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Buying a Used 3-Series



  • 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
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Yup. It's really weird. I can almost see the justification for putting a CDV in a non-M cars, but it makes absolutely no sense on a M.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Yeah i really do need five passengers.

    Neither cars are good for 5 ppl. For short trips they're ok, but not on a regular basis.

    If this is going to be your 1st performance car, I'd recommend the '01 330Ci. It'll be a easier car to live with on a daily basis. In terms of performance, if '99 M3 rates a 10, then a '01 330Ci would be 7 or 8. The increased comfort on 330Ci will more than make up for the performance loss.
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    dave330i, why would the 330ci be an easier car to live with on a daily basis? Lol by the way when you say the M3 gets a 10 in performance and the 330ci would get a 7 or an 8 compared to it thats like saying an A+ is close to a B or a C, thats not too close IMO.. My biggest concern for the cars is the mechanical issues and maintanance, if anyone knows anymore mechanical issues please list them, thank you very much, or list your opinion of which one you would prefer of the two cars if you have not yet so. Thanks!!!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    if anyone knows any more mechanical issues please list them

    Both cars are reliable. Either one will almost certainly need a water pump at 60K-70K, but that's no big deal. A new radiator should be fitted at @100K miles.
    Rear shock mounts fail at higher mileages, as do ball joints and control arms. One important point to note is the fact that US E36 M3s do not tolerate any significant over revs- valves meet pistons very quickly should you miss a shift. In my opinion any difference in reliability is not significant enough to consider it as a selection criteria.
  • fdg07fdg07 Posts: 14
    Hey thanks alot div2, I really appreciate it, so i guess they are both around the same reliability and maintanance, sounds great!!!
  • Was just reading a review of a 2001 m3 and saw this quote comparing the old one (e36)and 330ci. Thought i should post it...from reviews.

    "When the last BMW M3 was sold in North America (from 1995 to 1999), it was an emasculated version of the car available across the Atlantic. While Europeans were ripping about in 321-horsepower M3s, we made do with choked 240-horse variants. Sure, they were great-handling cars armed with that razor sharpness endemic to all BMWs. But with the release of the more powerful 2001 330Ci making nearly as much power as the old M3, an upgrade was clearly needed."

    If you would like to read the rest of the article the url is:
  • Dear All,

    I am looking to buy BMW 3 series (for the first time) and need some help on deciding what's the right price to pay for a Certified pre owned vehicle.

    I just looked at a 2004 black 325i with 28000 miles with sports package, power seats including passenger seat and power moon roof. I test drove it and liked it. The dealer asking price is 28k. Edmunds says 27.5 for such certified pre-owned car in CA. Any opinions on what a reasonable price for this car is? Am I better off buying a new one? I never bought a car from a dealer before so appreciate any tips on where I should start the "haggling".

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,142
    Have you gone on BMW's site & checked the whole list of CPO vehicles? If so, you've had a chance to review the "asking prices" for the type of car you're looking for, plus getting a feel for what's available elsewhere in the country. Fair value for used cars has to do with what auctions bring in your part of the country (wholesale, of course) for the vehicle you're thinking of, plus profit, plus an allowance for CPO.

    Edmunds has a board (Real-World Trade-in Values, or some such) that used to give excellent target numbers. The guy who provided the best input (Terry) has been AWOL since early summer, so that resource is much less useful. There are a few industry insiders who still go there, so you might give it a shot.

    Dealers mark these things up to a fare-thee-well. What it'll actually sell for has to do with the local market for just that vehicle. If there are a fair number of ignorant people (or even one) willing to pay too much. . . In the absence of input from people who actually know something, you could start at 10-20% below what they're asking.

    As to whether you should consider buying new, I answered that question for myself a few days ago. I'm interested in a 3-series, sport package, manual, with fold-down rear seats, in electric red. There are exactly zero of these available anywhere in the USA on the CPO list, and the 9 red cars with manuals don't have anything even resembling the options I would choose.

