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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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Old 12-25-2013, 10:31 AM
taimuraq taimuraq is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: M3 '99 'vert
Newbie looking for advice in buying used M3

Hi guys,

I am looking to buy my first car here in the states, and this is going to be my first BMW as well. I really need some advice from the pros here. I am looking at an option between:

-1999 m3 convertible (5-spd manual)
-2004 m3 convertible (6-spd manual)

For this reason I have posted in both the e36 and e46 forums to get both opinions.

The e36 has 87k miles on it whereas the e46 has 73k miles on it, but as expected, the price difference is almost double. The e36 is going for $11k whereas the dealer is asking $21k for the e46.

My considerations:

-The car will be a used as a Daily Driver
- Which car will require relatively less maintenance. I know that bmw is high maintenance but i also know that e46 has a lot more electrical parts to it. Does it automatically make it harder to maintain? Which one is more reliable? Which will require less trips to the mechanic over the course of next 20k-30k miles
-I will more than likely sell the car and upgrade next year once i get more funds...which one would give a better percentage resale value after 10-12 months?

I would really like some expert advice as I am probably going to buy either of the two by this weekend or max next week.

I have already had the e36 inspected by a mechanic and he has told me that I would need to put in another $1k to get the car in tip top condition. Nothing major though. He said everything else about the car is solid, so it is a good buy and should last me long. He also told me that e36 is lower maintenance cost than compared to e46 but the e36 convertible top is notorious for having recurring issues.

So, thanks in advance and happy holidays!

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Old 12-31-2013, 08:01 AM
nanoodhaliwal nanoodhaliwal is offline
Waiting for one
Location: USA
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 11
Mein Auto: BMW M3 & Golf GTI
Hey Taimur,

Both will need to be maintained in order to keep running like new. The maintenance on these cars can go up fairly quick. Get the PPI inspection done from dealership, they will let you know the exact condition of the car and engine, was it revved high, what is needed..things like that.

Maintenance on both cars will be almost same but E36 will be cheaper as it is old and parts are relatively cheaper.

E36 has more connected steering and road feel. On the other hand E46 is perfect combination of luxury and sports. You have to make the choice here, good luck.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:05 AM
taimuraq taimuraq is offline
Registered User
Location: California
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: M3 '99 'vert
Thanks for your input on this man. I have already decided and I'll be picking up the e36 hopefully by the end of this week. Hope it turns out well for me.
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