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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 09-30-2012, 12:12 PM
danielak0328 danielak0328 is offline
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Looking to Buy a 325 AWD Wagon

Hello Everyone...

New to the BMW crowd....currently driving a Volvo V70XC. I've been very interested in finding a nice 325 wagon...and may now have the opportunity. Spotted a 2003 2.5L AWD, 140K miles, Looks Clean, New Tires, etc....

Would really like some good opinions on what to look for mechanical wise, and a decent price range? Right now the owner is asking $7500.00...

Thanks, and hope to be a regular on this site if the feedback is good?
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2012, 12:42 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is online now
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I see you`re in the Snow Belt, which is probably why you`re looking at the AWD, correct ? A RWD E46 with a manual trans and proper winter tires will go *just about* anywhere the AWD version will. Ground clearance (or more specifically, the *lack of it*) is usually the limiting factor, in which case, it doesn`t much matter *how* many wheels are driven if your car is run up on deep snow like a toboggan....

AWD adds weight, complexity, problems, and more $ in maintainance & repair costs. In any event, you should hold out for one with a manual trans, it`s worth the wait. Be prepared to expand your search a few hundred miles from your home base....

Read the E46 Wiki, you`ll learn a lot from that.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2012, 03:23 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Be prepared to expand your search a few hundred miles from your home base....

Read the E46 Wiki, you`ll learn a lot from that.
Both of these. The wiki has the information you seek....and more. Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2012, 01:08 PM
CavesAndI CavesAndI is offline
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I just bought one last week and so far i love it! It's a 2003 with 109,xxx miles and the mechanic said it looked great!! I live in a very snowy part of the world and there are alot of the wagons out here so i would assume that they are great in snow. I paid 7800 for mine but the person I bought it from didn't really care about getting money for it so I talked him down from 8500. I felt like I got a great deal based on what Kelley Blue Book says, but best of luck!!!
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2012, 02:52 PM
danielak0328 danielak0328 is offline
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Thanks...

OK....so what would sway me from moving away from my 1998 Volvo V70XC, 2.4L w/LPTurbo - 145Kmi, to the BMW 325xi Wagon? I've gone through similar mechanical issues with the Volvo, and have brought it up to very good operating condition. I don't know that I'm sold on the Volvo thing - but it's been a solid car. The BMW is sweet, but it seems that they have similar mechanical whoo's...?

I'll keep digging into this - the car does look nice, but I would like a laundry list of things to go over with the owner before I pull trigger. Anyone such a list? (ie, Maint Records, Drive Train Checks, Engine Checks, etc....)
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2012, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielak0328 View Post
Thanks...

OK....so what would sway me from moving away from my 1998 Volvo V70XC, 2.4L w/LPTurbo - 145Kmi, to the BMW 325xi Wagon? I've gone through similar mechanical issues with the Volvo, and have brought it up to very good operating condition. I don't know that I'm sold on the Volvo thing - but it's been a solid car. The BMW is sweet, but it seems that they have similar mechanical whoo's...?

I'll keep digging into this - the car does look nice, but I would like a laundry list of things to go over with the owner before I pull trigger. Anyone such a list? (ie, Maint Records, Drive Train Checks, Engine Checks, etc....)
If you study the E46 Wiki, and scroll back through some of the older threads on this Forum, you`ll learn a sh!tload about these cars, and what goes wrong with them. Being educated about ANY product is the only way to make an intelligent purchasing decision.
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  #7  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:56 PM
terry740 terry740 is offline
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purchase

I've had mine since April, so I don't know how it is in snow yet but I am assuming it will be fine.
I think the above comments are good, but if you are a wagon guy.......! All I can say is I'm happy with mine. It's no sports car, but it's got good feel and is engaging to drive. A little more power is always nice, but it can move.
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2012, 06:58 PM
terry740 terry740 is offline
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price

Price seems a bit high for that mileage. Mine was 9500 with 80,000 miles.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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I looked at Volvos when I got my 325xi wagon, and I think the BMW is just more fun to drive.. Mechanically, I think the two cars are pretty similar, in that your experience with maintenance items will depend largely on how the car was maintained before you get it, as well as what kind of driving you do. I drive aggressively on a lot of bumpy roads so I replace a lot of bushings and suspension wear items much more than my wife, who drives 98% on the highway.

At risk of stating the obvious, the BMW is a good margin smaller than the Volvo for cargo space, if that's important to you.