    Besides which, if I buy new I get a smokin' deal on European Delivery, exactly the car I want, and it comes back into the country with the Austrian & Swiss windshield decals for the local autobahns (plus the one for Grossglockner) to remind me of where I've taken the car, as I sit in Phoenix traffic.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,496
    Sounds a bit high priced. I just helped a friend purchase a 2005 325i with 14K for $28.5K; also a CPO car but without premium package. Still, one year newer and half the miles.

    Nothing wrong with buying a used CPO BMW.

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  • First of all, a 3 series is NOT a luxury car. If luxury is your first priority then you need to look at a Lexus or similar. However if you want the safest, best built, sports sedan in the world then you need a 3 series. I have owned 4 BMWs and sold them for a main dealer also. A BMW is not a cheap car, it costs a lot of money to produce a car with perfect 50/50 balance and look good too. Maintenance (once out of waranty) is also expensive because BMW do not comprimise on anything related to performance or safety. So yes, the brake discs are thiner and wear out quicker, but of course thick iron discs which last a long time produce more unsprung weight and take longer to lose any heat build up. So other manufacturers comprimise both safety and performance for cheaper maintenance costs. That is just one example, there are many more. But when all said and done, I would NEVER own anything other than a BMW.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The 3 series is not a luxury car and neither is the Lexus IS350/250. They are billed as entry level luxury. But I think here were nit-picking. Both offer different proportions of luxury and sport.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    But when all said and done, I would NEVER own anything other than a BMW.

    That seems a little narrow-minded... Never say Never...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Not narrow minded. I know a lot of people who say: "I'll never own anything other than x brand". And they don't. I know some people where x='Honda'. But you're right, never say never, although I can appreciate where the sentiment of successful ownerships of any brand, colors your opinion.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I think I get your point, and his, quite honestly. I drive Hondas, and only Hondas, but if Honda quality takes a downturn, or if styling goes in the direction of BMW, I'll have to look into brands other than Honda.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If styling goes in the direction of BMW it could only help their sales. BMW has some of the best designs out there.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,624
    I agree with BMW style over the other German brands overall. It reminds me of the mid-late 60's offerings from the USA when the design gurus really were hot.

    Japan has a few appealing shapes in recent year also, but even though quality is the biggest draw there, the driver's edge is still with the Ultimates, IMO.

    How much influence does US-vs-Europe have in the current BMW house?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    If styling goes in the direction of BMW it could only help their sales. BMW has some of the best designs out there.

    I'm a conservative person, so the more classic designs of cars like the Mercedes SL 550 are much more beautiful to my eye than the more radical 650 Ci. It doesn't mean that you or I are wrong, it is just personal taste. I would stray from Honda if they got a Bangle-esque Accord (where I don't think my Accord is 'gorgeous' I don't think it is 'ugly' either).

    BMW's daring designs seem to be paying off, their sales (especially those of the 7-series) are doing great!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,574
    An interesting comparison thread.. (well, it might be.. if some of you give your opinions there..)

    BMW 330Ci vs. VW R32



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    To those who are thinking:

    I always had a desire to buy a luxury car...I said to myself that when I reached a certain level financially and professionally, I would get one. I feel like I have reached that point now, so I am ready to "pull the trigger".

    If you are buying a BMW because you "should", you not going to like the 3 Series. It's too small, and the ride is too hard (particularly with the sports package). It's not especially quiet, and the stereo isn't that great.

    I think you would be much happier with a Lexus, which will be much quieter, luxurious, and reliable.

    Those who enjoy BMW's are those who like to drive just a little bit faster than they should. The harsher ride, and the higher noise are acceptable compromises for the better performance, and they're also generally the sort who worry that they won't be able to hear the engine if the stereo is too loud.

    An easy way to check as to which you type you are - do you know who makes the tires on your car? Do you care? If the answer to either or both those questions is 'nope', then buy the Lexus and don't look back.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,142
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