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Discussion Starter #1
Ok folks,

My GF needs a car. She does not have too much money and she definitely does not want something generic as Toyota/Honda/GM/Ford.

I've found couple of decent looking early model E46s out there and I started doing some research. On this forum I discovered some really good threads about what are the common failure points for the E46: rear subframe, window regulators, etc etc.

Here are my questions to the community:

1. How good are the automatic trannies that came with the 323s? We are looking at a 1999 E46 323i sedan with automatic tranny and a few options.

2. How reliable is the 2.5L in the 323? We are looking for a car with good engine and transmission till she saves enough money to get something better/newer.

I am planning on taking a look at one of those cars this weekend and I was wondering what would you suggest that I pay close attention to for possible problems?

Thanks for your time and help in advance!
 

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As long as you do preventative maintenance on the cooling system by ~100k, that engine is pretty bulletproof. I would personally stay away from the automatic, get a manual if at all possible. It will be more reliable, faster, and you will get considerably better gas mileage (I get 33mpg highway with my 323i). My girlfriend has driven my manual 323i several times and she loves it.

The main problem the automatics have is they are made by GM, and some will loose their reverse gear. Not even remotely cheap to fix.

What is her budget/how many miles are on the cars you are looking for?
 

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Ok folks,

My GF needs a car. She does not have too much money and she definitely does not want something generic as Toyota/Honda/GM/Ford.

I've found couple of decent looking early model E46s out there and I started doing some research. On this forum I discovered some really good threads about what are the common failure points for the E46: rear subframe, window regulators, etc etc.

Here are my questions to the community:

1. How good are the automatic trannies that came with the 323s? We are looking at a 1999 E46 323i sedan with automatic tranny and a few options.

2. How reliable is the 2.5L in the 323? We are looking for a car with good engine and transmission till she saves enough money to get something better/newer.

I am planning on taking a look at one of those cars this weekend and I was wondering what would you suggest that I pay close attention to for possible problems?

Thanks for your time and help in advance!
Then get a Subaru Impreza 2.5 base (if she needs a "different" car) or even some kind of Scion / Mazda, because she is looking for the wrong car if she will depend on a shop to do the work.

323 / 325s are pretty cheap to purchase, but since she is your g/f and not wife I wouldn't assume you'd always be there to do the work when maintenance needs to be done.

The guy above me is correct about the transmission too. I'd avoid it like the plague.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good points fellas. I'll take this into consideration. She is not very fond of Subaru's. She understands nothing about mechanics/electronics, etc so she has her decisions done solely on styling alone. Yeah, I'll be the one maintaining the car and I'd prefer German made car since I've been working on them for almost a decade now. GF does not care if it is manual or automatic. She can drive both equally well and she can definitely handle powerful engines as well. She really likes my 335i :).

Anyway, I guess I'll keep digging for a good one with a manual tranny.

BTW, why on EARTH did BMW decided to put a GM tranny on their cars?
 

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What is her budget/how many miles are on the cars you are looking for?
She says $3K is max she can afford right now. I "mentally" double that amount in my head knowing that she can barely get a 2001 Focus for this much money here in Chicago...

Here is what I've found though:

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/ctd/2049424132.html

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/ctd/2047888590.html

There are couple of more. The black one looks pretty good but then and again, both of these are automatics.
 

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GF does not care if it is manual or automatic. She can drive both equally well
She's a keeper. :thumbup:

BTW, why on EARTH did BMW decided to put a GM tranny on their cars?
:dunno:


The first car you posted will likely be marked spam soon. The second 'looks' good, but is an automatic. :tsk:

e46 manuals are few and far between, but certainly are out there.

Good luck.


High miles on this one, but it looks like the owner knows what he is doing.

http://madison.craigslist.org/cto/2039663813.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice find! I'll have to check out the Madison area craigslist. Somehow I always forget to look there....
 

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