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      11-04-2009, 08:20 PM   #1

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e46 M3 vs. e90 330i?


I'm thinking about buying my first bmw. My family has had a slew of bmws over the years -- e28 535is, two e34 525i (both 1990), e36 352is, and more recently, my father bought an e46 m3. So I've had a lot of time to dream of what bmw i might like to buy once i finally could.

I'm debating whether to buy an e46 m3 or a newer (2006-ish) e90 330i. I've driven the m3, but i've never driven the 330s.

I'm drawn to the m3 because it's got serious raw power, all the M suspension, etc., it's sleek, it handles real tight, and well, I've hoped of having one for a while now. On the other hand, I've read that the 330 has a lot of power, and being able to have a sedan would certainly be more convenient for me. Also, I think that the e90s are pretty sleek, too, and I might be able to get one with lower mileage (as compared to an m3).

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

Also, if I were to go with the e90, does anyone know anything about the difference/s between the 330i and the 330xi? For example, I've heard that the 330xi doesn't handle quite as well since it's all wheel drive. Can anyone verify or refute this?

Thanks for any and all advice.
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      11-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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330i should be a bit more reliable as well. it has more than adequate power for a daily driver, but its not going to compare to an E46 M3 obviously.

xi does tend to handle a bit worse because it's overall heavier due to the AWD, but also the extra weight is added to the front of the car. Plus you cannot get sport suspension with the xi.
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      11-04-2009, 09:18 PM   #3

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I'm pretty much in the same stage as you but a step behind, with the e36 M3 or e46 330ci.

A M is a M car, would be nice to have no matter what. For a DD and reliability the 330i would be the better choice it seems. I pretty much said the same thing vtec did lol. But if having fun is more important go with the M3.
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      11-04-2009, 10:06 PM   #4
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Being an ex e46 M3 owner it really depends how deep your pockets are... seeing all E46 M3's will soon be out warranty as of this year (unless you find a CPO that has the 7 year 100k, which might be hard).

If you do decide on it DO NOT get an SMG model they do and will fail. SMG is not an exact science and caused my car to start grinding the engagement teeth in 4th gear forcing me to trade the car in seeing it would've been 4k+ for me to fix (I used to be a Porsche mechanic) and 8k for a dealer fix. The car had 60k on it by this time. Take into account service costs also ..oil alone is 15 dollars a quart (and only dealer available locally) seeing the car only runs on TWS 10w-60.

M3's also have had rear sub-frame issues (they tear out from the car) under extreme circumstances (TMS created a bracket kit to reinforce the subframe)
Is this a daily driver....will ever track it? just something to keep in mind.

Last tuning the E46 M3 is not a walk in the park and due to the ///M badge it's an arm and a leg you can discover that for yourself.

But I will say this....I loved that car and will never forget it and would go thru it all over again.

If your looking for something affordable fast and fun I would take a hard look into the e36 M3 market as it's more cost effective and there easily tunable to high number

in the end.
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      11-07-2009, 02:20 AM   #5
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330i is definitely more reliable.Though it is always your choice.
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      11-07-2009, 05:10 AM   #6
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I had an '06 330i. It was a great car and I put nearly 60k on it in 2 years. Never had a major issue with it, and it had plenty of power and was fun to drive. But then I drove a friend's M3.

Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
A M is a M car...

Like Spezna said - the M3 is going to cost more to repair and maintain. But it depends on what your priorities are. The M3 is more raw and responsive. The 330i is a well balanced car.
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330i, 330xi, e46, e46 m3, e90

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