Thanks for all the replies! I've got a similar thread going on on e90post, and a lot of former e46 guys have good stuff to say about them. That being said, it's always easier to look back and think how much you loved a car, when you're in something new. Ask me now how much i loved my 1990 Toyota Celica haha! But it seems the e46s are viewed as reliable cars by past and (many) current owners.
To answer someone's question, I am not under warranty anymore. I did pick the car apart for defects before it expired though, as I was planning on keeping my car for a very long time, up until about two days ago. I had a DSC module, transfer case servo, sunroof cassette, lifters (due to ticking) all replaced under warranty. This would make the car appear to be problematic, however I think most of these issues being caught early would help keep larger issues from popping up later (and when I would have to pay for them). One other thing is I'm growing weary of the x-drive. I just don't feel like my car drives the way it should. Plus I have one cupped tire due to an alignment issue (fixed now) and I'm faced with replacing all four tires so as not to upset the transfer case. I bought it because we had a couple big snows in KC a while back, and I'm not allowed to call-in to my cubicle sales job (again, quitting ASAP!) but it didn't snow at all last year. So I'm thinking of switching to RWD and getting a good set of snow tires. That combined with making my own schedule should suffice, I think.
So, either way I'm going to be DIYing maintenance on a bimmer, so that's not the main concern. Some of the stories of being stranded are what make me nervous. Though it's obviously a slight concern with my current car, as well. I do have a coworker who drove his 325ci while overheating, and had to get a new engine. He's had nothing but problems, but also did no preventative maintenance. and he opened the radiator cap while it was hot and burned his face. So that's the extent of his car knowledge. Worst case scenario, I guess I've got free roadside assistance.
At least e46s still have spare tires!
I'm going to keep my eyes open for the right one, I think. Thanks again, keep your feedback coming!