07-01-2010, 06:03 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: San Francisco
My Ride: 2004 330xi
| From having bought parts for an 02 325i and an 04 330xi, I can say that some of the xi specific parts are harder to come by and harder to install because of all the extra drivetrain in the front (they can also be more expensive, like brake rotors). It is frustrating not being able to do certain things on the xi because of all the extra drivetrain in the front, but if youre not planning on DIYing then this might not be as much of an issue. Also if you're set on the xi, then this is a useless point to make.
Anyhow, some of the other things that people have said I would say to definitely check for. CV boots are a big one for xi's, and can be costly and time consuming to change. The integrity of the springs are another thing to look for. In my opinion, the e46 in general is a high maintenance car once you get to 60k+ miles, so you have to be willing to shell out a relatively large amount of money even if you are doing the maintenance yourself.
The typical problems on all non xi's apply to the xi's as well. Here is a thread that I bookmarked where people have listed some of their common problems: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=405169
Off the top of my head, this is what I can think of that applies to everyone at some point or another:
-Cooling system (fails close to 80k-100k miles)
-Power steering pump (about the same time)
-Sunroof issues (extremely cheap to fix if you are willing to do it yourself)
-Taillight connection issues (wire needs to be grounded, very cheap fix as well if you DIY)
-DISA valve failing
Also many of the fluids that BMW says are lifetime, like the transmission, differential, and power steering fluids are not actually lifetime fluids and should be replaced every 60k miles (what i go by).
Most of these issues are cheap if you DIY, but it can add up. Either way, I love my BMW and they are made well overall. Good luck!