if looking for 99-04 3 series, which is best?

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the early 2000's BMW 3 series have caught my eye, but I really know nothing about all the differences, pros/cons (all BMW's look the same to me) anything I should know about or avoid? thanks!
 
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The later, the better. No severe issues AFAIK, but a few minor kinks in the earlier models that were worked out in the later ones. Were you looking for pros and cons of the E46 3-series as a whole? Specific model years? Specific models?
 

mpvue

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Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Were you looking for pros and cons of the E46 3-series as a whole? Specific model years? Specific models?
yes smile E46? what does that designate? probably looking for a 325 sedan w/ a stick. I see some had a factory M 'package'(big wheels, air dams), while not really being an 'M'. would like a six speed instead of the 5 speed.
 
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There was an M Sport package which had some M-bits here and there (steering wheel, wheels, body trim, etc). You could look for a 330 "ZHP" which is a more rare high-performance variant for those who didn't want the M3.
 
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Originally Posted By: mpvue
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Were you looking for pros and cons of the E46 3-series as a whole? Specific model years? Specific models?
yes smile E46? what does that designate? probably looking for a 325 sedan w/ a stick. I see some had a factory M 'package'(big wheels, air dams), while not really being an 'M'. would like a six speed instead of the 5 speed.
BMW Model Codes This is slightly better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BMW_vehicles
 
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Originally Posted By: mpvue
Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Were you looking for pros and cons of the E46 3-series as a whole? Specific model years? Specific models?
yes smile
Alright, here goes. Remember, this is based entirely on my own opinions and understanding, which are incomplete; I have had a lot of friends who were E46 owners over the years, but I haven't done a huge amount of research myself beyond talking to them, driving their cars, and reading reviews. E46 3-Series Pro: - Best-in-class handling dynamics, hands down. - Deceptively fast on the highway. - More comfortable than anything that even approaches it in terms of overall handling. - Good balance of proven technology and new stuff; just the right amount of modern gizmos to make the car better without sacrificing reliability or ruining the experience of driving it. - Available with AWD, but even RWD models handle snow just fine with the right tires. - If treated well in the first 50,000 miles or so, tends to last a long time with reasonable upkeep costs. E46 3-Series Con (common to most BMWs): - "Normal person" driving and maintenance habits don't always work. You must be proactive with maintenance, and not be offended by the idea of paying for BMW OE parts when "OEM replacements" cost half as much. You also need to be willing to find a highway and give it the beans (as in WOT to redline) on a fairly regular basis. - It is crucial to find one that was treated well early in its life. If you don't, upkeep can get annoying and costly. - Because it's so capable and stable at speed, but doesn't provide all of the sensory feedback of a true sports car, it's more likely than many cars to make you act as though you own the road. - Sometimes consumes oil between changes. - Requires synthetic oil that meets certain specs. Individual Models: - Later model years are always better. - As far as I can tell, the only reason to buy a coupe is if you like the look. Sedans are equal or better otherwise. - If you test drive a 323 or 325 and don't like it, try a 330. Even though the chassis is the car's party piece, more power can improve the overall experience. - Avoid the M3 unless you plan to go to the race track regularly or engage in felony speeding (obviously I'm not endorsing the latter option).
 

mpvue

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Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Also, if you want a 6-speed manual, look at 330 models from 2003 up.
cool. I wasn't sure when the 6 speed came along. I think a 01-03 325 is more in my range.
 
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Originally Posted By: d00df00d
Also, if you want a 6-speed manual, look at 330 models from 2003 up.
+1 E30 = 1984-1991 E36 = 1992-1999 E46 = 1999-2006 E90= 2007-the new ones. M3....
 
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Great cars, buy an M3 coupe, and tune the heck out of it. Oh and you have to get a manual, a BMW with an auto = fail.
The M3 CSL is the model to get, or the GTR, that looks like a really fun track car.
 
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Originally Posted By: dparm
There was an M Sport package which had some M-bits here and there (steering wheel, wheels, body trim, etc). You could look for a 330 "ZHP" which is a more rare high-performance variant for those who didn't want the M3.
I 2nd this smile a bit of higher performance than a regular 3 series, but subtle enough to be a daily driver - great balance: (I own one) http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2024782&page=1
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted By: mpvue
saw a 325xi wagon w/ a stick on ebay, what a cool combination! I could have a lot of fun w/ a car like that.
My BIL has one. Nice little car.
 
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Originally Posted By: 97tbird
Originally Posted By: dparm
There was an M Sport package which had some M-bits here and there (steering wheel, wheels, body trim, etc). You could look for a 330 "ZHP" which is a more rare high-performance variant for those who didn't want the M3.
I 2nd this smile a bit of higher performance than a regular 3 series, but subtle enough to be a daily driver - great balance: (I own one) http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2024782&page=1
Alpina, Dinan, or Hartge, or even AC Schnitzer chipped in M3. smile
 
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The 330 ZHP is a truly great car. Its the M3 for the masses that you can afford to maintain. Truly its the only BMW I ever truly considered buying.
 
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Originally Posted By: Gene K
The 330 ZHP is a truly great car. Its the M3 for the masses that you can afford to maintain. Truly its the only BMW I ever truly considered buying.
LOL
I like the ZHP now. smile LOL
 
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