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(Sorry Kinda long) Are We Nuts or.....

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by olyeller, Dec 11, 2010.

    • Member

    olyeller

    Post Count: 14
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    ...is it just me? For liking and buying the E46 BMW that is. I have all the rear mirror time of almost 4 months after buying my 2002 325Ci. I was looking for a guy's car to replace my restored (high quality) '65 Buick Skylark. I could no longer maintain a 45 year old car due to health reasons and lack of space to store the parts. I went looking for something sporty to replace it. I looked at Mustang GTs which I loved the acceleration but they just seemed cheap on the inside. I looked at C5 and C4 Corvettes but they were pretty trashed when you got to my price range $10-20K. I then looked at the Boxsters and found a couple in my price range but I couldn't get past not seeing the motor and hearing about big reliability problems. I even looked at the Mercedes SLKs but they seemed too much like a girl's car. My wife steered me towards looking at the Bimmer. After a couple of test rides in different cars I was hooked and searched until I found my car. The only compromise was an automatic trans as I really wanted a 5 speed but I couldn't find one and fell in love with my car despite that shortcoming. At 57 and recovering from open heart surgery, I actually can appreciate the convienence of an automatic. I did tons of online research here and on other BMW sites prior to deciding. The day after my purchase I joined the CCA.

    I have received 3 issues of the Roundel and I love the magazine. It is a huge step above any other national club's publication that I have gotten in the past. However, every month in the letters section there is letter after letter trashing BMW. Run flat tires, expensive parts, expensive repairs, too much electronics, too little electronics, no dipstick, no more stick shifts, sub standard audio, dealer service ripoffs, even articles about the high price of parts for 20 year old cars and a tech column that seems to say time and again that you're stupid to buy a BMW that is past warranty. I'm beginning to question why I did this. I did appreciate the article on the reliability of the 2007 330.

    My car did need some minor things fixed at 58K when I got it, an oil level sensor replacement and the belt tensioners replaced, an oil change, as well as a couple of tires. I did think the inde shop that did the work was less than honest in how they quoted me a price for the repairs and then presented me with a bill for 50% higher because they listed labor in an obscure place on their estimate and wasn't included where the estimate said Total Price. I'm OK with that as I just won't be going back to those guys even though their work seems good.

    I love how the car drives. It has plenty of power for me and I love the looks it gets. Since fixing the problems found in my PPI, the car has been flawless for 2,000 miles. Do I have to become a bitter, cranky person to own a Bimmer? I know that Jag owners expect expensive repairs as part of the Jag experience. Is that the case here or is it just a vocal minority? I'm not trying to troll here, just looking to feel better about my decision and expectations. I got my car for way less 1/3 the original sticker price (closer to 1/4)and by my calculations it is only about 1/3 worn out. My hope is to enjoy this car for many more years with the expected maintenence issues (cooling system and suspension issues) but hopefully nothing major. I'd appreciate your thoughts.
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    CRKrieger

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    You are not deluded. You'll do fine with this. I would go back to that shop and speak to the owner about the misunderstanding before simply not going back. This way, you accomplish one or two things. You might inspire him to try again to keep you as a customer by making some kind of concession to you. Or he may not care, in which case you can make it clear to him that this is the reason you're leaving. You've got nothing to lose either way except a few minutes of your time.
    • Member

    olyeller

    Post Count: 14
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    I did have a discussion when the final bill was presented. They agreed that their quote could be misleading but wouldn't offer any concession. They knew I was not happy but at this point in my life I am beyond making scenes, even when confronted with stupidity. If this is standard practice for them, then they will not survive because others like me will not come back. The funny thing is that, had they be upfront and honest in their estimate, they still would have gotten the work as well as my future business. An estimate that says Total Price should include parts and labor. This was my second brush with BMW repair prices, the first being a $400 PPI at the dealership. I was prepared to pay what it cost, but telling me one price and then adding 50% is just bad business. I'm not wasting any more of my time or energy on them.

    alstroberg guest

    Post Count: 62
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    Nope, you did not make a mistake..

    Do you like the car? How much do you drive & why? Is it a daily driver, a garage queen to be taken out on special occasions only, A canyon racer?
    BMWs are about in the middle of European brands as far as reliability ratings, but higher than average for cost of repair. If cost is the paramount issue for you (doesn't sound like it), get an Asian appliance vehicle.
    A DIY owner has a couple big advantages- small stuff & maintenance items can save a bunch of money (as opposed to having somebody else do everything). But more importantly is the bonding of owner/driver to the machine- maybe both understand each other better.
    But this is where BMW makes it hard & is probably the basis for much of the carping (mine included) - they seem to go out of their way to make even easy stuff difficult. It's not, it's just a car & is understandable by mortals.
    It sounds like you have just had some expected maint. issues so far & that has to be expected. If you like the car enough you'll fork over the money to keep it going for a long time. It will get progressively expensive but still cheaper than payments on something new.
    If you do look again, don't forget Saab- used ones are cheap, a 9-5 Aero is faster than your car & the repair rate is a little lower than BMW.
    • Member

