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dv55xc 01-19-2019 04:42 PM

Thinking about buying a BMW as a daily
 
For the last 10 years or so of me driving I have always driven manual transmission Japanese cars. My first car in high school was a 1969 Datsun 510 station wagon. Then in my early years of college I had a 2000 Honda Prelude Type SH. I’ve had my S since 2013 and I don’t plan on ever getting rid of it. Having Japanese cars, especially Honda’s, is cool and all but I want to drive something different. BMW’s have always appealed to me and I am curious to know what it’s like to own one. After getting to drive an E30 325is for the first time about two years ago, that curiosity has grown significantly. Now I am in a position where I can buy another car and currently, my attention is on the E82 and E92.

With both the E82 and E92 I will be going with a 2009 or 2010 model year 135i or 335i respectively. Both cars must be equipped with a manual transmission. I am aware that the normally aspirated variants are more reliable but I want to drive a turbocharged car. I have read a good number of the maintenance threads and common problems associated with an N54 equipped car. I have zero experience with owning a German car and wanted to reach out to those of you who came from a similar background. I also wouldn’t mind hearing from people who have owned German cars first and went to Japanese cars or those of you who have only ever owned German vehicles.

Before you ask, “Why don’t you go with an N55 equipped car?”, the only reason I am not choosing to go with an N55 platform is because it has limited tuneability. I like tinkering with my cars and modifying them. After my experience with the Honda Prelude where the platform was limited, I don’t want to return to a platform where I feel restricted. My priority will be maintaining and not modifying but it after a while I will be looking to modify. Between the E82 and the E92, I don’t see either of them as being vastly superior over the other. One just so happens to have a shorter wheel base than the other.

Like any car, reliability as only as good as how you maintain your vehicle. Changing your oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, transmission fluid and any regular maintenance item is key. When it comes to vehicle maintenance, I work on all of my cars except when it comes to big jobs such as changing out a clutch. I am also thinking about getting a warranty (aftermarket) on the odd chance that something major breaks. From what I understand, things like water pumps, turbos, and fuel pumps tend to go out on these cars frequently. I am also aware that I will need to buy torx bits now because, well…BMW.

Given what you know about my automotive background, what sort of advice would you give me? Are there major differences between the E82 and E92 chassis? Should I consider leasing a new car to get an idea of what its like to own one of these cars? I don’t mind waiting and doing a bit more research before making my decision. Thanks for your input!

dv55xc 01-19-2019 04:49 PM

On a side note, I am keeping the S. I am only retiring her from daily driving duties and reserving her for weekends and special occasions. Not to mention it would be nice to actually be able to take more than one person at a time in my car. Also the quality of the roads in LA are not the best and some people driving on them have no business behind the wheel. The last thing I need is someone driving like an idiot or not paying attention hitting me in my S.

rob-2 01-20-2019 12:38 PM

Own a 328ix, nearly 140k miles. Some issues but nothing major. Never stranded somewhere.

mosesbotbol 01-21-2019 05:49 AM

I can't see someone saying stay away from any one BMW as a daily driver in stock form. They are all meant to be daily drivers. Once you start tinkering, then it's Pandora's box.

JonBoy 01-21-2019 06:42 AM

Wait - you're going to buy a less-than-reliable older BMW (that was known for issues) and then you're worried about tuning limits on the newer, more reliable engine? And you're going to daily drive it in modified form?

If you're going to daily drive it, you won't have to worry about tuning limits because you should limit your upgrades to keep the car semi-reliable. The N55 has one turbo instead of two, is moderately more reliable and is newer. It is, far and away, the better choice for a 135/335 as a daily driver. It will be less expensive to replace parts and, because it's newer, be less prone to have age-related issues. Get the N55 and save yourself a ton of headaches. Modify it properly but don't go overboard or you'll severely regret it.

These cars are not cheap to maintain. I looked at one recently that had $11K (Canadian) in repairs over the last year. Think about that before you buy. Sure, you can get a good one and have minor issues or you can get the opposite and pay 65% of the car's value in repairs. They're cheap for a reason - they cost a chunk of money to keep on the road, ESPECIALLY if you tune them for more power. Every one you buy will need a new water pump soon, if it hasn't had it done. You may need a new turbo (or two) in a while, depending on mileage. Oil pan gaskets will leak - it's a guarantee. The clutch will need replacing soon if you modify.

dv55xc 01-21-2019 07:35 PM


Originally Posted by mosesbotbol (Post 24556833)
I can't see someone saying stay away from any one BMW as a daily driver in stock form. They are all meant to be daily drivers. Once you start tinkering, then it's Pandora's box.

