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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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  #26  
Old 09-09-2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bmw330ci04 View Post
OK, now i know that this same topic has been posted more times that people can count, but no matter. Recently, my father added a new car to the family; a 2007 335i convertible. Originally he was going to look at a CLK550, but after a ton of pestering from me about what a clot he would look, he test drove the 335i and wanted to keep a BMW in his life, so he did, bought it used for 29xxx with a little bit of the warranty left on it. naturally, since i convinced him to but it, he let me take it for a spin. here are some of the things i noticed that are different from my beloved 330ci.

-Im sorry, but what happened to the "C" indicating that its a coupe? i have no idea why they got rid of that
-The twin turbos in this engine throw you back like no other 3 series (other than the M3) ever has, its amazing, i had the AC on, and the automatic gearbox in "automatic" mode all i know is i got up to about 50MPH pretty damn quick.
-The automatic gearbox doesnt really work. maybe im just used to the stick, but typically with an auto i feel the car coast without any gas, but not in this. its almost like the car wants to make you think you have a stick. OK, the paddles are fun to putz around with for like 5 minutes, and then i want my clutch back.
-one of the big disappointments with the E9X was the interior.. i hated it. the gauge cluster is too crammed for the size of the dash, i miss the 4 separate gauges, in this one there is only two big ones , with the other two smaller ones inside. i dont like the feel of the leather, it almost feels cheap. i hate the iDrive, or whatever they call it these days, its just inconvenient. i hate how if you have one of those paper cups from like McDonalds they sweat and get all over the center console because of that afterthought that is a cupholder. i could go on. AND I HATE, I MEAN HATE, THE WINDOWS NOT ON THE CENTER CONSOLE. WHY? JUST WHY? And that really makes me upset, its almost like our generation cars were made better, better quality.
-Handling: One of the first things i noticed was the very tight steering, i dont know whether i like that or not. when im on a road, yes, of course, turn the power steering off completely, but when im trying to park, it just becomes a nuisance. i know that because its a convertible it doesnt handle as well as a coupe, but it handles about the same as my car.
-No oil dipstick: REALLY, come on BMW..

all in all, i dont know about this car. its unbelievably fast for a normal 3, no doubt. but it doesnt really "feel" like a BMW, it just feels like a nice car, it doesnt really have that BMW styling that i love so much, that BMW interior design that sells the car practically.
would i buy the car, yes. would i miss my E46? no question. i know my father does, he tells me every day.

for those who have driven both, i assume most of you have, post your thoughts, im interested to hear them
I hear you. I hate those new electronics that I have to memorize in order to figure out how to operate them. Having two cars with diifferent procedures can be a nightmare. I hated the i-Drive the first time it came out in the 7ers, and I hate the way I have to use the key fob to get the car started in the new 3ers. My 2007 911 Turbo with the "Porsche Communication Management" is the same way. I still haven't got the archaic navigation system figured out. And, you know what? I use the monitor to hold a basic Garmin Nuvi. I kid you not. And, I do hate the engine without a dip stick. Why do I have to go through an electronic procedure to measure the level of oil with it is warmed, while a dip stick can measure it when the level when it is either cold and hot. Why do I need to measure the level when it is warmed? Oil in the take takes a certain level regardless whether it is hot or cold. If the level is different, then give me two tic marks instead of one. The oil level doesn't have to be that precise anyway. Same thing with my 911 Turbo. Scroll through the electronics until I get to the oil level, then the monitor gives me some fricking bar levels, down by one quart or liter. I don't need the graphics. Even if the oil is cold, it stabilize at a certain level. Damn it, give me back the dip stick. If you want to make things more complicated, identify with tic marks marks for cold and hot levels. Quite frankly, I do not want to get rid of my 2001 330i. They have to steal it from me. Even then, I would get a used one over any E90 or the F30. When the E80 M3 comes out, BMW better have a stripped down version, without the iDrive, without NAV, and without those frucking bells and whisstles, or no BMW for me. In regards to the 911 Turbo. I could start it one time. It took me a while to figure that I had to completely turned the key to the far left to reset. And those damn windows that come down a 1/2 inch or so when the door is open, goes up with the door is shut. Why can there there an air vent to relieve the air pressure instead of using the windows to create an opening. I suspect the motor will wear out sooner or later, and I would have to spend a grand getting them fixed, while a relieve vent could have do the job simpler. I think the 911 GT3 is a purer driving machine than the Turbo even though it will be more difficult to drive that car well.