    olyeller

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    I LOVE my car. It is a combo daily driver/garage queen as I am currently disabled and not working so there isn't a lot of driving happening right now. It has seen 2,000 miles in 4 months. I would really enjoy a few hot laps at PIR next spring but it won't be something I would do often. Cost of repairs is not a huge issue for me as I have 2 back-up vehicles if this one goes down for awhile. I am a pretty fair wrench but a lousy diagnostician especially when it comes to the electronics in modern cars. I knew every nut, bolt and weld in my '65 Skylark. I am willing to do whatever repairs/maintenance I am physically able to do. It's just a steeper learning curve.

    I guess I understand what you are saying about how some things are intuitively unobvious and that is what others complain about. I am still in the Honeymoon phase of car ownership and I am disappointed when I read post after post, letter after letter,article after article bashing BMW from the very people who own them and joined the BMW club. I am not complaining at all about maintenance costs, drivability or quality of my Bimmer. That was the jist of my posting, sorry if I didn't state that better.

    I would probably never buy a Saab or a Japanese or Korean car as I just don't like much about them. My hope is that I can keep my 325Ci for many years to come, looking as good as it does today, and putting a smile on my face every time I fire 'er up.
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    Brian A

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    A lot of us are in shock about how quickly modern BMWs depreciate because repair requirements and costs skyrocket in half a decade. New BMWs are just like the Buicks of yesteryear. The older BMWs were overbuilt like army tanks and did not depreciate as quickly as anything else on the road. A lot of us admired that characteristic of the marque.

    Parts for old BMWs are remarkably inexpensive, and we remain grateful for BMW stocking all the old parts.
    • Member

    olyeller

    Post Count: 14
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    Great information. I too, was shocked at the depreciation but that enabled me to pick up a nice car for a fraction of the original cost.

    Enlighten me please. What is considered an "old" BMW? Is it the 2002's from the 70's or something more recent?

    As for old parts being available, I owned a couple of Buick Reatta's. They were impossible to find many parts for and Man, when you did, it was expensive. They were also the advent of cars with computer controls that were very primitive compared to today's cars.

    Thanks again for the insight.
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    eam3

    Post Count: 324
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    Well, here in south Florida it seems that the average BMW owner would consider a 2009 "old" as the majority just want to drive a status symbol and could not care less about the heritage or performance capabilities of the brand.

    Enjoy your E46, I love mine and plan on hanging on to it for many, many years. I will not repeat the mistake of selling it on a whim like I did with my E30.
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    Brian A

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    I outlined my line in the sand begining on page 42 of the November 2008 Roundel.

    Everyone has their own line. The E46 is a great great car; it is "overbuilt" a little less than prior BMWs, but is not yet a 4 wheeled Playstation.

    tgdsr guest

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    I have owned an E30, which I wish I had not sold, three E46s, a WRX, an Audi A3, and then an E90. The E90 is a step backwards, IMHO. The 328xi auto tranny is very sloppy and the run flat tires along with soft suspension is very disappointing. I have driven the 335i as a loaner and it is much better, but it is a breath taking $60K car. After the WRX and an Audi A3 failed to meet my expectations, although they had their moments, I decided to look for a 2005 E46 and I found one with only 18K miles. The smile is back on my face every time I drive.
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    CRKrieger

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    Well, the 2002 and Bavarias of the '70s are definitely 'old', but you have little trouble finding most parts for them. When you wistfully remembered your Buick and its ease of maintenance, I was tempted to suggest the E28 that I have might have been a better 'leap' for you. I feel the same way about it. Parts are easy and cheap to come by and I know every bolt on this car.
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    Deutsch Marques

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    In my opinion, the E46 is the best BMW out there. It looks great, and is technically advanced, yet not overdone. I had a 2003 330i which I miss terribly! I only wish the new owner would sell it back to me (I actually know where she works, and have given her my business cards with instructions to call me when she decides to sell.) But since then, I've picked up a 2002 M3 convertible.

    Maintenance can be expensive, especially if you bring it to the dealership. The more you can do on your own, the better. But compared to my VWs, the BMWs are about the same in reliability. And all my German cars have been more reliable than my 90s era Pontiac.

    Something to keep in mind about the complaints in Roundel. Seems people who have bad things to say are always much more vocal than people who are happy. So for every complaint letter in Roundel, there are probably 10, 100 or 1000 people who may be perfectly content.
    Sammy and M3Driver like this.
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    CRKrieger

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    Well, you're completely wrong, but if that keeps you from competing for the ones I want to buy, I'll let you continue on your misguided way ... :D
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    Sammy

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    Hear Hear! This is EXACTLY the point that everybody seems to miss. News is bad news and good news is no news! 'nuf said.

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