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Cons: $7500 repair billHaving had decent relations with BMW for several years the engine in my convertible tried to self destruct this February. Apparently there is a known cold weather blemish with their M54 engine's oil separator. It freezes, crankcase oil is sucked into the intake and hydrolocks the cylinders. This happens with little warning. In my case I missed the black exhaust for a couple of hundred yard prior to the lockup. It seems BMWNA really could care less about doing the right thing and prefers to point at their warranty. Anyone with that otherwise sterling engine should get their separators replace with the upgraded version.
Cons: Interior molding fell off twice; apparently a standard feature
Advice: Do not purchase this vehicleThe larger engine is the only way to go. Great engine. Terrible quality control on the rest of the vehicle. I have replaced the front bumper twice as a result of going over standard parking stanchions. BMW now has a disclaimer about this feature.
Advice: this is the car that everybody needsbomb
Advice: good value/performanceThis car replaced a Mercedes E320. The BMW has been much more fun to drive with a muscular feel to it. IT has proven reliable and all maintenance covered under my 3 year lease. My only quibbles revolve around the looks (I think the Mercedes is more elegant looking). The dash is rather bland and the center console provides little storage space.
Pros: The exhilerating way it takes curvey roads
Cons: Limited seat-tilt controls
Advice: Buy this car if you like hugging the road at fast speedsI soured on this otherwise wonderful car early on for 2 reasons: seat comfort and the AC system (can't get fresh air, have to run AC all the time or the windows fog up). Now that my lease is up and I'm shopping for a new car, I'm starting to put things in a different perspective. You name it, I've tested it - TL, TSX, G35, ES330, C320 4Matic (I LOVE this car with the stunningly bad reliability ratings!), Camry XLE, Passat, and Subaru. My conclusion - nothing drives like like the BMW. I know I'm not a very good driver, but this car makes me feel like I am! I've had 3 years with no serious problems like some of these other cars - transmission, engine, electrical, etc. And all my routine maintenance has been free, except a replacement tire. Of course they couldn't fix the AC problem, but at least the 2005 3-series now has improved seat comfort. Very little else has changed from 2002 - 05 that I can see. Wish they'd get rid of the orange lighted control panel. I'll probably end up buying the '05, unless I can rationalize going with the impractical MB C320....
Cons: handling in the snow
Advice: awesome car but you need a Jeep for the winterGreat handling and performance plus a killer body style make this car a keeper!
Pros: sound system
Cons: the center console. Too awkward
Advice: BUY IT!!Within the first 3 minutes, I knew this was a great car. It handled exceptionally well.