2001 BMW 3 Series 330ci 3.0L


Looked after, everything it's meant to be


Oil leaks from seals and gaskets.

CD changer jammed.

Parts of interior hood lining needed re-securing.

Window washer bottle motor leaked and was replaced.

General Comments:

I love driving this car. Even the sound of it starting is a little thrill. It's not super quick, but responsive enough and loves winding NZ roads. I live in the country, and this is bliss to cruise in. Very good on gas too, considering the output of the engine.

I've read up on these a bit, so have never missed a service. I've made sure to replace the thermostat, water pump etc as a matter of course. This car has never missed a beat. CD stacker was chucked in favour of a USB SD interface running through original head-deck. All M Sport specs are just the icing on the cake.

For me this is an expensive toy, not a work hack for Mum. She can commute in the Honda.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th August, 2015

15th Aug 2015, 10:25

Very wise on replacing the thermostat and water pump. Oil leaks do happen - I've had my VANOS oil seal replaced twice, wasn't dear, but good to just do it during the service. When you get the car serviced, always get them to do a once-over on the coolant expansion tank, they can split with age. You might want to proactively replace it, but do ask your mechanic for good OEM replacement parts. Only other things that can go are the coils - but although inconvenient, they're cheap enough (anything from NZ$85-102 +GST each).

16th Aug 2015, 03:12

These E46 3 series were among the more reliable models BMW built, and they still look good and offer a more than decent drive today.

2001 BMW 3 Series 330i 3.0 litre


Love it!


Before I got the car, I know the valve gasket cover was done.

Suspension - all bushes and a tie rod replaced.

The emissions control light comes on randomly, and each time I take it to the dealer, it seems to go out as soon as I have booked the car in :/

Interior plastics seem to scratch easily, and once they do, they look crap.

Stainless steel exhaust tip fell off. I could not for the life of me wrench the second one away, so I've got no idea how the first one managed to make its way off.

The alternator also failed.

Passenger door jam on the passenger's door broke.

I expect the shocks will all need doing soon.

General Comments:

Firstly, the car handles beautifully for a family sedan. With the 3 litre engine it has plenty of power (for what I need). It's not a born again racing machine, but it was never meant to be. The ASC also steps in when needed, and isn't too intrusive.

I get really good fuel economy in the 330i; it actually uses less gas than a friend's V5 Golf. I can get from Auckland to Turangi and back (800kms) on a tank without the fuel light coming on, and that is with 2 adults and ski gear for a weekend.

The interior is another strong point for this car. It's comfortable and has a few luxury features like heated electric leather seats, sunroof, climate control, ski bag load through etc. It has 6 airbags, which gives a bit of security should I screw up at some stage. Everything is where it instinctively should be, except the boot release button, which is tucked away up by the bonnet release lever.

I like the 'small things' this car has that set it apart from the competition. It has a first aid kit, warning triangle, flashlight, tool kit etc. I know I will probably never use these things, but it's always there in case I do.

The exterior is in great condition with only one minor scrape to the front right bumper (right down low so I can't see it, and don't really see much point in getting it fixed). It has the M Sport package, so nicely lowered on decent factory alloys. I also have the optional xenon lights, which look quite cool.

When I'm on the open road, I love this car. It's fast, quiet and comfortable. I don't want journeys to end. When it needs something else fixed, I can't help but worry about how much it will cost.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th April, 2012

13th Apr 2012, 19:29

They're pretty good cars. Just make sure that when you take it for its first service with you, that the mechanic checks the water pump. If it has a plastic impeller, you're best to replace it as they simply snap off the spindle rather than wear out gradually. Oh, and replace the thermostat. Both as precautions; I'd do it every 5 years or so.

I've got a 3 series Compact of the same age, and I couldn't believe that even with its weight (only 15 kg lighter than the sedan) and a 1.8-litre engine with only 115 bhp thereabouts, my car isn't gutless. It helps though that I have the rare manual gearbox. Still, with yours having a 6-cylinder engine, that can only be much better than mine.