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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 11-09-2012, 12:36 PM
wadeholiday wadeholiday is offline
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shopping.. e46 vs e91?

this was just cross posted, as I learned in the E91 thread that I was looking different cars... I am between an 04/05 and the 06/07 and looking at mileage range.
I know the 46 is a bit smaller, but I'm OK with that. if you could own either or, which would you choose...?



So, I see lots of experts here, so I thought I'd put some of my thoughts as I'm working through this process. I drive in snow country, about 20 to 25K a year, like a smooth precise car, but don't need super sporty. I've had an acura RDX last, put 100k on it, and a couple turbo wagons before that. I want no turbo, smoother power, and precise handling, but don't drive it as a sports car.


1, it seems almost all the AWD 328 or 325 wagons are on the east coast, so I'm having to look from afar. i live in Lake Tahoe, and we get lots of snow, so AWD is key. I also like wagons to put my ski stuff, bike stuff, dog, kids pile of xc ski gear for races etc...

2. I'm trying to keep my expenses to 20K, with shipping from the E. coast.

So, I'm finding some 06 and 07 with 40 to 70K in this range.

I was originally more drawn to the 04 and 05, but getting them with less then 70K is much tougher.
that brings up the first question, is the 06 change worth it over the the 04/5? and, that said, is the second year, 07, of that model much more reliable due to being the second year?

some are 325xi and some are 328xi, any major difference here besides year?

I've found some slightly higher milage cars, 65 to 75k that were quite a bit less, 15K instead of 19k, my other thought is to get one of these and get a 3/36 extended warrantee.

Is there a sweet spot for these cars before they get really expensive to own? I was thinking of driving it between 50 and selling by 100K, but that is gut, not experience or knowlege.

Thanks for any advice and tips in this process!

Wade
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2012, 02:01 PM
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mawana mawana is offline
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I would say look past the e46. Don't get me wrong, it's a splendid car and I love mine to death but if I were spending money today, I would look at something less dated.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2012, 03:07 PM
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*ALL* BMWs are fairly maintainance-hungry, so be prepared for that eventuality if you have your heart set on any vehicle wearing the Roundel. Here on the E46 Forum, we lean towards the DIY side of the spectrum, and are willing to pull our own wrenches, and put some sweat equity into these cars to save a substantial amount of dough....the tab can run up dramatically if you`re paying the shop to do all the work. E46s are a bit more DIY-friendly than their E90 successors (which, BTW, don`t even have a dipstick, which should be warning enough )
The other issue is style....most of us here feel that the E46 stands head & shoulders above the E90 in the areas of body design and interior quality....the E90 took a serious (downgrade) hit on the latter.
E46 tourings are awesome, you should put your feelers out for one with a manual trans and CWP. I wouldn`t be overly concerned with AWD, (even given your location) the E46, equipped with proper *winter wheels* and a manual trans, is an extremely capable vehicle that can deal with just about any weather that a sane person would set out into. In unplowed snow, lack of ground clearance is usually what halts progress, in which case it really doesn`t matter *how* many wheels are driven....
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:35 PM
wadeholiday wadeholiday is offline
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thanks,

I have a couple e46's i'm interested in.

http://autohouseusa.com/vehicles/Sau...+Series+567014

this is one, another is with a beemer dealer, 05 w/ 74k, that looks super clean, and kbb says 14K, but dealer has it at 15,900.

I understand your thougths on snow, and after living in the mtns here in tahoe for 20 years, I could get away w/ a 2, but as with today, with 3 iches on the road and chain contols up, having awd definitely simpifies your life.

cheers,
wade
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  #5  
Old 11-10-2012, 01:15 AM
lgr122 lgr122 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
the E46, equipped with proper *winter wheels* and a manual trans, is an extremely capable vehicle that can deal with just about any weather that a sane person would set out into.
People often don't take tires seriously enough, but those are key element when driving in winter. Too often handling and safety of brilliant car is ruined with bad tires.

I see it here everyday, russians come with their giant SUVs with summer tires on, and because cars have automatic everything they don't even feel the icy road before it's too late.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2012, 04:10 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Not that I am biased ...

But I would suggest a 2008 to 2009 x3. It is based on the extremely awesome e46 platform, extremely reliable, less dated (newer motor/less aged) and comes with awd with more ground clearance. You can easily find an 08 with around 65k miles for about $19k. I too would suggest looking for a manual transmission car. I too live in NorCal and this car performs well in the snow around Tahoe.

