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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 06-30-2010, 11:12 PM   #1
xddsixers
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Buying a Xi (2002-2005) Advise ? What to check?

Hi,

I have currently driving a Celica but I am looking forward to get a nicer and safer car. Looking into and E46 Xi automatic.. looking into 2002-2005... under 100k mile...

def want to get Xi for better control in snow and rain...

is there any year particular year better than others? any things I should look into when I test drive... ? My frd's 330xi (2003) have the control arm broken then the brush need replace again after he did a few months ago...

Budget is around 10k.. it is workable? How much should I expect for maintenance cost? Looking into drive it for 3-5 yrs

Thanks for everyone's input in advance
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:18 PM   #2
delmarco
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FYI:
A 330i or 325i with really good Snow Tires will get better gas mileage and just as much stability, if not better stability, than a 330xi or 325xi with crappy all season tires in ANY New York Winter.

For the xi models you DEFINATELY want to check out ALL suspension components because the tend to wear out quickly if the car isn't cared for and can be costly to fix.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:21 PM   #3
xddsixers
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I think you do have a point here but I would still go for a Xi, I am even thinking about x3 just that I am not sure about how reliable it is..

Last edited by xddsixers; 06-30-2010 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:04 AM   #4
botaman
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With proper snow tires the XI will more likely gets you any where during the Winter months.

As for reliability, it's just like any thing else. You take better care of it, it will take care of you.

I have an 01 with 112K miles, but runs and looks great.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:52 AM   #5
Kubica
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
FYI:
A 330i or 325i with really good Snow Tires will get better gas mileage and just as much stability, if not better stability, than a 330xi or 325xi with crappy all season tires in ANY New York Winter.

For the xi models you DEFINATELY want to check out ALL suspension components because the tend to wear out quickly if the car isn't cared for and can be costly to fix.
Classic xi-hater comment right here. Really? A car with snow tires out-performs a car without? Wow. That sure is profound. Better not get an xi!

In all seriousness, the xi is a better car than a non-M RWD e46. Built better, built stronger, more capable, higher resale, and they were all built in Munich.

OP- do yourself a favor and get a manual. Automatic 3-series are a waste of money.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
Tele
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-Check the rear springs.
-Check the rubber bellows on the front driveshafts for cracks/holes.
-Check for oil leaks on the front differential and transferbox. (Not a problem, but better to be safe than sorry!)

Other than that it's bulletproof! ...ore like any other 2WD BMW.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #7
msb10378
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Have to agree with the last two posters

-Check rear springs (they have a tendency to rust out)
-Check CV boots for leaks or tears (a typical failure sign is a vibration in the wheel when accelerating)
-Definately look for a manual and a sport package
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
FYI:
A 330i or 325i with really good Snow Tires will get better gas mileage and just as much stability, if not better stability, than a 330xi or 325xi with crappy all season tires in ANY New York Winter.

For the xi models you DEFINATELY want to check out ALL suspension components because the tend to wear out quickly if the car isn't cared for and can be costly to fix.
um...after owning 2 other rear wheel drive bimmers & now an XI, I could not disagree more with the above statement. Rear wheel drive bimmers in a word "suck" in the snow & I don't give a damn what tires you put on them...just my experience & 2 cents.
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:59 PM   #9
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Just purchased an 04 330xi, one previous owner who took it to the dealer for everything! reason he traded it in was cause it was out of factory extended warranty @ 72k, picked it up with 72,175 on it
They put it up in the air I check the underbody, inspect the CV joints, rear dif for previous leaks or current, watch for vibrations under acceleration
You're not making a mistake by going with the XI, people told me to look for a 330 cause it would be more exhilarating to drive and I'm more than pleased with the 330, just wish it had more power.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:06 PM   #10
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dont get an XI, sold mine and get a regular 325i, so glad i switched lol
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:24 PM   #11
miyata
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Old car always have problems, need to handy otherwise will be cost for any BMW. I didn't see XI had specific problem than other E46.
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:03 PM   #12
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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)
-Window regulators
-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!
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #13
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for 10k its very workable..just check the usual things but also check the axle boots for tears, leaks, clicking..
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
FYI:
A 330i or 325i with really good Snow Tires will get better gas mileage and just as much stability, if not better stability, than a 330xi or 325xi with crappy all season tires in ANY New York Winter.

For the xi models you DEFINATELY want to check out ALL suspension components because the tend to wear out quickly if the car isn't cared for and can be costly to fix.
Many suspension components on an XI tend to last longer than non XIs. The XI has a lot of beefed up suspension components over normal e46's.

Regular e46's could get the rough road package which gave them the same beefed up suspension components as the XI, although I believe this was only available in Europe.

Also as many people said the front cv boots and rear springs should be checked. Mine had 2 broken rear springs and needed a new passenger side cv boot when I got it. I used these as a bargaining chip and got a great deal on the car and then replaced these myself.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:29 PM   #15
jn8691
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window regulators are HUGE with our cars (i own a 325xi), ive already replaced 2 and am about to need to do a 3rd soon. other than that these cars are bullet proof
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:56 PM   #16
Blocked Out
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Xi pros:
-slight advantage in snow, TIRES make a BIG difference> personal experience.
That is it, all others are CONS, which are :
-bad fuel economy ( I mean really bad )
-bad drive ability (its never drive like BMW should)
-heavy (especially if you want an auto, pfffff forget it, might as well buy an Expedition)
-front suspension will fall apart right after the 90k miles mark, drive shafts , control arms, possible diff and a transfer box.
-slow ( weight and Xi-drive put a complete stop to BMW performance )

Make your move.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:14 PM   #17
whataboutbob
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i have a 2002 325 xi. it has been taken care of and has lived outside in lake tahoe for all its life..no major problems 128000 miles
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:47 AM   #18
CalE46xi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msb10378 View Post
Have to agree with the last two posters

-Check rear springs (they have a tendency to rust out)
-Check CV boots for leaks or tears (a typical failure sign is a vibration in the wheel when accelerating)
-Definately look for a manual and a sport package
Definately look for a manual and a sport package.
Thats what I did, never looked back.
I test drove multiple autos with basic interior and whatnot.
Totally worth it to wait and get the manual and sport package.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:44 PM   #19
ChipDouglas27
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I just got a 2003 with the sport package and it is great. No difference in suspension but it does have the 17" wheels and sport seats - Nice! I took the car to a independent mechanic before I purchased it and found it needed a new CV boot. I bought the car at a BMW dealership and they agreed to replace the entire CV joint. They would not repair only the boot. Overall, this is an incredible car. Can't wait for the snow to fly!
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