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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Thu, Dec-09-2004, 07:18:03 AM   #1
gdhyde
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Default E36 M3 vs. E46 328Ci -- Maintenance Costs Followup

I'm considering one of two cars for purhcase: 1) a CPO 1999 M3 Coupe w/ 65K miles and 2) a 2000 328Ci w/ 3rd party extended warranty (covers the same things as the CPO but with a $100 deductible) and 44K miles. Both are about the same price.

Obviouslty the M3 is more fun to drive, but I'm curious as to how much more people think it would be to maintain vs. the 328 given the mileage and warranty coverage. Do M3 parts wear much quicker than the 3 series counter parts? How much of a premium is charged for M parts vs. stock 3-series parts?

Keep in mind that this will be my commuter car and will be driven approximately 15K miles a year.

Thoughts? Opinions?

Bottom line, how much more over the life of the car will the M3 cost me and is it worth it?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ok, so I'm on an M3 ethusiasts site so I should expect that everyone would recommend the M3.

So then, let me ask this follow up question: How much do each of you spend in maintenance/repair costs per year? Let's not include things like oil changes, which it sounds like many of you do yourself, but stick with things like brakes, clutch, belts, hoses, electrical, etc.

Are we talking $1k/year? $2k/year?

Thanks again for all the input!

Last edited by gdhyde; Sat, Dec-11-2004 at 06:33:56 PM.
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Old Thu, Dec-09-2004, 02:53:41 PM   #2
95GreenDinan
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I'd take the M3, because I'm not too big on 3rd Party waranties. Does the CPO you are being offered on the M3 cover the car until 100k miles? If you were deciding between a 99 M3 and a 2004 330, I might change my mind, but there is only a one year and 20k mile difference. That's really not a difference in terms of wear. Take the M3, you'll be happier that you did.
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Old Thu, Dec-09-2004, 04:44:49 PM   #3
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i traded in my 01 330i for my current 97 m3...i'll tell you now that yes the ///m uses a little more gas and you have to keep watch on oil levels and such a little bit more....but nothing is similar between the 2 cars,nothing.


since the mileage is close on the 2 cars then that shouldnt be much of an issue here. and at the mileage each is at they will each need some maintenance and those prices will be very similar in many ways.


your smile will stay with the ///m,the 328 your just gonna mod the hell out of it and it still won't be as good as the m3,trust me...my 330i was not stock by any means and it still can't compare to the feeling or performance of the m3
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Old Thu, Dec-09-2004, 04:54:17 PM   #4
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I was in a similar situation. I owned a 00 328I. IMO the interior is a little more refined however I was bored to death with it. I sold it and bought a 99M3 with approximatly the same milage, I bought a 3rd party warranty but have not needed to use it yet. I have noticed that Oil burn is higher. My local dealer said the rate is normal. About a 1/2 quart for every 1000 miles. Maybe some one can confirm this.

I vote to get the ///M.
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Old Thu, Dec-09-2004, 05:20:52 PM   #5
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1/2 a quart sounds about right.. sometimes i don't even get that.. since i went with the 0w-40 i did notice a bit more on startup but less over the range.. get the M dude.. u know u want it.. haha.. (im quite biased)
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Old Fri, Dec-10-2004, 11:08:12 AM   #6
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Reliablity in Consumer Reports has always been pretty good for the three series, but the e46 does not seem to have faired as well. Secondly, the first year Bmw's tend to have a few more bugs in the electronics /kinks than their newer later years. The 99' has been tried and tested. Lastly, unlike the older m-series cars many of the e36 parts are interchangeable accept for the obvious suspension and engine.
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Old Fri, Dec-10-2004, 08:52:07 PM   #7
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Well, you're asking questions for which there are no sure answers, but here are some things to consider:

1. BMW CPO is 100K OR 6 years, whichever comes first. So you'll have a year or less of CPO coverage on the M3.

2. 3rd party extended warranties -- you better find out who will honor it.

3. If this will be your only car, keep in mind M3 is not good in bad/winter weather. (You don't give geography, don't know if this is issue).

Either way, find an indie mechanic so you don't have to service either at a dealership.
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Old Fri, Dec-10-2004, 10:08:13 PM   #8
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I had a 330i sport/5 as well and now I have a 98 m3 4/5
If you like fun driving forget the e46 unless you have an M badge in the back
As some of the guys wrote you`ll need to spend a huge amount of money just to get where the e36 m3 is and you will probably still miss some of the fun.lsd diff etc...
And the other thing you should consider is the value,M cars tend to keep they prices
high for a long time so I think you`ll be surprised when you sell the 328 down the road you will have to pay extra for an older e36 m3.
And if you do decide to get the e46 get a 330i you wont regret that.
If you live in the Las Vegas area send me an e-mail I can get you any car you want for trade in value.
good luck
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Old Fri, Dec-10-2004, 10:34:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the reponses thus far! I'm still torn... especially after figuring out that there is likely less than a year left on the CPO warranty which one of my friends that has a CPO m5 pointed out.

I guess I could use that knowledge to knock down the price even further, but I still don't want to be stuck with thousands a year in maintenance as I have heard in some horror stories of m3 owners.

Ideally, I'd like to find a CPO 330ci in my price range (~$22K) but after a pretty extensive search that seems unlikely. 328Ci perhaps, but not the 330.

Oh well, I'll figure it out... thanks again for all your responses!

BTW, someone asked whether it would be my only car... the answer is yes and I live in the SF bay area so weather shouldn't be a problem.
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Old Fri, Dec-10-2004, 10:41:40 PM   #10
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I'd get the E36....but I think it will cost more to own.... Frequent Tire expenditures and it is starting to be perceived as an older style car. I think we can expect some real depreciation in the next two years for E36's priced in the mid twenties.
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Discussing E36 M3 vs. E46 328Ci -- Maintenance Costs in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)