So I've been hearing. I'm not going to be messing with it right away just changing minor details such as brakes and tires. I'll really start messing with it once im comfortable with working on it.

dv55xc 01-21-2019 07:53 PM


Originally Posted by JonBoy (Post 24556855)
Wait - you're going to buy a less-than-reliable older BMW (that was known for issues) and then you're worried about tuning limits on the newer, more reliable engine? And you're going to daily drive it in modified form?

If you're going to daily drive it, you won't have to worry about tuning limits because you should limit your upgrades to keep the car semi-reliable. The N55 has one turbo instead of two, is moderately more reliable and is newer. It is, far and away, the better choice for a 135/335 as a daily driver. It will be less expensive to replace parts and, because it's newer, be less prone to have age-related issues. Get the N55 and save yourself a ton of headaches. Modify it properly but don't go overboard or you'll severely regret it.

These cars are not cheap to maintain. I looked at one recently that had $11K (Canadian) in repairs over the last year. Think about that before you buy. Sure, you can get a good one and have minor issues or you can get the opposite and pay 65% of the car's value in repairs. They're cheap for a reason - they cost a chunk of money to keep on the road, ESPECIALLY if you tune them for more power. Every one you buy will need a new water pump soon, if it hasn't had it done. You may need a new turbo (or two) in a while, depending on mileage. Oil pan gaskets will leak - it's a guarantee. The clutch will need replacing soon if you modify.

You see! This is the kind of information im looking for! I sound like I'm kind of contradicting myself when I say I want reliability but also want maximum tunability. You can't really have a modded car, especially a BMW, and expect reliability. I've learned that from my 07 S with just changing the exhaust and putting a high flow cat. Stupid o2 sensor CEL just kept coming back...

I guess I'm approaching it the same way I approached my S2000. The allure of owning a car equipped with the German 2jz is what got my fixated on the n54 motor. The reason I picked the n54 over the n55 is because I know I will eventually start modifying the car and people generally agree that the n54 is the one to mod. I won't be modifying the car right away though. Really the only actual "mods" I'll be doing within the first year or 2 of owning the e82/92 are brake pads, tires, charge pipe, and some exterior pieces.

I will be doing more research on both n54 and 55 motors though. Im sure I don't fully understand either of them all that well. Either way im not in a rush to buy a car. Im still in the research phase and the more information I get, the better.


riceball777 01-21-2019 10:14 PM

I love love love my 2007 bmw 335i. Mine has over 130k miles and I drive it everyday. It’s my adult car. They are dirt cheep and can be had for under 10 thousand and are super nice. My is a manual trans and I have all the bolt ons. Plus I run E85 with bigger hybrid billet wheel twin turbos from pure. It makes Well over 500whp and 500 tq. And unlike my s2000 its not a lag monster. Your talking 500+tq at under 3k rpm. If you factor in fun to drive / big power and even bigger power with very basic mods/ luxury/ comfort. Absolutely noting will compared with a n54 335i for the $8,000to $15,000 price range. For a true performance car and if you also factory in things like comfort and class nothing comes close to this car for a similar price.

now for the bad

I absolutely do not recommend this car to anyone unless they are a true car guy that is use to doing a lot of wrenching. The car is only expensive to maintain if you have to pay for labor. It’s not expensive if you source parts your self and work on the car your self. Yes the car compared to Japanese cars is very unreliable. And compared to the s2000 it’s also much harder to work on. These cars will need the oil filter housing gasket, valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket change every 60-80k miles. Compared to a Honda the oil pas gasket in a Honda is a super simple job but for the n54 it a $1000+ job that is labor intensive that requires droping the sub fram and many many hours of work. But like I said all this cost nearly nothing if you do the work yourself. The electric water pump do die every 50-90k miles. The turbos will go bad at or under 100k miles.

I got to say it again. From a stand point of fun to drive/power/ potential hp with minor bolt ons/ powerband/comfort/class/gas millage. And price nothing comes close to a early e90/e92 manual transmission 335i

but if your cant even do a simple thing like a clutch job yourself at home I do not recommend this car for you. This car will bankrupt you and making people like you hate this car. If you can’t do a clutch job that your can’t change turbos on this car. Hell you probably can’t even do a oil pan gasket job on this car.

old high millage out of warrante high power turbo German cars should not be owned by non car enthusiasts. Car enthusiasts =people can do there own clutch jobs and engine swaps at home.


