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What is the Best 3 series BMW?

I don't see much activity in the forum for the earlier cars...

and I hear that the later the BMW, the more electronic and other problems they have.

Old 01-10-2021, 03:43 PM
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This right here is more reliable than all of the other BMW 3 series...

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Old 01-11-2021, 11:44 AM
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or this...

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Old 01-11-2021, 11:49 AM
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Safest bet is an E30 or 36. I had an E46 but it was plagued with electrical issues. Had mentioned to my wife that when it breaks again we are fixing it and selling it...Broke two weeks later...gone!
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:55 AM
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E30 but good luck finding one that hasn't been vandalized by some PO. And if it is clean, they want way too much.

I had an E30 M3 and a 325i cabrio. Both were great solid cars that didn't possess a multitude of electrics like a space shuttle.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:02 PM
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Best as in most reliable? I think the late 80's (e32) cars were the most bullet proof for German cars. The 2017 320ix we have has had no problems so far, but the f30's did have timing chain guide failures in north America prior to 2015MY, wrong plastic formulation for our fuel, blame Dupont plastics.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:26 PM
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:31 PM
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Good question. I’d like to hear people’s opinions on the options. The Mustang is a very attractive car to us, but living this far north I’m uncomfortable having a rear wheel daily driver. Otherwise that would be on our short list. I think I’d get one for my replacement daily driver. As it is, I’m stuck trying to balance luxury and performance in BMW and Mercedes’ mid to smaller models.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:42 PM
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Palm Beach is too far north??
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:45 PM
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For simplicity and true driver feel - E30 / 325IS manual - hands down. But they are a rarity and very loooong in the tooth these days. Second choice would be the E30 / 325e - easier to find but again, decent non-modified units hard to find. Both are very pricey.

Next best modern would be a well sorted and maintained E46 / 330CI manual.

This is based on my years long experience of professional wrenching / driving / owning.

The current crop of E30 coupes are gaining status like a '32 Ford coupe in terms of finding a good one, then restore or modify.
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Last edited by asphaltgambler; 01-11-2021 at 12:53 PM..
Old 01-11-2021, 12:51 PM
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Looking for your own personal 'hateful wench'?
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:53 PM
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I have had 1 e30, 3 e36, and 2 e46 and have an e 92 now.. aside from the cooling system issues, (just plan to replace radiator and expansion tank at @ 100K) i have had zero issues with any of them.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:54 PM
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The one you just sold or traded in .
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gebra View Post
and I hear that the later the BMW, the more electronic and other problems they have.
They've been saying this for 40 years.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Hahl View Post
Safest bet is an E30 or 36. I had an E46 but it was plagued with electrical issues. Had mentioned to my wife that when it breaks again we are fixing it and selling it...Broke two weeks later...gone!
E46 is considered a bulletproof tank. Certainly compared to the fragile 911 with broke head studs and top end rebuilds even at 100k. More viable as a daily driver than the E30, which is 30-40 years old now.

What were the exact issues you had?
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asphaltgambler View Post
For simplicity and true driver feel - E30 / 325IS manual - hands down. But they are a rarity and very loooong in the tooth these days. Second choice would be the E30 / 325e - easier to find but again, decent non-modified units hard to find. Both are very pricey.

Next best modern would be a well sorted and maintained E46 / 330CI manual.

This is based on my years long experience of professional wrenching / driving / owning.

The current crop of E30 coupes are gaining status like a '32 Ford coupe in terms of finding a good one, then restore or modify.
^^ This is spot on.

BTW, I have a few E30/E28/M20 NOS parts I'd be happy to send to a fellow Pelican if you need them.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:47 PM
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About 20 years ago - I had a side business that focused solely on buying/ fixing/ selling E30's. Loved it, loved those cars, made a lot of money over a few years but finding a decent one became more and more difficult as well as prices started to rise...
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:03 PM
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Love my E36 M3 coupe. Except for the clutch from Hell that some PO put in.
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevej37 View Post
Palm Beach is too far north??
Northern Palm Beach, can get down into the 60's at night, brrr
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:33 PM
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^^^ lol...I feel sorry for him.

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Old 01-11-2021, 02:39 PM
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