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I am considering purchasing a new car within a year, and have a few quetions about the BMW 325i and 325ci.

I am looking at the following: 2003 BMW 325i (or ci) Alpine White, Black Leather, Cold Weather Package, Sport Package, Premium Package and Xenon.

I would be a first time BMW buyer and have almost no experience with BMW and German cars. How reliable are BMW's? What problems should I know about?

What kind of deal should I expect to get on a 2003 325i? The planned purchase date is mid-late summer months.

Does anyone have information on the College Graduate Program offered by BMW Financial Services? I plan to finanace (purchase) using this program, as the car will be purchased not long after graduating from college.

I am also considering the following cars: Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T and VW Passat.

Thanks for your help!
 

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I plan to buy a 2003 325i to replace our Passat. If you haven't already, test drive the cars on your list. IMO, there's a big difference between the driving experience of a Passat and an E46. The Passat is a great family car, and cruises comfortably on the highway. The E46 handles much better and is more involving to drive.

Reliability of the E46 is very good, and after 100k miles and nearly 10 years, my E34 is going strong. I plan to keep it for another couple years. I have much less faith in the reliability of our Passat (and VW/Audi in general).
 

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Bimmer325i said:
I am considering purchasing a new car within a year, and have a few quetions about the BMW 325i and 325ci.

I am looking at the following: 2003 BMW 325i (or ci) Alpine White, Black Leather, Cold Weather Package, Sport Package, Premium Package and Xenon.

I would be a first time BMW buyer and have almost no experience with BMW and German cars. How reliable are BMW's? What problems should I know about?

What kind of deal should I expect to get on a 2003 325i? The planned purchase date is mid-late summer months.

Does anyone have information on the College Graduate Program offered by BMW Financial Services? I plan to finanace (purchase) using this program, as the car will be purchased not long after graduating from college.

I am also considering the following cars: Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T and VW Passat.

Thanks for your help!
I was in amost the same postion as you recently. Only exception is the college graduate program.

What cemented the 325i decision for me is when I took a look at Edmunds 'true cost of ownership' feature. The Passat had a depreciation rate of 21% for the 1st year of owner ship. The A4 had 19% and the BMW just under 16%. Maintenance costs for the Passat are actually more than the BMW. That is mostly due to the maintenance included feature we have (Audi's has this too but time and miles are more than BMW's).

I also was concerned about reliability so I did archive searches on this forum, VWVORTEX.COM and AUDIWORLD.COM. Search word - problem. I found that BMW has it's share of problems but most annoyances and predominantly good dealer support. Audi pretty much the same way. VW, however, seemed to have some dealer support issues.

Phil said it best - need to drive them to get a final impression. If you're not comfortable in the car and you don't like the driving dynamics, what good is it?

Good luck!
 
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