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.

General Comments:

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

2002 BMW 3 Series 316i Comfort Package 1.8 Litre N42B18 from Romania


A beautiful car that doesn't go out of style


I bought this car a month ago and I have to say I'm quite impressed. For a 13 year old car it's still a very good car. I needed a cheap banger, and for 3400 euros I bought a 316i BMW with leather, xenon, heated mirrors, climatronic, heated seats, CD-player, rain, parking and light sensors, auto-dimming mirrors etc.

I've changed, out of precaution, the timing chain tensioner and also my mechanic recommended that I change the bushes with M3 bushes, because I will have no issues in the coming years. Will see about that one. The mechanic also changed a rod arm and a bar link, tightened the direction box, and reset the ABS sensor, which had an error. I plan on changing the air filter, interior filter and do a check of the AC this month.

Also the oil has been changed. Please be cautious because these engines are known for either burning oil or letting oil drop through the seals. The seals have to be changed. From what I understand, there are like 50 or more seals that need changing in order for the oil to be kept inside the engine. The mechanic has recommended that the engine is pretty dry and this would not be recommended right now.

I'll return with news.

General Comments:

The car is very stiff, even if it came with the comfort suspension from the factory. It feels imperfections even in the most perfect asphalt. It runs on 205/65/R16 summer tyres and 16 inch original alloys.

Petrol is quite expensive, but I've managed 10-11L/100km in town and about 7-8L outside with a maximum 90-100 km/h. You don't buy it for the consumption, you buy it for the sensation and it does give you a good sensation. I've driven an e90 2005 318d and didn't like it as much.

Avoid tuned cars and bad boy looks because those are usually cars that have been used heavily. The example I have found has 145k original km and has been owned by an old lady in Austria. It's a good example and I plan on keeping it this way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2015