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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 07-09-2013, 09:29 PM   #1
wildirish317
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Why Did You Choose an E46?

Okay, I did a search (really, I did) and could not find this thread. So here it is.

I'm really curious why some of the current active members purchased their cars. Most of us have owned the cars for less than two years, so we didn't buy them new, or CPO.

There are a few members who obviously can (and have) purchase(d) more expensive and exotic cars. I'm interested in their stories as well as people like me, who probably should have bought a Honda.

I'll go first (only fair, I started this thread).

I chose the E46 first because mine is a convertible, second because it's a BMW. There's a history behind this.

My wife and I have always wanted (but not always had) a convertible to tool around in. Our first was a 1966 Chevy Impala, red with white interior. Too many stories regarding this car for this post. Our second vert was a 1991 LeBaron (ugh). I chose it over an E30 vert that needed a new top. (I had never owned a BMW at that point, and am still kicking myself for passing on the E30.)

Our daughter graduated from college, and decided to move to NYC. We gave her the LeBaron (which, by the way, has the turning radius of a battleship), which she sold to Carmax for $1200 to finance her trip to NYC. She didn't need a car there, so it was money well traded.

Fast forward a few months, and I've been researching BMWs. Found a convertible on ebay ending soon, and put in a bid for what I'd be willing to spend on it. No PPI, no sense, and too much bourbon. Found myself the proud owner of a 1995 E36 BMW 325i convertible, automatic, no sport seats or suspension, but a nice color and a BMW. Found a carrier that delivered the car to my house for $250 (less than what it would cost me to go get it).

The car was a learning experience, and the beginning of my love for BMWs. I suscribed to Bimmer magazine (started in July of 2008) and still have every issue. This is the car that taught me about the importance of cooling system maintenace. We gave this car to our youngest daughter, who gave it up after four months because we took it from her on weekends, and she was scared to death that she might put a dent in "Daddy's" car. We sold it and bought her a pre-dented 97 Honda Civic. She still has it.

Our middle daughter got to the point that she needed a semi-modern, dependable ride, so we sold her our 2003 Passat (really cheap), and had to find another car. Thus began the search for another convertible. My wife had one stipulation - four seats. I had several stipulations - E46 BMW, manual transmission, sport seats, some color other than a shade of gray. I really wanted a ZHP, but none were available in our area at the time we were ready to buy. M3s were out due to the higher insurance cost.

So here we are, Oxford Green over Beige 325CiC with a manual top (no power top issues, which is actually a bonus), 5 speed, with sport seats. I plan to keep this car for a few years.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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The E46 coupe has been one of my favorite body styles out of Bavaria for some time, and I love the mechanical feel of it...not as dampened as more modern BMW's. It's a car I very much enjoy to look at, work on and most of all, drive!
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:47 PM   #3
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The E46 is the latest greatest modern car you can buy. It has 95% of the safety, comfort, and convenience features "modern" cars have without the bulk and softened design of those cars. The E46 (and E39) are of the era when BMW hit its stride. Leaps and bounds over BMWs of the past - especially its predecessor the E36. The E46 is BMW at its absolute best. After that, BMW still made great cars that turned harder, braked harder, accelerated faster but they didn't and don't have that Made in Germany feel and design the E46 has.

In a nutshell, the E46 combines the both of best worlds. The agility, size, and form factor of smaller, older BMWs and the modern safety, comfort, and convenience of newer models. The E46 is the perfect synergy. Despite its design deficiencies, it's the perfect car for me.

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Last edited by Mango; 07-09-2013 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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Re: Why Did You Choose an E46?

Really no reason in particular, I was just looking for something with 2 doors. I was looking for an e36 but I found an e46 and it was perfect. And the support from the BMW community is a plus.

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Old 07-09-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
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Cause bmw

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Old 07-09-2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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Why Did You Choose an E46?

It seemed like the logical upgrade when I sold the e36...


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Old 07-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #7
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I wanted something different after owning 7 mustangs in a row (2 GTs, 3 Cobras, and 2 base models). I really can't say much about the car because I have had nothing but problems in the short amount of time that I have owned it. It has not been driven since January because it blew a head gasket. I started my engine swap in May and it has been a slow process because of the problems I keep running into with needing to order missing/broken parts that become special orders that need to be procured from Germany.

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Old 07-09-2013, 10:19 PM   #8
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Unlike most cars, the thing has spirit! I chose my dad's old E46 over a much newer Honda Accord and I couldn't be happier. It provides feedback to the driver about road conditions, and is especially fun to drive with the inline 6/rear wheel drive combination. Additionally, steering feel is spot on. Not so light that it's boring, yet not so heavy that it is laborious. I absolutely LOVE this car.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:21 PM   #9
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Why Did You Choose an E46?