The 4 values per cylinder M54 is the best 6 cylinder BMW engine. It's in my 330i.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 09-09-2012 at 01:23 PM.
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  #27  
Old 09-09-2012, 01:17 PM
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I took on an E90 335i sedan with all the sport nonsense through a very curvy road near the dealership. He was in front and I wasn't able to pass due to traffic and safety, but I could have. My suspension is crisp and new, so was his. He had more power, it was evident, but I carried more speed through the corners and braked later.

The fact is, no matter what anyone says we all have our opinions. I find ALL E90's wretched from a build quality and materials perspective. If you talk to guys who work on them, they hate them even more. I've seen and heard of a lot of issues with them from my buddy who owns a BMW shop, HE LOATHES them.

And I'll even say this, the E92 M3 is amazing enough I forget about the crappy interior layout, but the E90's all suck in that department. When the ZHP retires or gets relegated to weekend track car, I'm buying a Shelby Mustang, not a BMW.
Same here, my next car will be an EVO X MR touring or SE with the dual clutch. Especially after I found out the F30 m-sport package are all cosmetic changes, plus the E9x 335is only comes in a 2 door coupe or convertible.

The only improvements the ZHP needs are an LSD, lighter wheels n the S54 motor
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2012, 01:26 PM
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I wonder if our grandfathers had the same sort of debate when their cars went from having dipsticks in the fuel tank to a fuel gauge
The dip stick got the job done very quickly and precisely because I see the level. Please tell me how the electronic monitoring indicator is better. It takes longer and I cannot verify it is accurate. I have to "believe" that it is correct.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 09-09-2012 at 01:28 PM.
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  #29  
Old 09-09-2012, 05:21 PM
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The 4 values per cylinder M54 is the best 6 cylinder BMW engine.
Presumably you're ignoring the S54 and other M engines.

Actually, the lighter N52 makes higher hp than an M54 and has a screaming 7K redline to die for. The '2006 330i is kind of the cult car of E90s because of it.
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  #30  
Old 09-09-2012, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Presumably you're ignoring the S54 and other M engines.

Actually, the lighter N52 makes higher hp than an M54 and has a screaming 7K redline to die for. The '2006 330i is kind of the cult car of E90s because of it.
You're kidding yourself if you think the N52 is better than the M54. More "power" isn't always the best judge of a "good" engine.

A quick google search reveals a LOT of issues with it (not to mention the firsthand stuff I see and hear from my buddy who owns a shop). The M54 is PROVEN to live 300k miles and up, we don't have that data yet on the N52.
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  #31  
Old 09-09-2012, 07:48 PM
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You're kidding yourself if you think the N52 is better than the M54. More "power" isn't always the best judge of a "good" engine.

A quick google search reveals a LOT of issues with it (not to mention the firsthand stuff I see and hear from my buddy who owns a shop). The M54 is PROVEN to live 300k miles and up, we don't have that data yet on the N52.
Wow, touchy. Your logic is faulty and your assertions are contradictory btw: you make a judgement, but then say we don't have the data and can't judge yet.

I'd say, from having monitored both forums here, other forums other places, and from having had an M54, that there is no clear winner as far as reliability. Too bad BMW won't tell us.
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  #32  
Old 09-09-2012, 07:51 PM
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Wow, touchy. Your logic is faulty and your assertions are contradictory btw: you make a judgement, but then say we don't have the data and can't judge yet.

I'd say, from having monitored both forums here, other forums other places, and from having had an M54, that there is no clear winner as far as reliability. Too bad BMW won't tell us.
Disagreeing isnt being touchy.
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  #33  
Old 09-09-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Presumably you're ignoring the S54 and other M engines.

Actually, the lighter N52 makes higher hp than an M54 and has a screaming 7K redline to die for. The '2006 330i is kind of the cult car of E90s because of it.
I have to agree on the S54 as a great engine but from a reliability and cost of maintenance standpoint I have to disagree. It's pre 03 1/2 oil journal issues along with the Double VANOS, valve adjustments and ITB quirkiness leads it to have more expensive maintenance issues compared to the M54.

The N52 is pretty impressive but not that much when compared to the ZHP M54 with the 6800 rpm redline. IMHO, both are a wash due to the E9x 330i's extra 150 lbs of weight, it robs any advantages or performance at all compared to an E46 ZHP. As for the E9x with the N54/55, I don't see those lasting 200k or even 300k miles just due to the nature of FI and the turbos giving out.
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  #34  
Old 09-09-2012, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by smolck View Post
I took on an E90 335i sedan with all the sport nonsense through a very curvy road near the dealership. He was in front and I wasn't able to pass due to traffic and safety, but I could have. My suspension is crisp and new, so was his. He had more power, it was evident, but I carried more speed through the corners and braked later.

