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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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Old 12-27-2009, 09:00 PM
stbeeman stbeeman is offline
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: Chevrolet Lumina POS
Is This a Good Buy?

I'm looking at a 2002 E46 M3 Convertible with 55K miles on it, currently listed by third party dealer (e.g., not a BMW dealer) at $19K negotiable. I've not yet seen/driven the car (only online), but it looks pretty straight in photos, just some minor blemishes on the console next to the SMG shifter. Before I fly to CA to drive/buy the car, I was looking for some advice. Does this seem to be in the right ballpark? Is there anything I should particularly be concerned with? I've looked at KBB and other sites, and the price seems attractive, but I've never bought a BMW so i don't really know...

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:45 AM
dieselmitchell dieselmitchell is offline
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Location: new jersey
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 10
Mein Auto: buying an ///M3
19k sounds a little pricy for the car, i blue booked it and the price for EXCELLENT condition is 18820, so 19k is the highest price one would pay if adhering strictly to bluebook standards. From what you described, the car seems to fit better into the GOOD condition category, which leaves the price closer to 18k at 17820. Therefore, I would definitely chew the guy down a little bit; if you can get the car for 17-18k I believe it would be a decent price; however, the amount you are willing to pay is entirely your prerogative.
Although, before you invest more time into this venture here are a few things you should consider. first, request the maintenance records for the vehicle. You want these to be as detailed as possible. A good benchmark to tell how the car was cared for is to look at when the 1200 mile service was performed. From then on you should be mindful of when the time between each of the vehicles services. IF the service history is spotty or incomplete you should not purchase the car. Whether or not you are getting into a money pit depends mainly on how the car was maintained by its pervious owner.
Second, in viewing the maintenance records, make sure that the bearing recall was performed if necessary. Since you are buying an 02 you need to be mindful of this recall.
Third, you are buying a convertible so the rear subframe tearing should not be an issue because of the reinforcements to support the extra weight.
Also, i have heard some horror stories about the SMG and the cost associated with repairing it, something in the neighborhood of 3500; then again some say its the greatest thing since sliced bread. i am not knocking the SMG just something to keep in mind. Further, the SMG offers a Launch Control, which from my understanding of it, is very hard on the transmission, i would try to find out how many times the vehicel was launched using this method though i am unsure of how you would go about this other than asking the seller.
Getting a CARFAX report goes without saying, make sure there are not title issues i.e. salvage title.
Finally, one of the KEY steps in purchasing a used bimmer is to get a PPE (pre purchase inspection) performed. the mechanic will check out the car and issue a report regarding the condition of the vehicle giving you an idea of what kind of shape it is in. This is VITAL to your purchase; do not cheap out on this step of the purchase process, by spending about 200$ now you will save yourself a ton of money in the long run.
There may be more but that is all I can think of right now.
I have included a link below that is AWESOME for those who are buying or have just bought an e46 m3; it answers many questions that you may have
good luck!
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:48 AM
stbeeman stbeeman is offline
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: Chevrolet Lumina POS
Thanks for the info - great stuff. I spoke with the dealer and got most of the right answers (OK with PPI, etc.) except he's not interested in coming down on the price right now (wants $19K firm). So I went and found one nearby that is similar (2005, SMG, 33K miles) in San Antonio and drove it. I think I'd like the car, although it would take a long time to get used to SMG, but my wife would hate it (because of SMG). So, it appears I'm out of the market for a M3 and back in the 330CiC market .

As far as pulling service records from BMW, do you think I can just call a local dealer or should I call BMW NA?
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