Well my story began and ened in 200 when I first saw the e46 M3 Candy Apple Red with the blk and red interior, 5 spd, with deep dish wheels at a dealership. I fell in love with that car, when I went to ask If there will be another one like do, I was told that " it's to much for you boy, go but Toyota or Honda, lol got into a fight with that salesman, went to county, 2 yrs of probation later, I stop my craving for the car, literally a year ago, the same car arose again at a dealership in Pa I remembered the fight and probation, and I kept it waking. Looking back at it, didn't want the same thing to happen again, so finally after living in Seattle Wa, I saw a price online for what I drive now, 01 Charcoal Gray E46 ZSP with 93k miles on it for 7k, I LOVE smooth line, the quick response, the blk interior, " wish it was blk and red " but I'm content with my purchase, haven't done any up grade yet, so I joined this sight to learn from others, pick up some hints if possible, and I can't wait to start with my project with her..

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Old 07-09-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
dwtaylorpdx
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We owned a E36, and were really happy with it, the E46 seemed like a nice upgrade.

Love the car, hate the shoddy design flaws... Windows, Wiring Harness, crap cooling system.

My E36 has 211000 miles (bought at 80K), and in that time has needed,
1 water pump, new thermostat, Alternator, valve cover gasket.

E46 100K miles (Bought at 75K),,, Water Pump, Wiring harness for trunk,
Tail light meltdown, window regulator failure , Oil leaks, CV joints, Valve cover gasket,
Fuel pump, Heater control, heater ballast resistor, Oil filter tower seals, Washer pump....
Like I said its the picky crap that ruins the car...

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Old 07-09-2013, 10:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwtaylorpdx View Post
We owned a E36, and were really happy with it, the E46 seemed like a nice upgrade.

Love the car, hate the shoddy design flaws... Windows, Wiring Harness, crap cooling system.

My E36 has 211000 miles (bought at 80K), and in that time has needed,
1 water pump, new thermostat, Alternator, valve cover gasket.

E46 100K miles (Bought at 75K),,, Water Pump, Wiring harness for trunk,
Tail light meltdown, window regulator failure , Oil leaks, CV joints, Valve cover gasket,
Fuel pump, Heater control, heater ballast resistor, Oil filter tower seals, Washer pump....
Like I said its the picky crap that ruins the car...

Dave
Spend $3,000 on it and get it right.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
The E46 is the latest greatest modern car you can buy. It has 95% of the safety, comfort, and convenience features "modern" cars have without the bulk and softened design of those cars. The E46 (and E39) are of the era when BMW hit its stride. Leaps and bounds over BMWs of the past - especially its predecessor the E36. The E46 is BMW at its absolute best. After that, BMW still made great cars that turned harder, braked harder, accelerated faster but they didn't and don't have that Made in Germany feel and design the E46 has.

In a nutshell, the E46 combines the both of best worlds. The agility, size, and form factor of smaller, older BMWs and the modern safety, comfort, and convenience of newer models. The E46 is the perfect synergy. Despite its design deficiencies, it's the perfect car for me.

I couldn't sum it up any better than Mango did....good job! What he posted pretty much sums up why I love the E46 platform over any other car out there...
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:45 PM   #13
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Almost None of the things I listed should fail on a car with 100K on it..

I did the cooling system up front because the pump and stat needed done, so while your there.... did it all...
Especially since I hadn't owned the car since new. I still believe that an 80K expected life on a radiator is CRAP..
I recently sold a 1957 ford with 500K miles on it still on the original radiator(Was my grandparents car I KNOW the history.
I own a Model T with the original brass radiator from 1925.
I helped start some 1940' caterpillars that had their original cooling systems and no issues.. You'd think a car could at least make a 100K..

I should have highlighted the NEEDED part, I do some things in a preventative fashion, and because I like working on my car.
But some things are inexcusable bad engineering, I will never yield that a window regulator should break in a normal car life of use. .
Especially since BMW's have had this problem since the 2002..

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Old 07-09-2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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I have several reasons that lead me up to buying a bimmer. One of them was when I drove a friend's M3. It was raining but it felt like a sunny day. Shifting gears was just simply beautiful. That night I was so glad I was the Designative Drive.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwtaylorpdx View Post
Almost None of the things I listed should fail on a car with 100K on it..

