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jasonsjwou 10-29-2012 11:01 PM

Newbie looking for a Convertible E46 & few questions
Hello everyone my first post here. I'm from Indianapolis.

I am looking to buy a E46 convertible for a good weather commuter/weekend toy.

I have had owned in the past -
'88 Toyota MR2 Supercharged MT
'96 Mazda Miata MT
'05 Mini Cooper S JCW Convertible MT
Owned each of these on average 2-3 years.
I had to sell my Mini Cooper Convertible last year. I hated to sell it, but I had to.

I'm now looking for a convertible that has 4 seats and Automatic Transmission.

No. No. I'm not going with G6, Saab, Volvo, Toyota, etc.
I want a fairly nice convertible that I can enjoy with my family.

How would the E46 convertible compare with say, AUDI A4 or MB CLK?

Few questions to the experts in this forum...

- Something I should be looking for? certain year I should be avoiding?
- how easy are they to work on?
- I'm looking to spend about $7-8. What model/mileage can I expect?


- How reliable are they? Any particular item that is problematic on E46?

I'm OK with DIY maintenance/repairs. I can do mostly on chassis and electrical work... but can't do any major engine work (like swaps and rebuilds) or body work.

Any comments / recommendations are appreciated. Thanks!!!

Solidjake 10-30-2012 02:13 PM

For 7-8 grand you might find yourself maybe a 2002-2003 330ci convertible with 80-120k miles depending if you're patient in searching for the right car.

The cars are rather easy to work on you'll just need basic tools with metric sockets, torx bits, ratchet/extensions and that's it pretty much lol. Check out our DIY section and everything you need is there. As for the problematic items it's usually the cooling and suspension system.

jasonsjwou 10-30-2012 03:42 PM

Thank you for replying to my post.

I browsed through tons of DIY write ups. Very well organized. (Just like the Mini Cooper forum that I used to go to).

There is a 2001 330i convertible for sale in my area.
Around 90k miles, automatic. Appear to have a front bumper cover damage. (May be a chance to change it to M3 style bumper?)
Carfax is decent. Few owners but no recorded accident.
What would be a good price for something like this?

Solidjake 10-30-2012 04:48 PM

Maybe 7k or so but no more than that. Have the car checked out by an independent shop before buying.

Vincent_m3 10-30-2012 09:28 PM

Avoid 2002 - 2003 most people i know had a problem with SMG. Look for 2004 -2006 your budget is a bit low for e46 your looking around 16-24k

jasonsjwou 10-30-2012 09:55 PM

SMG is for M3s only right? The Sequential Manual Gear...

I'm not looking for M3. Just a regular torque converting automatic gear version.
But I will keep that in mind, to avoid 02-03 SMGs.

illestminimike 11-02-2012 11:30 AM


Originally Posted by Vincent_m3 (Post 14859505)
Avoid 2002 - 2003 most people i know had a problem with SMG. Look for 2004 -2006 your budget is a bit low for e46 your looking around 16-24k

Explain to me the difference with SMG in 2002-2003 to SMG is 2004-2004. Please.

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