2004 BMW 3 Series 330xi AWD 3.0 from North America
- Ball joint developed play, and replaced the lower control arms.
- Rear coil springs broke (common problem among E46 models).
- Strut tower deformed (common problem among E46 models).
- Replaced front CV drive shafts (this is AWD).
- Replaced steering rack boots (torn) and tie rods (seized).
- Replaced power steering reservoir housing gasket (was leaking oil).
- Replaced VANOS oil line and copper gaskets (was leaking oil).
- Replaced windshield washer pump and strainer (was leaking washer fluid).
- Replaced coolant tank (cracked).
I bought this car for its AWD as I live on a hill which gets quite a bit of snow in the winter. Since I already had an E46 330ci convertible, which I bought new, I decided to get another BMW E46. I bought the 330xi cheap ($5200) which had 128,000 miles, fully expecting I would need to spend some time fixing it before driving it daily.
Overall, this is a great car to drive, once the major items are fixed. With a fixed torque split between front and rear wheel (37-63), it's got great traction on rainy and snowy roads.
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). I find it incredible that BMW would have such design/manufacturing/sourcing flaws. If I didn't do most of the repairs myself, it would be too expensive to own after a certain age.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th December, 2015