The fact is, no matter what anyone says we all have our opinions. I find ALL E90's wretched from a build quality and materials perspective. If you talk to guys who work on them, they hate them even more. I've seen and heard of a lot of issues with them from my buddy who owns a BMW shop, HE LOATHES them.

And I'll even say this, the E92 M3 is amazing enough I forget about the crappy interior layout, but the E90's all suck in that department. When the ZHP retires or gets relegated to weekend track car, I'm buying a Shelby Mustang, not a BMW.
i've mentioned before for minor repairs like thermostat, water pump etc its much more of a pain in the ass than the m54 engine. not to mention the magnesium block n head calling for aluminum bolts which must be torqued and angled correctly or risk breaking the bolt. but like all things, if you know what you're doing it is simple.

but as for major repairs like head gasket, timing chain etc. you'll find that the N52 engines are ALOT easier than the m54. this is coming from experience considering i just did both timing chain and oil pump chain + guides.
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  #35  
Old 09-10-2012, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Wow, touchy. Your logic is faulty and your assertions are contradictory btw: you make a judgement, but then say we don't have the data and can't judge yet.

I'd say, from having monitored both forums here, other forums other places, and from having had an M54, that there is no clear winner as far as reliability. Too bad BMW won't tell us.
You can't say it's a judgement when the engine is already having problems (reinforced by, if I'm thinking of the right person smolck mentioned, a very reputable source). Sure, the M54 has its quirks, but the thing is virtually bulletproof. I've run my car insanely hard while chasing smolck through some twisties and shut it down when we got to the driveway. No fluids dripping, no weird noises, no weird smells, no smoke... it was like it was begging for more.

A friend of mine has an E93 328i. At one point, she was ready to sell it because it was acting up after some spirited driving. Error lights here, check engine there, "F*ck off and die" on the OBC display... you know how it goes. After debating whether or not to say "to hell with it" and sell the car, she ended up keeping it and telling herself, "After I fix this, it will be good to go for a long time."

I'm willing to bet she'll have another issue within 12 months.

On another note, you can look around and find a lot of 335i's for ridiculously cheap prices. Reason being: they're lemons! And I mean there are a TON of them! A local independent dealership has two black on black 335i's, one automatic and one six-speed. Both are priced right at $20,000 and have less than 80,000 miles. They were bought back by the dealership and then labeled as lemons. Fuel injector issues, I believe. Whether or not this means the entire car is bad is beyond me, but it definitely is disheartening.
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  #36  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:06 AM
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The N52 is pretty impressive but not that much when compared to the ZHP M54 with the 6800 rpm redline. IMHO, both are a wash due to the E9x 330i's extra 150 lbs of weight, it robs any advantages or performance at all compared to an E46 ZHP.
E46 ZHP review
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...kage-road-test

E90 330i review
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...330i-road-test

"All of this adds up to a car that runs smoothly, feels wonderfully safe and secure on the road, and drives with a rare precision. As our exclusive test numbers show, it is also very quick for a less-than-$40,000 compact sports sedan: 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and the standing quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds at 98 mph. Although these figures were recorded on a surface with poor grip, they match the performance of the current-generation 330i with Performance package with its much larger rear tires. Our Euro-spec test car ran a bit beyond its 155-mph governor. U.S.-bound cars will be limited to 130 with the standard suspension and 150 mph with the Sport package."

Last edited by av98; 09-10-2012 at 07:50 AM.
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  #37  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SPDSKTR View Post
On another note, you can look around and find a lot of 335i's for ridiculously cheap prices. Reason being: they're lemons! And I mean there are a TON of them! A local independent dealership has two black on black 335i's, one automatic and one six-speed. Both are priced right at $20,000 and have less than 80,000 miles. They were bought back by the dealership and then labeled as lemons. Fuel injector issues, I believe. Whether or not this means the entire car is bad is beyond me, but it definitely is disheartening.
Being bought back for "customer satisfaction" does not mean the engine is bad, it means the dealer's shop is incompetent.

In this case, btw, you're arguing against the M54 aficionados: the N54 (and N55) engine block is heavily based upon the beloved M54. It's apparently got a stronger bottom end that more easily handles turbo-charging than the N51/2/3. If you like, I can accede the point that problems with the N54/N55 are seemingly limited to parts that weren't on the M54. Except for the water pump, which has far fewer problems than the M54 ones (too bad it's so much more expensive.)

