2002 BMW 3 Series 330Ci Convertible 3.0 from North America
So much fun to drive, but not cheap to own
- Lower control arm bushings at 60,000 miles.
- Ball joint developed play, and replaced the lower control arms.
- Thermostat caused coolant temperature to be too low.
- Front passenger seat occupancy sensor broke.
- Rear coil springs broke (common problem among E46 models).
- Strut tower deformed (common problem among E46 models).
- Convertible top inner lining ripped due to warped plastic inserts (both sides).
- OEM Continental tires lasted only 18,000 miles.
There is no doubt this is a fun car to drive. It handles very well in terms of acceleration and turning. With almost 50-50 weight distribution, it handles particularly well in curves. In fact, I love to accelerate through turns.
The mechanized convertible top works flawlessly even after 14 years. With the top up, the car is as quiet as a sedan, and there is no leak.
However, this is not a car to drive in snow. The traction control keeps the car going straight, but frequently I find myself disabling the DSC (dynamic stability control) in order to go up even the slightest hills. When there is snow, I take my 2004 330xi.
Reliability-wise, it's not on the same level as my Toyotas. Several unexpected things have gone wrong, such as broken rear coil springs and deformed strut towers (which evidently are common for the E46 models). If I didn't do most of the repairs myself, it would be too expensive to own after a certain age.
But, it's so much fun to drive, especially with the top down in good weather. That's what really matters.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th December, 2015