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I am a university student looking into what to get as a first car, and one of the models I'm considering along with an Audi A4 and a few JDM's (Honda Integra & Prelude, Toyota Celica & Altezza, Nissan Silvia & Primera) is an old BMW 3 series from around the 90's or 2000, depending on what's available I guess. I see a lot of used BMW 3 series' for sale on Trade Me Motors, which are mostly around the 90's and early 2000's. Is there anything I need to know about daily driving and maintaining a 3 series ( from the 90's and early 2000's) that might important for me to consider? I hear from friends and family friends that BMW's are costly to maintain in NZ because of parts or something, but I want the BMW enthusiast community's opinion in this, as I don't know a lot about maintaining and owning European cars in NZ.  I'm not gonna get a car till sometime at the end of this year (hopefully) or maybe even next year, depending on how soon I can get a part-time job, so I have lots of time to decide. 

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In that age range there are heaps of new and used parts available locally and overseas.1990-2000 coves 3 different chassis, each with their own positives and negatives and wide range of engines choices. Its hard to really give any specific details without knowing this. Generaly speaking they do cost more to run and maintain the an average jap car but do have their advantages.
Finding a good example and getting pre purchase check done by someone who knows the cars is the key point especially with a BMW

BMW gripes ive heard from people usually stem from buying neglected\worn out cars, not knowing where to buy new and used parts from, comparing genuine dealer part prices to made china japanese parts or just buying problematic models.

What are you primarly using the car for?
What is your budget?
Are you planning on paying someone to work on the car or doing work yourself? 
 

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20 minutes ago, Eagle said:

In that age range there are heaps of new and used parts available locally and overseas.1990-2000 coves 3 different chassis, each with their own positives and negatives and wide range of engines choices. Its hard to really give any specific details without knowing this. Generaly speaking they do cost more to run and maintain the an average jap car but do have their advantages.
Finding a good example and getting pre purchase check done by someone who knows the cars is the key point especially with a BMW

BMW gripes ive heard from people usually stem from buying neglected\worn out cars, not knowing where to buy new and used parts from, comparing genuine dealer part prices to made china japanese parts or just buying problematic models.

What are you primarly using the car for?
What is your budget?
Are you planning on paying someone to work on the car or doing work yourself? 
 

 

I'm looking to primarily use it for daily driving (getting to and from uni, going around Hamilton etc). Budget-wise, I'm looking to spend around $5-7k or less, but I'd also like to know how much you'd consider a reasonable price range for a used BMW 3 series (I'm thinking of getting one that's a coupe, but a sedan is fine). For the last question, if I can learn how to work on it myself then that would be great.But,  I don't really mind someone working on it for me tho, since my Dad has friends that are mechanics, who I could even learn how to maintain a BMW from.

Edited by Young asian boii

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Should be able to get someone decent in that range but the best bet would be to test drive as many different makes and model with different engines to see what you actually want (sounds like you going to do this?). I like BMW's but would never recommend buying ones just because its a BMW as there are plenty of good options around for A>B cars. 

If you decide you want a BMW and have narrowed down what ones you are considering then we can help you much easier.  


 

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this sort of spec is the best to get

coupe

manual

6cyl

nz new

leather

FSH

etc

 

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stop being mean @Jacko

welcome to forum.

Have a look around the forum, youtube, instagram, google and see what you fancy in terms of looks (which is important for a first car I reckon)

Do you want an old E30? or a more common E36 or jump to to something like the E46 that Brent has posted above?

All models have pros and cons.

If you want something A to b then E46 probably best (imo) because its more modern and comfortable (also because I am selling a nice one :))

If you want something you can tinker with and build up either the E30 or E36 is fine but E30 is probably harder to find a good one and will probably spend some time being off the road which is probably not what you want.

A first car can either just be a P.O.S that you put gas in and drive around or it can be something you fall in love with and keep for years and years even if you decide to buy something newer later on.

Dont expect to get the perfect car first time round though, you may need to go through a few and see what you like. Still way too young to know what you like.

Also no point going for what everyone else tells you is "the best" because it is subjective to each person's taste and needs.

But in saying that, do take advise from members etc on the problematic models to avoid. 

Also dont mention Audi on here or you can go to www.vask.org.nz :Cereal_Guy-min:

 

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12 minutes ago, Young asian boii said:

Would there be a good E46 that doesn't use up too much gas? Because I don't want to be paying too much for gas weekly

manuals use less gas if driven fairly ,

for example the 328i manual use about 2.5L per 100km less than the same car in a auto.

most early autos from japan are GM or jatco brand etc and are pretty crap ./

the later cars use mostly ZF , but smaller engine ones tend to fail earlier ,ie; 320i 323i 325i etc as bmw spec them with weaker clutches etc

4cyl cars suck as they have to be driven hard to make them move as heavish car with under powered engine

also most 4cyl models are not  good engines and most are owned by people that do not look after them etc .

 

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E36 manual with m44 4 cyl engine aren't too bad power wise

6 cylinders in e46 arent that nice to work on. M43 4 cyl in e46 is one of the easiest engines I've ever worked on

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2 hours ago, Young asian boii said:

Would there be a good E46 that doesn't use up too much gas? Because I don't want to be paying too much for gas weekly

buy a honda. seriously.

$40 a week and you're sorted.

My E46 325i fuel consumption is 10L/100km on average city driving which is already pretty good for what it is.

If you want to get down to like 6-7L/100km you need to go for a 1.6L japanese like a civic, jazz, fit, toyota corolla, ist, suzuki swift, mazda 2, etc.

