Originally Posted by Manolito
1997 328 is a great car (I own two of them) but if the one you have needs that much work, you probably won't find anyone who wants it or will take it as trade in. Donating to charity is probably your bast bet.
I cannot suggest an M3 if budget is any consideration, and M3s that are not thrashed command high prices,
In general, it is best to get a BMW that has a few years of production behind it. That means you are looking at a 2004-2005 e46. I own two 2004 e46s. The bad news is that you will spend close to 10k and will likely end up with a car with nearly as many miles on it as the one you are getting rid of. Also, unless it has a fresh cooling system in it, you will be looking at another $1000 in plastic cooling system parts real soon.
If speed is any consideration at all, you absolutely want a 330 rather than a 325. The performance difference is more than the numbers would suggest. I have one of each. Both my cars have the performance package and the ride is pretty harsh. The '97 did not need a performance package to hug the road, but if you got the performance package, it was still a comfortable car, except for those rock-hard seats. On an e46 with performance package, you will find that "smooth quiet ride" is your number one criteria when you are buying tires.
The e46s are slightly lower maintenance as the miles add up. They fixed a number of the chronic flaws in the e36, but the e46s are not built as solidly as the e36. When you are working on them, the components and assembly on the e36 looks more like a Mercedes, while the e46 looks a lot more like a Japanese car.
Thanks tons for the great info, exactly what I was looking for. Yes, I love my 328i, what an awesome car. Even with the sports package the suspension has gotten soft, almost feels like a caddy recently on some slopes on the highway, not a good feeling. But you saying even with the KBB value of like $2-3000, no good? I would think if selling privately, would be great for a like a high school boy's first car or a young professional etc... But there were a couple of people asking details about it for a trade in. I'd trade it in I guess even if I get anything over $1k for it, right?
Ya, I am afraid the M3 is out of the question, just threw it out there just in case, but probably not a wise choice.
Yes, I was looking at anything from 2002-2006 or so. I wanted less than 100k definitely though, or I feel like it would actually be better to just start working on my current car. Funny, almost every car selling states "a/c ice cold" lol... yes this is in FL so....
I know the 330 is the better car for performance, but you know, it is heck hard to find one in manual for a decent price (older model)... most are 325's and it seems manuals are much harder to find, but I really hate auto's... I feel like the rock and hell on either side of me right now.
I just saw this one on autotrader... I am sadly thinking if I want the manual so badly, I may have to give up on the 330 or 328...