I was debating between a 5er and a 3er too. The 5er is roomier and I consider a sporty luxury car. The 3er, IMO, is more of a sports car with luxury. If you don't need the extra room for family or sales calls, then go with the 3er and run circles around that 2004 530i. :thumbup:
After several three series cars - we still have a 2002 325i - I purchased a 2004 530i. By far the finest car that I have ever owned - great performance and ride/handling compromise is great. More room means more comfort and I adjusted to the I-Drive in very little time - no problem. I would not trade for an E90. YMMV.
10k miles for a 2004 530i is very good, but I don't know about the price as you may need to do more research on that.
If you want more space in the car, the 530i would be the car for you. The 530i may actually be a better buy provided that the previous owner has taken very good care of it. Also, the previous owner has absorbed a large portion of the value depreciation associated with a brand new car.
However, if you specifically "want" a smaller car and the smell of a brand new BMW, then the 330i would be better. Plus the new 330i supposedly has a much improved engine. If my memory serves me correctly, the new 330i's engine is more powerful than the '04 530i engine.
BTW, I think you listed MSRP price for the 330i. According to some on the board, you might be able to get it cheaper. And even cheaper if you do European Delivery.
A forum community dedicated to BMW owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about Bimmerfest events, production numbers, programming, performance, modifications, classifieds, troubleshooting, maintenance, and more! Bringing the BMW community together.