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List price on a three button key from the dealer as of last year was $163.69 but you need to bring your title to the dealer and wait a couple weeks to get it.
You can cheap out and buy a service key w/o buttons and it's $47.55 dealer list.
Join BMWCCA and get a 15% discount.
The car will program the key. There's a sequence of things to do to make it happen but it's pretty simple like turning the key three times in succession or some such. Your dealer should do it for free when the keys come in. If someone is quoting you $500 for a key they're trying to scare and gouge you. It's BS - go elsewhere.
If you're finding cheap (<$100) three button keys on flea-bay you're right, they probably won't work.
 

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My experience has been slightly less costly. I've been keeping extensive databases on all maintenance costs on an e36 and two e46s over the past twelve years. I'm a reasonably competent DIYer and do all my own cooling, fuel, and brake work, and most simple engine work - but no body work. My average over ten years has been about $1,600 / year. All three cars have had between 60,000 and 194,000 on them. We've also have a Turbo Saab (Aero) and had Volvo wagons and they've been slightly less costly at around $1,400 / year. For the BMW the biggest parts costs have been Tires ($4,300), we run two sets of rims and tires, three season and winter and usually get three driving seasons out of them before replacement. The BMW has also been autocrossed and driven on the track in a DE event. Cooling system is a distant second at $1,600. Labor for all three cars was only $4,000 - some of it for optional body work to repair rust and then a whopping $750 to repair a corroded brake line over the rear suspension.

My car has 171,000 on it and I still have the original alternator and coil packs but the plugs have been done at least four times since new. I did the fuel pump preemptively on my current '00 at 144,375. A word to the wise - ALWAYS replace the fuel pump prior to 150,000 miles.

My experience with daily driven Porsches (944's and a 911) is that they are MORE needy and costly - 944's were around $2,000 / year. Any high-mileage daily driver is expensive to keep in truly good running condition - but the expense levels vary year to year so don't despair. You might have $3,500 one year and $1,500 the next. Suspensions and brakes are often ignored for years and then the owners freak when their favorite indie tells them they need $2,000 in work to be put back in good nick.
 

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A car is what you make of it. Use cheap junk parts just don't expect long MTBF or reliability on the track or otherwise. I suppose that's the biggest difference. I run Michelin Pilot SS tires and Konis on the BMW. The rest of our fleet uses a mix of Bilstein and Koni shocks; and Michelin, Goodyear, General, Dunlop, and Continental tires. I try to find U.S. sourced jobbers to rebuild parts. We ran a Volvo 745T 'til it had 306,000 on it with ORIGINAL Engine, trans, and turbo; largely due to regular changes of synthetic lulbricants. The car did NOT burn oil when sold. I'm also pretty choosy about what vendors to use and where their parts come from. You can find non-PRC hardware if you know who to talk to and where to look.

It's a shame that the aftermarket is peppered with cheap, and poorly spec'd PRC hardware. It's the Wal-Mart least-expensive is best mentality that drives it. Fortunately my long-hood 911 has become so valuable that there is very little PRC stuff - there's no market for it! Most of the parts I get for it are sourced in Germany or the U.S. - but it's FAR from cheap.

One thing I've noticed of late is that my local BMW dealer is starting to carry what they call "value kits". I'm not sure what the source is but even if it is PRC is still has to meet BMW quality control to go in a BMW box and get delivered to a dealership. I recently did rear brakes and the cost of rotors, pads, and a sensor was within 10% of aftermarket parts. A friend of mine that runs a body shop put me on to this and it's a refreshing change. Some parts still seem exorbitant but it may be because they are two sources for an IDENTICAL part. I just did a fuel pump in my son's 944 and the exact same part number was sourced in the Czech republic and Germany. The one from Germany was $200 more than the Czech one. Is it worth it? Depends on the car.

You take your choices and pays your money.
 
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