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  #1  
Old 10-16-2011, 09:06 AM
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Which 3 series - year/model - for a daily driver?

After 15 years of reliable service, our daily driver (Ford Contour) will need replacement soon. I'm inclined to go with a used 3-series but it has to be a solid and reliable model. I'm favoring the late E36 to E46. Are there any 'lemon models' to avoid?
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:29 AM
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IMO, find a 3 series with the smallest engine available and try to avoid redline-ing it. With that said anything related the engine comparment should be fine.as for the electronics, i would say you have a 70% chance of having no problems with them.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:43 AM
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I would pick an E46 over an E36. You can find the 320 and 323, but the 325 is a more power without going up to the 330, which I don't think is necessary. 2002 was the most popular year, there will be more around. We had a 2002 325xi and it was bulletproof. I would look for a vehicle with fewer options, it is the options and electronics that are more likely to fail than the base vehicle. Our 325 had a manual transmission, no premium or sport, but it had heated seats as a special order (and they all have the cold weather package in Canada). When I advertised it I had calls immediately, and the first person to look at it bought it.

I wouldn't worry about lemon years, just look for a 2000 model year onwards, after they had built them for a year.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:30 PM
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Thanks JCL.

I forgot to mention that 4 wheel drive would be ideal. Nomenclature-wise if it's 'xi' that that indicate 4 wheel drive?

Last edited by Last5oh; 10-16-2011 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:43 PM
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Yes, xi is awd.

Our 325xi did better in the snow than my X5, on the same Michelin tires. That is due to the lighter weight IMO, and the manual transmission didn't hurt either. Ground clearance was not an issue at all, it would push snow deeper than the bumper quite happily.
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCL View Post
I would pick an E46 over an E36.
and I had an e36 325i for 9 years.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCL View Post
Yes, xi is awd.

Our 325xi did better in the snow than my X5, on the same Michelin tires. That is due to the lighter weight IMO, and the manual transmission didn't hurt either. Ground clearance was not an issue at all, it would push snow deeper than the bumper quite happily.
i'm no help bc i just got a 3 series a couple of months ago but still miss my X5. with that said, your post stuck out to me b/c i was actually nervous about driving the car in the snow and how much clearance i would actually in the snow. my X always plowed through everything but reading your post put me at ease somewhat.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:47 PM
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+1 for the E46. My mom is still driving my 2003 325i and its been pretty reliable up to its current 156,000 miles. It does seem to love tires and brakes but otherwise its been great. No major issues w/ original engine, transmission, radio, climate etc. It's an automatic w/ Premium, Sport, Automatic, Leather, Xenons
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:53 PM
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I've got friends with E46's with 200k+ that are great.
My experience has been to find the latest production possible. My 10/05 E90 was horrible, but the 09/11 E90 is flawless. Same with our last month of production E53.

If you do get a 330i (which I don't see why not - the engine is just as reliable as the 325's) it changed from 5-speed to 6-speed manual for the 2003 model year.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:59 PM
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Old thread.
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