2004 BMW 3 Series E46 2.0 4 cylinder N46B20 from Australia and New Zealand
Unreliable but fun!
* N46B20 Engine *
PCV valve gone.
Intake cam sensor faulty.
ABS/DSC sensor faulty.
Tappet cover gasket leaking.
Vanos seal o-rings leaking.
Timing chain tensioner seal leaking.
First of all, I'll let you all know this car is made in South Africa (maybe that's why it's got so many problems?).
I bought this car thinking I'd be buying 'German Engineering" that is reliable. Well it's not! I've never owned a car where it has given trouble at 76 000km! The Pulsar we have has done over 150 000km... no trouble, and we have a Commodore that has done 400 000km with only a bit of fuel leaks nearing 375 000km. So I don't see why these cars have to be so unreliable. Front control arms are going to go as well.
Besides the reliability, the car is BEAUTIFUL to drive. Yes, you hear squeaks here and there, but the BMW is good to drive when you take it out for a mountain drive. The build quality of the dash is just unbeatable.
I know others with OLDER models that are experiencing fantastic reliability. So if you want to enjoy the legendary E46 handling and reliability... get an older one. The N46B20 engine has TERRIBLE reliability in my opinion!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st January, 2013
You've only owned it for about 6,000 km. Sensors go - shouldn't, but they do. Owned my E46 Compact since 65K, had a bad coil after first 2 months... and now has done just over 100K with not a single problem. Just change the sensors and that gasket and keep driving it; it may have been there, but the previous owner didn't bother. You'll be fine.
Oh - by any chance is it a Singapore import? They seem to give more problems (regardless of car brand) than Japanese market ones. All RHD E46 sedans, from what I know, including those in the UK, are ex-South Africa (possible exception being the bigger engine 3-Series). Mine, a Compact, happens to be from the Regensburg factory in Germany (can tell by the VIN). NZ-new, but has a few more rattles than my friends' South African E46.