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Used 2002ish BMW?

1726 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Paconero
I'm thinking of buying a used E46 BMW as a primary vehicle and wanted to see what wisdom GT could provide before I buy.

My current daily driver is a 1/2 ton truck that is nearing the end of its life based on miles but still fills its role perfectly. My wife has a band new vehicle that she would prefer to leave at home on some trips where weather or road conditions are less than good. I think an extra car for me and my wife would be a good addition to the family.

I would like to stay under the 5K mark. I've rebuilt engines and transmissions before so other than a lack of time, I'm not overly concerned with the possibility of a major failure but I would like to know that I'm buying a solid car with only a normal probability of problems. I'm assuming that I can get parts online for a little more than domestic parts.

It all started when I drove my cousin's Mini Cooper S. I really liked the power and manual transmission. After reading about the older Mini's, I started looking at VW GTI'S as a substitute. I even found an SVT Focus that seemed like a good value. Finally I've settled on a larger 3 series that will probably fit my needs better than the smaller cars. Regardless of which way I go, I would like to "stick" with a manual transmission to stay more involved with the driving process.

Where is the smart money? Drive my truck on and replace what breaks? Trade it in on a newer used truck and march on? Buy the high miles BMW and hope for the best? GTI? WRX? Something else?
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Finding a "stick" will become harder and harder. I reluctantly just bought a 1998 M3 with an auto, because I couldn't get a stick for less that $4k more.
I have owned 5 BMWs and while the engines (and manual transmissions) are very reliable, everything is very expensive to fix.
 

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My opinion is that BMW's are great cars as long they have active warranties.
After that, I would not even consider one.
Again, that is just my opinion.
 
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I have a Nissan Xterra that fills the truck role for me and I expect to get a long life out of it. I recently bought a 1990 BMW 325i for the fun/tinker factor. When I was doing my research the general consensus is that it's not so bad if you do most if not all the work yourself. I almost went E46, a 330Ci, before settling on an E30. Finding a manual trans can be tough and pricey.

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