As far as a laundry list of items, yes you should educate yourself to the common wear items and weak points of these cars, but the best thing is to have an independent mechanic (ideally someone very familiar with these cars) do a Pre-Purchase Inspection for you. If the owner has taken good care of his car, he should have no problem coordinating this with you. I certainly wouldn't object if it were my car.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2012, 10:14 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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I test drove almost all the EuroWagons before I bought mine (No Mercs) and the E46 was simply the most engaging to drive. Possibly, the RWD swayed my decision. It is the smallest, but that's fine by me, no kids, just a GF and sports equipment to transport. I don't use a roofrack, bicycles, skis etc all fit inside.

I would certainly consider looking at an "i" vs. an "xi". As someone who learned to drive in the western NY snowbelt, I firmly believe traction in snow is about tires and common sense, not what wheels have power.

E46 vs. Volvo... from what I've seen having almost married into a Volvo dealership owning family, Volvo's are higher, more expensive maintenance. And I've never driven a recent model Volvo where the A-Pillar didn't block my view out of the front corner. My E46 gives me clear vision everywhere. And clearly, the E46 is lighter and more nimble.

As Jeremy Clarckson put it, Volvo's are a nice box to carry your airbags around in.
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:29 AM
3wagonGuy 3wagonGuy is offline
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I just bought my 2004 325i wagon last week and I love it- will sleep in there if I can! But wife will get mad since my newborn needs me lol. It's a beautiful machine.
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  #12  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:57 AM
LX-biker LX-biker is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 325XI Sport pkg
My 2 cents about Volvo vs BMW:
Volvo is front wheel drive biased means heavy front and no much fun, no so nimble to drive as BMW.
Volvo's 5 cyl engine developing engine vibrations over mileage almost like most 4cyl cars do. BMW I6 smooth even with high mileage if everything fine (ignition, CCV, fuel supply ...) Even I drove recently new s60 T5 and didn't like it compare my e46 325XI !!! T6 is better but still FWD biased as most Volvo from past decade...

Last edited by LX-biker; 10-13-2012 at 09:59 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:37 PM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielak0328 View Post

Spotted a 2003 2.5L AWD, 140K miles, Looks Clean, New Tires, etc....
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielak0328 View Post

OK....so what would sway me from moving away from my 1998 Volvo V70XC, 2.4L w/LPTurbo - 145Kmi, to the BMW 325xi Wagon? I've gone through similar mechanical issues with the Volvo, and have brought it up to very good operating condition. I don't know that I'm sold on the Volvo thing - but it's been a solid car. The BMW is sweet, but it seems that they have similar mechanical whoo's...?
My $0.02 ($0.05 with inflation)...

Volvo's seats are better. About the best around. BMW's ZSP (Bimmerese for the sports package) seats are OK.

Volvo does station wagons better than BMW. BMW does sports sedans better than just about anyone. I don't think of my E91 as a "real" wagon, more as a 5-door sedan that's fun to drive. The space in the back of the Volvo is more usable, so that's the one I usually take to Home Depot or Costco.

Any car with a manual transmission has a soul, so that's a "must have". Volvo abandoned the shift-for-yourself wagon market a few years ago. BMW has abandoned that market too, since the new F31 is automatic only.

If your Volvo is mechanically solid I don't know if there is a huge net/net advantage to making the switch. 140k is more than average mileage for an '03. Things just wear out as the miles pile up, as I'm sure you've seen with the Volvo. Parts and repairs are no better and maybe a little worse for the BMW.

I kept waiting for BMW to import a 3.0 liter, 6-speed E46 wagon -- it never happened (and I'm not skilled enough to build my own) and so I finally bought the E91.

Keep looking!
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2012, 06:48 AM
stickbuilder stickbuilder is offline
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I have a BMW Touring (RWD) and a Volvo V70 wagon (FWD). I don't live in the snow belt, but if I did, I'd drive an AUDI Quattro.

The Bimmer feels like it is on rails, and the Volvo feels like a 3 leg rhinoceros on a cheap pair of roller skates. It plows into the corners and accelerates as if it were in molasses. I used to have an Audi A6 Quattro wagon, and wish I still had it and someone else had the Volvo. Today's Volvo's are not the same car as the old Brick Volvos. They have been given the Ford treatment and are not much different from the Taurus Wagon.

If you won't consider the Audi, then by all means go for the Touring. Even the rear wheel drive versions do pretty well in snow with the correct tires.
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:00 AM
lgr122 lgr122 is offline
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Right tires are most important when driving on ice and snow, otherwise winter is no problem to any modern car. With electronic devices difference between FWD and RWD is not so big like back in old times. Of course it's still your own choice which you like most, but both can go.
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