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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 07-06-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
sennafan1978
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Porsche 944 or E46/36

Hello,

After searching for an answer to my question via the search menu, I could not quite find an answer to my specific question. So please excuse me if this ground has been covered before.

I am in the market for a used car with a budget of $4000.00 and it will be my daily driver for the most part. For several weeks I have been researching the Porsche 944 as a possibility. However, I then noticed that some high mileage e46s were in my range as well. I have owned BMWs before and loved both of them (2000 Z3 2.8l and a 1990 535). I would like your advice. In my view, I realize with such a limited budget I am taking a risk on whatever car I purchase. In my thinking, however, a high mileage e46 seems like a lower risk than a Porsche 944. Is this correct? Do you have any further advice? I am also considering an e36 as well, but I am less interested in it compared to the other options.

To eliminate possible answers I am: 1. Not interested in cars other than these two (in other words, please do not suggest an older Miata or MR2 or something of the sort). 2. I will be doing some of my own maintenance but probably not all of it. 3. Racing or hauling passengers is not a concern (I realize the rear seats in the Porsche are quite small).

Thanks in advance and again, I hope this is not ground that has been sufficiently covered elsewhere.

Will
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:39 PM   #2
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for $4000 I would get an E36.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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^^^^

This.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
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The 944 is fanatastic handling car and, while a bit underpowered by todays standards (except the 944 Turbo), will be more enjoyable in the twisties.

Since you are looking for a daily driver, I would pass on the 944 as they are pretty old by now, I wouldn't depend on one as a daily driver. Parts for the BMW are much more widely available as well.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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Realize if you buy either car for 4k, you will be looking at the lower base model cars that need maintenance. I would push up your budget a bit for either.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #6
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I test drove a 944 for fun and it felt extremely dated and kinda under powered, plus it is kinda ugly inside and out...
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:43 PM   #7
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The I6 in the E36 or the E46 is much more refined. Former coworker had a 944, handled great but it was kinda slow. Even though the big four has Mitsubishi balance shafts and whatnot, it's still a four and not as smooth. IIRC you also have a timing belt to worry about in the 944.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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It really doesn't matter whether the e46 or 944 would be a better daily driver. With the OP's budget of $4k, any e46 or 944 would be a basket case. $4k'll get a decent DD e36 though. I picked up my 1995 vert for $5k five years ago and it's been a pretty solid little car (granted it's not a DD).
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:04 PM   #10
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Get a E36
from 1993-1999
manual transmission

Avoid high mileage E46 from 1999-2000
Almost for sure they have cracked subframe already. Otherwise they won't be so cheap.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:23 PM   #11
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Really shouldn't compare the two. The 944 is extremely expensive to maintain as a daily driver in that price bracket.

You will almost definitely need to do the timing belt and water pump, plus the clutches on those don't last a particularly long time. From there you have all the usual 20yr old car leaks and busted rubbers from everything.

944 is a great car, but if you can only just afford a 944, don't buy it. If you think a BMW costs a lot to maintain, try a Porsche.

I've been dying for a 944 for years, but all it takes is a few hours every few months to look up ownership costs and it turns me off for another few months every time!

And M3Nick is spot on. Get an E36 and throw some money into maintenance.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:33 PM   #12
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Realize if you buy either car for 4k, you will be looking at the lower base model cars that need maintenance. I would push up your budget a bit for either.
This.
Understand that if you're buying an "upper class" car for $4000 it's extremely likely that it needs thousands in work to be a reliable dd. there's a ton out there but trust me, it's better to spend money for a good one initially than skimping and constantly having to fix things down the road.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
This.
Understand that if you're buying an "upper class" car for $4000 it's extremely likely that it needs thousands in work to be a reliable dd. there's a ton out there but trust me, it's better to spend money for a good one initially than skimping and constantly having to fix things down the road.
Meaning you will probably end up spending a grand getting that car into decent condition if you are lucky..
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:41 PM   #14
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Meaning you will probably end up spending a grand getting that car into decent condition if you are lucky..
Right. So example:
Spend 4k on BMW. Spend 2k on things making it reliable.

Spend 6k on BMW. Spend little to none making it reliable.

Second option makes much more sense
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #15
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Right. So example:
Spend 4k on BMW. Spend 2k on things making it reliable.

Spend 6k on BMW. Spend little to none making it reliable.

Second option makes much more sense
no first choice is better. At least u did you own maintaince and good to go for a long time. Never trust someone else to work on your car.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:47 PM   #16
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I dont think you can buy a car under 10k without any problems in any case. I would choose the first option too..
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:49 PM   #17
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I bought my 323i for $5500, put in about 2k of maintenance the year and a half I have owned it, probably another 3-4k in mods haha and that's only cosmetic. If I were you, buy an e36 and be happy, buy an e46 be stressed, buy an 944 start going insane
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:00 PM   #18
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no first choice is better. At least u did you own maintaince and good to go for a long time. Never trust someone else to work on your car.
I trusted my PO and the work that was done based on the records that were provided and the condition that the car was in.
I'm happy I payed for a good car to begin with rather than buying a crap box and putting money towards trying to polish a turd.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:03 PM   #19
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I find it's really fun to buy a really cheap e46 that's not rusted and no frame damage. And slowly DIY everything and get it to perfect condition.
I am sure many ppl here would agree.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:06 PM   #20
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I find it's really fun to buy a really cheap e46 that's not rusted and no frame damage. And slowly DIY everything and get it to perfect condition.
I am sure many ppl here would agree.
I won't deny that. But I was under the impression that the OP is looking for a reliable dd, not a project. Could be wrong though
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