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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:50 PM
snowtx1 snowtx1 is offline
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Looking to buy a E46 Convertible

I'm in the market for an E46 conv and am leaning towards a 330 w/a 6 sp manual. Any thoughts on good or bad years, things to watch out for, and manual vs. automatic? I prefer manuals, but they are hard to find. I have also heard that the performance of the 330 is significantly better than the 325. Any thoughts or leads on a good car would be appreciated. Thx.
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:56 PM
Shrike Shrike is offline
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This should get you started.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E46

By the way, my personal preference would be a manual 325 over an automatic 330, and a manual 330 over either of them.

I don't know about convertibles, but a manual 330 sedan (5 speed) hit 0-60 in about 6 seconds as tested by Car & Driver when new, and a manual 325 hit 0-60 in 7 flat (also from Car & Driver).
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Last edited by Shrike; 07-27-2010 at 01:57 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2010, 05:57 PM
jzwu jzwu is offline
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Good years for E46 are 2003-05. 2006 is the new model year and early 2000's have significant issues with cooling system, electrical system, etc.

Make sure the top works fine, but you never know. My power top hydraulic system failed 10 months after I bought mine. It is a complicated system and costs $$$ to fix. If possible, get an extended warranty by BMW only.

Manual 325 or 330 is fine. Auto 330 at least.
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  #4  
Old 07-27-2010, 06:11 PM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzwu View Post
Good years for E46 are 2003-05. 2006 is the new model year and early 2000's have significant issues with cooling system, electrical system, etc.
2006 is still e46 for the coupes and convertibles - only the e90 sedan was out in 2006.
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2010, 01:51 AM
LHB LHB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzwu View Post
Good years for E46 are 2003-05. 2006 is the new model year and early 2000's have significant issues with cooling system, electrical system, etc.

Make sure the top works fine, but you never know. My power top hydraulic system failed 10 months after I bought mine. It is a complicated system and costs $$$ to fix. If possible, get an extended warranty by BMW only.

Manual 325 or 330 is fine. Auto 330 at least.
The vert's are fairly heavy, so I wouldn't get a 325 with automatic unless you're just into boulevard cruising. Cough up $30k and just get a 330 ZHP convertible!
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  #6  
Old 07-29-2010, 07:15 AM
Gadget Gadget is offline
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I'm with LHB.... Love mine!
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2010, 07:58 AM
mnzhp mnzhp is offline
03 330i ZHP - 02 325cic
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I have an '02 325cic with auto, and while nothing like my '03 330i ZHP, it is reasonably responsive and fun in the twisties. With a heavy foot, it has excellent passing acceleration, but it is no drag racer. My wife had it the local BMW club's car control clinic last weekend and had a blast. I wouldn't be afraid of a 325, especially with a manual, but the autos are fun too.
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2010, 04:46 PM
jzwu jzwu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHB View Post
The vert's are fairly heavy, so I wouldn't get a 325 with automatic unless you're just into boulevard cruising. Cough up $30k and just get a 330 ZHP convertible!
$30k for a 330 ZHP vert?

The regular 330ci vert 2004-05 only costs $20k.
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