IMO, all this is water under the bridge anyway, now that the F30 is out. It really points out the fact that it's not engineering (for the most part) that is driving changes to the 3-series. It's MARKETING, and most of us aren't the target market.
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  #38  
Old 09-10-2012, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Being bought back for "customer satisfaction" does not mean the engine is bad, it means the dealer's shop is incompetent.
So I could go grab a perfectly fine 335i with a lemoned title for $20,000. Hmmm...



(Screw the maintenance on those things, though... have you seen what it takes to remove a friggin' headlight bulb?)
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  #39  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:21 AM
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So I could go grab a perfectly fine 335i with a lemoned title for $20,000. Hmmm...
Those might be golden opportunity for someone who's wishing to rebuild half of the engine anyway for some sort of racing purpose.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:09 PM
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Those might be golden opportunity for someone who's wishing to rebuild half of the engine anyway for some sort of racing purpose.
There is much truth in this statement, but I couldn't help but laugh and think of the salesperson telling the customer, "Have fun in your car that may not make it to next week!"

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  #41  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:32 PM
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it seems that much more bmw 3 series owners tend to E46, is that true? in this case, BMW failed to develop the new bmw 3 series of E90?

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  #42  
Old 09-10-2012, 08:42 PM
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it seems that much more bmw 3 series owners tend to E46, is that true? in this case, BMW failed to develop the new bmw 3 series of E90?
Although it's not entirely clear, in looking at the sales figures in wikipedia, in the US the E9x series sold about 50,000 more over it's 7-year lifetime than E46. The E46 is less expensive than the E9x simply due to age.
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  #43  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:14 PM
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Although it's not entirely clear, in looking at the sales figures in wikipedia, in the US the E9x series sold about 50,000 more over it's 7-year lifetime than E46. The E46 is less expensive than the E9x simply due to age.
The best thing I see on all the E46 and E9x forums are the owners that end up going through 2-4 leases of the E9x then back into an E46, E36 or E30.

Plus the majority of E9x owners are not longterm committed, instead they are mainstream out the door after 3 years owners- not really enthusiasts. If that drives sales volume for BMW, great. But I'd rather have owners that love everything about their car and know it inside out. Yes, we work on our cars, opening the hood and checking the oil dipstick after the car turns off 3-5 minutes later for the proper reading.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:58 AM
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Plus the majority of E9x owners are not longterm committed, instead they are mainstream out the door after 3 years owners- not really enthusiasts...
The reality is that those were the same original owners of E46s.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:22 AM
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The reality is that those were the same original owners of E46s.
Surprisingly, most E46 owners are still in them, only a few have transitioned. Reminds me of E30, E36, MR2 AW11 and Miata owners that keep their cars till they die or make them 2nd cars.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:20 AM
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Surprisingly, most E46 owners are still in them, only a few have transitioned.
So, you are privy to confidential BMW, auto industry or EPA information that proves this?
Since about 1/3 of BMW E46 3-series were leased (I can give you a reference for that if you want it), it kind of calls your blanket statement "few" into question.

Frankly, I simply don't believe that you can prove your assertions. Even anecdotally, look at the number of "newbie, just bought a ..." that are posted in this forum.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:36 AM
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So, you are privy to confidential BMW, auto industry or EPA information that proves this?
Since about 1/3 of BMW E46 3-series were leased (I can give you a reference for that if you want it), it kind of calls your blanket statement "few" into question.

Frankly, I simply don't believe that you can prove your assertions. Even anecdotally, look at the number of "newbie, just bought a ..." that are posted in this forum.
Based on the "enthusiasts" in this or other forums along with owners in the Bombe from the last 6 years. I don't care about the majority as you've misinterpreted, they left the E46 and E9x within the first 3 years their lease was up. Plus 1/3 is better than 60% of all E9x owners.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:44 AM
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Based on the "enthusiasts" in this or other forums along with owners in the Bombe from the last 6 years. I don't care about the majority as you've misinterpreted, they left the E46 and E9x within the first 3 years their lease was up. Plus 1/3 is better than 60% of all E9x owners.
dont know if this was addressed, or if it really matters, but dont forget the people that bought used E46s when the person that leased it gave it back
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  #49  
Old 09-11-2012, 10:38 AM
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Based on the "enthusiasts" in this or other forums along with owners in the Bombe from the last 6 years. I don't care about the majority as you've misinterpreted, they left the E46 and E9x within the first 3 years their lease was up. Plus 1/3 is better than 60% of all E9x owners.
When you say "most" (and you did, without any restrictions), that means greater than 50% of all E46's sold. Now you're putting restrictions in and saying "of the people posting in this forum". Those aren't the same populations at all. Please be more specific when arguing with a pedant. But I'll bet that you still can't prove your assertion for either population.
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