agreed to take it to a BMW dealership in order to have a pre-purchase inspection performed on the vehicle prior to us purchasing it. Are there any thing that anyone can think of that we should specfically look out for? Thanks so much!
  • bfluegiebfluegie Posts: 21
    I'm looking at a 2006 325xi with almost 25k miles. It has premium package, satellite radio, cold weather package, wood trim, manual transmission, split rear seats. Dealer price is almost $31K. The free carfax report ( showed no problems (although I can no longer view the free report--the link sends me to a page that asks me to pay for the report). The car was returned from a two year lease and is offered by a BMW dealer as certified pre-owned. Does this seem like a good deal? How much negotiation room should I expect on this car?

    I've also been looking at the Infiniti G35 which I can get new for about invoice by the VPP. I really like the Audi A3 V-6, but I don't want to pay almost $40K new and used are hard to come by. The 325xi is roomier than the A3 and gets better mileage than the G35. I do want to make sure I am getting a good deal, though. Any suggestions for negotiating?
  • I'm comparing two similarly equipped 330 convertibles; 04 330 with only 9500 miles, sport, premium and 18 inch wheels for around $32k versus a 05 330 with with 30k miles, sport, premium pkgs for $29k. The 04 has the std mfg warranty expiring 7/08 while the 05 std mfg warranty goes to 3/09. Both are in excellent condition. Any recommendations?
  • 03cobra03cobra Posts: 37
    Anyone know if there is a minimum term, such as 12 or 24 months, where BMW will still make the first 2 payments? Also, does the dealer have to kick in anything? If the dealer has to contribute, then it will effect the final negotiated price.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 128,420
    There is no dealer contribution..

    That's an interesting question... I'm guessing there is some sort of payment limit on the financing... but, I don't know..

    2 free payments on a 12-month loan... :)

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    I need another car in the family and have been looking for a new one with all the latest safety features. It will be driven only about 7-8k a year, but I might want to keep it in the family for 10 years or so. A new car with ESC will run me at least $15k + TT&L; options include Elantra SE, Sonata GLS, and Optima LX. I've also been considering used cars. For $14k or less I could get something like a 2005 Jetta A5 with relatively low miles and ESC.

    Or... what about a 2003 325i with 73k for under $14k?? I've always wanted a 3-Series, so I started thinking about this after I looked online at what's available around town. I've heard that maintenance costs on a Bimmer will be very high. This one might be in great shape (haven't seen it yet, it's at my local BMW dealer) but it's at least 5 years old with 73k miles on it. FE won't be great, but given how little I drive that won't be a killer. And it does have all the safety features I want. And it's a 3-Series. I know my daughter won't mind getting it in a few years... if I give it up. ;) And I'm not sure I'd want to put a car like that in the hands of a 17-year-old--safety features or not.

    So what do you think... is this a really stupid idea? Should I go with the new low-end car with a long warranty, and likely low maintenance costs, or a "mature" 3-Series?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well 73K is just about at the cusp when a 3-series *might* be needing some things, so I'd certainly have all the usual trouble spots carefully examined.

    Certainly it's a better idea than buying a used Jetta IMO. Jetta reliability ratings are not good.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I'm partial to 3 series BMW's (driving an '87 right now). But, if you have to rely on a dealer to do all the repairs and maintenance, they ain't cheap to keep up.

    Have you considered an Acura TL in the same price range?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    That's a thought. There's a few 2003 TLs in my area for around $14k with around 70k miles (those seem to be the magic numbers, don't they?). It would likely be more reliable than a 3-Series, but it doesn't have all the safety equipment the 3-Series does, e.g. side curtain airbags and ESC. That is one reason I like the 3-Series. And of course, a TL is not a 3-Series. :) Another one I thought about is the S80; 2002s with about 60k miles start under $13k. Those have curtain airbags, not sure about ESC. But the S80 isn't a 3-Series either. Lots of choices...
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 128,420
    Our '03 325i averaged about 26 mpg in suburban commuting... We were pretty happy with that. Sold it to friends, who are still driving it with about 60K miles.. Since the free maintenance expired, they've replaced one window regulator ($90 for the part) and had a dealer do the 60K service for $530.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    That is good to hear about the FE--I've heard the 3-Series does pretty well in that area, for a 6-cylinder. And the 60k service wasn't too bad either--that's not much more than what a dealer would charge for the service on an Elantra. :)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 128,420
    They shopped it... the other dealer in town was $200 higher..

    It was a really nice car.. still is.. Our friends love it!

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,253
    The E46 has proven to be durable and reliable. The six cylinders need a water pump at @60K intervals but other than that there really aren't any major problems. I also recommend that you have the car inspected by a good BMW tech. The E46 3er is a great car, and there are enough of them around that you can afford to be selective. As for maintenance and repair, here's a brief overview:

    On an E46 some services are determined by time, some by mileage, and some by the on-board Service Interval(SI) system(which calculates service based on driving conditions).
    The time based services are: Brake Fluid(every 2 years) and Coolant(every 3 years)
    The mileage based services are: Spark Plugs, ATF, and Oxygen Sensors(every 100K miles for all three).
    The SI system has 3 levels of service: Oil Service, Inspection I, and Inspection II. An Oil Service is called for at 15K intervals(or every year, whichever comes first). It is just an oil change.
    The Inspection I rolls up at 30K; it is an oil change, a cabin air filter change, and a comprehensive inspection of the car.
    Inspection II occurs around 60K and is essentially an Inspection I + an engine air filter change.

    If you are planning on flipping the car in a couple of years I'd just follow the BMW schedule. However if you're going to hang on to it for a while I'd advise changing the transmission fluid(slushbox OR manual) every 60K at least. Ditto for the final drive oil. If you take your 3er to the track I'd reduce those mileage intervals by 50%. I change the engine oil on mt 3er at 7.5K intervals due to the fact that it sees the track every so often and my wife's X3 chews up its oil in less than 9K miles(based on used oil analysis). Some people go 15K without any problem but I'm not one of them.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,934
    Thanks for the very informative post! I was wondering about those "Inspections" and their intervals.
  • Hello,

    I am currently looking to buy a used car....I have found 2 cars that I love...a 02 audi a4 and a 01 BMW 330i. Both have alomst 100,000 miles on them....should I buy and what should I ask the dealer? Thanks!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,253
    My only experience is with BMWs. If you are serious about the 330i you need to have it thoroughly inspected by a tech who knows BMWs. I'd set aside @$75 per month for repairs and maintenance. Maintenance costs will be reasonable if you find a good dealer or independent BMW tech. Whatever you do, don't scrimp on maintenance.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

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