I did the cooling system up front because the pump and stat needed done, so while your there.... did it all...
Especially since I hadn't owned the car since new. I still believe that an 80K expected life on a radiator is CRAP..
I recently sold a 1957 ford with 500K miles on it still on the original radiator(Was my grandparents car I KNOW the history.
I own a Model T with the original brass radiator from 1925.
I helped start some 1940' caterpillars that had their original cooling systems and no issues.. You'd think a car could at least make a 100K..

I should have highlighted the NEEDED part, I do some things in a preventative fashion, and because I like working on my car.
But some things are inexcusable bad engineering, I will never yield that a window regulator should break in a normal car life of use. .
Especially since BMW's have had this problem since the 2002..

Cheers
Dave
Your 1950s pickup truck and caterpillar tractor aren't the light-weight and agile 50/50 weight distributed aluminum suspension dynamic luxurious people moving leather-lined machines BMWs are.

Big difference.

Those cars and tractors were also made in a different era where light weight materials weren't born yet.

Bad analogy.

I know of several of my friend's cars of various make and models with cooling system failures earlier than 60k. In fact, my friends 2001 Firebird recently had various overheating problems and literally needed a completely new cooling system. The water pump was missing ALL of its fins and it would overheat at stop lights. 60k miles!!!

FWIW, the E46 is an extremely robust and reliable car. After owning at least a dozen cars of many makes, I can say without a doubt the E46 or BMWs in general have been by far the MOST RELIABLE cars by FAR.

LEAPS...

AND...

BOUNDS.

And it handles and brakes like a motherfvcker to boot. Is super comfortable, quiet, safe, looks bitch!n and can embarrass most cars in the twisties. Whats there not to like?
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:54 PM   #16
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can embarrass most cars in the twisties.
For me, that's it. As we say in Kentucky, "I like how it steers!"
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
FWIW, the E46 is an extremely robust and reliable car. After owning at least a dozen cars of many makes, I can say without a doubt the E46 or BMWs in general have been by far the MOST RELIABLE cars by FAR.

LEAPS...

AND...

BOUNDS.
Mango, how can you make a statement like that when you prematurely replace parts before letting them run their course? You can't compare the BMW to anything you owned because from my understanding your are the preventative maintenance guru that doesn't allow cars to even get a chance to breakdown.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:14 PM   #18
dwtaylorpdx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
Your 1950s pickup truck and caterpillar tractor aren't the light-weight and agile 50/50 weight distributed aluminum suspension dynamic luxurious people moving leather-lined machines BMWs are.

Big difference.

Those cars and tractors were also made in a different era where light weight materials weren't born yet.

Bad analogy.

I know of several of my friend's cars of various make and models with cooling system failures earlier than 60k. In fact, my friends 2001 Firebird recently had various overheating problems and literally needed a completely new cooling system. The water pump was missing ALL of its fins and it would overheat at stop lights. 60k miles!!!

FWIW, the E46 is an extremely robust and reliable car. After owning at least a dozen cars of many makes, I can say without a doubt the E46 or BMWs in general have been by far the MOST RELIABLE cars by FAR.

LEAPS...

AND...

BOUNDS.

And it handles and brakes like a motherfvcker to boot. Is super comfortable, quiet, safe, looks bitch!n and can embarrass most cars in the twisties. Whats there not to like?
I still like the car,, just hate crap engineering..
My point is with material technology BMW should be able to make a very low maintenance car that at least makes 100K on "average"... They used to build aircraft they should get this concept...

Kind of like a MG I owned many years ago, Totally fun to drive, spent more time in the shop than on the road, loved it when it was running LOL

My 330xi is fun to drive,, only car I've owned that was faster, stopped better and handled better was my 69 911S, which I never worked on except for a clutch that was totally my fault not Porsche.. actually cost less to own than a Toyota Pickup that I had....

I vehemently agree and yet disagree about the E46 quality...

Dave
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:15 PM   #19
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I was in the market for a newer car last year. I was looking for something not only reputable, but also something that wasn't the "usual" thing I see around here. I have a side business, that would require me to make house calls, and things of the sort. I didn't want to show up as a technical-type person, in some cheap-looking car that was bound to rust out in a month. And the GM series of cars, while easy to work on mostly, and cheap to get parts, just...are too common. While browsing a bunch of different car shopping sites, I came across a pre-facelift 4-door in black. And went "That. That's what I want.". Saw the coupe version, and then went "ok, whichever one I find first, and in good shape, is coming home". I browsed the forums, got an idea of what to look for, and what I was IN for, and bought it, knowing that with good upkeep, I would have a great-looking car, reliable, and something I would be proud to be seen in.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:23 PM   #20
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What Mango said + because racecar.
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