Hey Gil , Been a while my friend, hope this email finds you well. So I sold my 435 and now I’m looking at buying one of two cars. I’ve found a 43k mile 2006 e 46 and it’s been taken very good care of but hasn’t been driven but 700 miles since it was purchased by the current owner 4 years ago. Cosmetically it is very nice. Has 18 pages of records, new Firestone tires and regular service. I’m aware of the usual issues: frame cracking where the frame attaches to the sheet metal in the trunk area, the Vanos possible problem but the rod bearings should not be an issue I wouldn’t think. What else is there to be concerned about and how do you see the other issues I mention surfacing. He’s asking 35k which I think is high butt it hasn’t been modified, wrecked, all original equipment and paint and 19” wheels . Don’t know much before this owner but the records are there. Manual 6 spd.
The other car I’m thinking about is waiting a bit for the 2018 M240i to come down to around 30k – will take another year maybe but it’ll have a new car warranty and the nav I liked so much about my 435 and the HK sound system and I would also buy at the appropriate time the extended BMW Warranty you feel is so important even though I put only put 3 to 4K miles on it per year. I also will get a manual. Technology marches on and one review I saw was thes two cars in comparison and they tied lap times. Amazingly right.
I like warranties but I also think the e 46 may even appreciate but the M240 i priced in a build came to 52k and I e seen them with 4K miles for sale as low 39500. So I’ll wait longer for more depreciation cause I have all the time in the world to buy . But the E46’probably won’t last that long. So my question to you is how do you see future ownership Of these cars going maintenance wise. Now that wearables are no longer included in the maintenance warranty on new bmws. What do you see in the En46? I like natural aspiration but I’m concerned about long term issues wok the e46. Thanks pal and if you would rather call me you can at 352-430-5067. I really appreciate your advice and I also enjoyed very much meeting you at Sebring. You’re a great we’ll of knowledge, thanks again and all the best!
Hello Mr. Bromley, thank you for the kind words. All is well hope the same goes for you. As far as the car choice goes I think it is going to be mostly subjective. Here is what I can tell you: The E46 is going to be more reliable due to the fact that it is a simpler car and therefore there are less things to go wrong. When it comes to a car that is older but does not get driven much like the E46, the issue becomes oil leaks, if you do decide to buy either, but specially the E46 have a thorough inspection done, paying special attention to possible oil leaks.
The rear subframe issue has not been much of a problem on the later model E46s, it tends to happen in the early production run, but there are reinforcement kits available. Other common issues include the VANON as you mention, mostly when the oil changes have been neglected, another oil neglect issue is the valve stem seals leaking, usually shows up around 70000 to 90000 miles, the correct oil change interval should be 6 months or 5000 miles when using synthetic. The window regulator fail fairly often, especially when the windows are not used much, what happens is the glass gets stuck on the window seal and puts undue stress on the regulator when moving down, the regulators have a steel cable running on nylon pulleys, the pulleys will usually break.
Without knowing the engine or model, another common issue is the crankcase vent valve leaking vacuum. The ZF transmissions have almost no issues with the exception of a torque converter issue which is not very common and usually happens at higher mileage. The GM transmissions do have their fair share of issues. These transmissions have no maintenance schedule, therefore most people do not replace the fluid, that exacerbates the issues on the GM transmissions especially. Depending on the model the ABS control unit can be an issue, but that is just about every model from that era and again more common with higher mileage cars.
As far as the M240 they will feel faster and handle better, there is a LOT more technology in these cars which make the reliability not as good as the E46, but they are great cars.
With the possibility of the value going up on the E46 that will only really matter if you plan to keep the car for a longer period, the model/options and if you do not plan to drive it much. The way the prices are right now I don’t see them appreciating a whole lot in the next 5 years. The E30s are really hot now, the E36 are in the early stages of prices climbing, that leaves some time before most E46s will climb. That does not take into account the model/options, M3s, special editions and the right optioned car will climb faster. I would not be concerned with the turbo versus the naturally aspirated engines, turbos have come a very long way and so have the computer system that control the engines. The key on both is maintenance, as long as it has been done properly it should not be an issue.
The rest of it is going to be subjective, which car you like to drive and look at the most. Thank you for the question. Hope to see you again soon.