 

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I agree with Kyu. Wait till you are earning more and save to get something that is not limited to your immediate income level

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 i agree with the above, an old bmw with a tight budget is no fun, and will be very frustrating, unless you already have spanner twirling skills.

Edited by _ethrty-Andy_

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Buy a rolla. Believe me. Buy a rolla. Been there, done that... 

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Had a '92 Corolla lift back for my first car but even though it was reliable and cheap to run it you never had any confidence its safety. I remember being scared driving it at 100kph in heavy rain and traffic on the Auckland motorway you were wrecked it if a hazard came up which required braking or turning quickly. 

Edited by Eagle

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Id recommend an E46, either a prefacelift 318i, or otherwise get a 325i/328i E46. all other E46 are not worth your while, especially as your first one. interiors are generally good quality, headliners usually the only thing that fails. if anything else inside is wrong then thats a pretty good indication of the life the car as had, as they otherwise dont break on thier own. people arent rough on the interiors but service the car impeccably. if the exterior is a bit scruffy then not a big problem if its a common colour, panels are cheap and plentiful, as are all E46 parts and they will be for another 5 years or so too.

E36 are mostly getting a bit long in the tooth now, though there are certainly some gems amoungst the rubbish. the first 3 series that was designed to protect its occupants in a crash. coupe specific parts are becoming hard to find, but their motors are plentiful, as are sedan parts, tho prices are starting to climb a bit. non specialist wreckers dont bother to buy them any more.

E30s are past being a first car now. highly collectible and reserved for enthusiests these days, even the scuffiest 318i auto sedan is a 3-4k car, and no matter what you buy, you will be working on it from time to time. if you are ready for E30 ownership, you'll know, because nothing else will do.

 

But above all else, regardless what you buy, please recognise that things can and will go wrong. they are 15 - 20 years old now, and were only ever designed to last 10. 

if your budget is 7k, rather than spending the lot at having nothing left in the kitty, you are FAR better off buying a car for say 4.5k and then spending 2k replacing the cooling system, giving it a full service, and then tidying up the inevitable short comings in the interior. Its true that you wont get your money back in the end, but you werent going to get it if you spent the whole budget anyways, so you might as well have a base line established. be carefull of mutton dressed as lamb too. its very easy to make a car look very good, the buyer gets thier heart set on it, but underneath its a basket case.

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58 minutes ago, _ethrty-Andy_ said:

if your budget is 7k, rather than spending the lot at having nothing left in the kitty, you are FAR better off buying a car for say 4.5k and then spending 2k replacing the cooling system, giving it a full service, and then tidying up the inevitable short comings in the interior. Its true that you wont get your money back in the end, but you werent going to get it if you spent the whole budget anyways, so you might as well have a base line established. be carefull of mutton dressed as lamb too. its very easy to make a car look very good, the buyer gets thier heart set on it, but underneath its a basket case.

or just buy my one which is sorted cooling system wise, interior and exterior both mint, and is a rare clubsport so will hold value relatively better than the stock boring ones. :D

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6 minutes ago, qube said:

or just buy my one which is sorted cooling system wise, interior and exterior both mint, and is a rare clubsport so will hold value relatively better than the stock boring ones. :D

Yup sure, thats an option, but i wrote the above since 99% of the cars he will be looking at wont be owned by bimmersport members ha was talking in general terms

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10 hours ago, B.M.W Ltd said:

I agree with Kyu. Wait till you are earning more and save to get something that is not limited to your immediate income level

Very wise words! Seen people in that situation sooo many times.

A simple Jappa makes total sense in this situation.

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Out of curiosity tho, what are the main problems of running a 318ti? Like, the most important ones that is, in terms of the engine and general stuff. 

Edited by Young asian boii

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9 hours ago, Young asian boii said:

Out of curiosity tho, what are the main problems of running a 318ti? Like, the most important ones that is, in terms of the engine and general stuff. 

e36 318ti m42 or m44 engine , are not to bad , a lot of them have tatty interiors etc , engines them selves are pretty good but a lot people don't look after them and they get over heated due to some small plastic coolant part failing etc and fan not working etc and they just keep driving them

the autos in them a 4spd GM and are not very nice and tend to use lots of fuel , manuals are nicer to drive etc

the e46 318ti have the N42b20 or n46b20 , probably the worse engine bmw make

lots of oil leaks , valvetronic issues , valve steam seals , timing chains and guides etc ,

trust me mate , e46 328ci manual will be one of the best models you can get for a low budget , also good resale

call me if you want more details

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is there anything wrong with say like a 318i M43 1.9L with manual box? I believe these are known to be fairly bulletproof even after 200 odd kms no?

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i agree with much of the feedback above. Older Beemers need some loving... you need to be prepared to invest the time and/or money to keep it on the road and enjoy driving it. The critical mix of budget/engagement/ability/need will dictate what you want, and what you can get.

Sometimes what we want isn't achievable and we need to get something else in the meantime, until the budget or time resource can catch up - I was in a similar position and bought an e39 525i initially (after owning an e36 318ti some years earlier in Aussie), then quickly wanting more power and a better drive but not having the $$$$ to get it. I bought a $5k Accord Euro; thrashed it as a daily for a year whilst saving another $5k then selling it for $5k and buying my e91...

Now I'm at that "more power" point again so may have to repeat the process to save up and get a 335i... sometimes you have to play a long game 😜

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1 hour ago, qube said:

is there anything wrong with say like a 318i M43 1.9L with manual box? I believe these are known to be fairly bulletproof even after 200 odd kms no?

fairly good , except for coolant system plastic parts and lack of service and maintance etc

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