The biggest advantage of the newer motor is that it does have a more robust cooling system. Keep in mind, based on age of vehicle selected above, you are in the sweet spot to need a cooling refresh. The drawback as stated above...no oil dipstick.

I have an 09, bought new, that has 102k highly maintained commute miles and I have no doubt it will hit 300k. This has been one of my most reliable commute vehicles.

Last edited by x3brian; 11-10-2012 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:18 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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like wise, i'm in love with the BMW
but why not get a Subaru WRX instead?
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2012, 05:14 AM
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Hi Wade. We owned a 2007 E91 and an E46 sedan.

Without hesitation I would get the newer model. You don't have the accursed E46 cooling system in the E91, and the car is very comfortable being a little larger than the earlier series.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heztheone View Post
like wise, i'm in love with the BMW
but why not get a Subaru WRX instead?
The WRX is more performance oriented than a AWD BMW, but isn't in the same class for those wanting luxury.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2012, 07:35 AM
wadeholiday wadeholiday is offline
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point of contact

Quote:
Originally Posted by lgr122 View Post
People often don't take tires seriously enough, but those are key element when driving in winter. Too often handling and safety of brilliant car is ruined with bad tires.

I see it here everyday, russians come with their giant SUVs with summer tires on, and because cars have automatic everything they don't even feel the icy road before it's too late.
well stated!
I believe this whole heartedly... I talk about the point of contact being the most important element in so many things.
car tires are key, especially in snow and ice
ski tune is key, you can have a great ski, but with a bad tune it sucks, ave ski w/ great tune, and it will hold and ski well
mtb tires, grips, seat and pedals as important as anything for enjoyment, all points of contact
as a tennis pro, strings and grip are more important then the racket,
but that's an aside.

thanks for the tire comments. another 4 inches of snow this AM, if I didn't have to drive through a chain checkpoint, I would agree w/ awd not being as important. my wife and I were actually looking at minis for a bit, based on being good 85% of the time, and using hte mini as a fun run about (we vetoed that in the end)

RE: the x3, I've driven a few, and loved the powerband, but the handling was too suv, tippy for me. it also doesn't get the gas mileage of the 325. my last car debate was between the x3 and the rdx i put 100K on. i liked the bmw engine better, but the acura handling was better for me.

RE: wrx. I've owned one of these as well. 1st off, I don't want a turbo. i like the smooth consistent powerband of the 6, not the peaky turbo power. my wrx was my worst snow car, ever, also. turbo w/ no traction control is a bad combo in the ice.

I was very drawn to the 04 from a bmw dealer, but it seems the 06 is getting the most votes. better AT then 07, higher reliability then 04/05.


thx for the thoughts!

cheers,
Wade
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  #11  
Old 11-10-2012, 08:12 AM
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Late model Subaru outback or forrester are highly recommended cars especially for Tahoe. Last time I was there, you couldn't go anywhere w/o running into any Subarus. I'd stay away from the WRX or STI, too overblown for Tahoe.

As for E9x vs E46 in snow, IMHO they are too nice & luxurious a set of cars to abuse in that type of weather.
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2012, 08:20 AM
wadeholiday wadeholiday is offline
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thx.
yep, i've lived in tahoe for 20 years, and see way to many subaru's.
i'm owned an outback 3.0 R, and it was one of my least favorite cars of all time. Just plain sucked. got rid of it after a year.
my parents own a forrester, and it doesn't qualify as fun to drive, just something to get from point a to point b.

i want a car that is smooth, handles precisely, is fun to drive, can fit my ski and bike stuff, and is still nice enough to have clients ride around with me.

thx,
wade
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2012, 08:43 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Wade, check out a lci refreshed x3...post 07...avoid 07 though if you want an automatic. New suspension really did wonders over the early model. Based on your criteria a e46/e91 touring wagon or x3 seem to be your best fit...

As a side note my 09 auto is rock solid so the early issue did get sorted out. We have an auto transmission thread on the e83 sticky and the bulk of the issues were pre 03/08 or so build dates. I had this same tranny in my 08 128i and it too performed well. I only mention this due to your 07 on e9x auto comment...same driveline.

Last edited by x3brian; 11-10-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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