Tsxtx 01-21-2019 11:12 PM

I had an N55 for a year and a half. It's late so I'll be brief. I never had a single issue with regards to reliability. I extensively tracked mine and beat the ever loving crap out of it. Pm me for more details. I loved the car and and chose to give it up due to extraneous constraints.

jetrep 01-22-2019 04:11 AM

I just sold an n55 135i 6MT with all the options. Awesome car. My third BMW. I did no performance mods. I love that engine. I want it in my S2k. The trouble with BMW is a part of you is always wondering if/when the car might drain your bank account. I totally agree a non enthusiast should not own a BMW out of warranty. Don't assume this will make the car cheap to own, though. Do some searches on what typically fails on BMWs (such as plastic radiator end cap). Have you driven one of these cars? The is decent on power. I never bothered with a tune but I'm sure it's great. It's worth mentioning the 1 series has different wheel offset from most cars so wheel availability is small compared to other cars (3 series wheels don't swap).

The 135i was designed to use run flats. My experience with standard tires was that the rear felt a bit off. It's generally accepted that BMW used soft subframe bushings to improve ride quality issues brought about by run-flats. I installed bushing inserts that helped but the car still felt a bit off. Some people go all out replacing with M bushings but they are $$$.

I sold the car because I got tired of having two impractical cars. I've switched to a hatchback and find it immensely more useful.

HawkeyeGeoff 01-22-2019 06:18 AM

I've owned both an E82 and now an E90. The E82 has significantly cheaper materials. Get the E92 homie.

Edit: And yes it's in the shop because the heater core is clogged. One of the only damn things I refuse to do....take out the dash. Come oooooooooon bill less than 2 grand!

hirev 01-22-2019 10:50 AM

I had a 335i msport with 6 sp manual , 2013, for three years. It bounced about allot in the rear, the engine cut out a few times and went into limp home mode, with a restart fixing it till next time. I hated the run flats and would no recommend anything about them. i went right out and bought a 6 speed m3 in 2016, no regrets, no problems in three years. I love it....this is the bmw you may want. An M3.

A used car depends allot on who had it and , how it was treated, and if it has good bones....great design and well built....bmw is a good brand and I have had 4 of them. Just go drive an m3. Yes the v8 had a proglem or two, which can be fixed, it's a nice ride....my son had a 2008 and one drive of that and I was hooked, the m cars are different, period.

TheDonEffect 01-23-2019 08:01 AM

I've know more people who thought they found secret treasure buying a nice used bmw, and talk about how its overblown about the running costs, only to get rid of it a few years later to buy a Prius or civic or something along those lines. The NA cars are stout, I know countless folks with over 200k miles with dramatic but reasonable problems, but the i6 turbo cars are a different story.
The folks that do keep them and enjoy them tend to be less thrifty in their spending habits which it sounds like you sorta are. Understand you may luck out, get a unicorn car, tune it to 600whp and do donuts all day and never ever have an issue, or you could deal with random overheating, coolant, suspension issues, or have all sorts of sensor issues.

dv55xc 01-23-2019 02:40 PM


Originally Posted by TheDonEffect (Post 24557640)
I've know more people who thought they found secret treasure buying a nice used bmw, and talk about how its overblown about the running costs, only to get rid of it a few years later to buy a Prius or civic or something along those lines. The NA cars are stout, I know countless folks with over 200k miles with dramatic but reasonable problems, but the i6 turbo cars are a different story.
The folks that do keep them and enjoy them tend to be less thrifty in their spending habits which it sounds like you sorta are. Understand you may luck out, get a unicorn car, tune it to 600whp and do donuts all day and never ever have an issue, or you could deal with random overheating, coolant, suspension issues, or have all sorts of sensor issues.

By thrifty spending habits do you mean that I cheap out on parts? Im not really sure if that's what you meant or if you're implying that I do the work myself. The S2000 gets spoiled in terms of maintenance and parts. I just don't see the need to take the car in to get work done when I can do the majority of the general maintenance my self. I will admit defeat and take it to get a clutch or anything involving the inside of the engine. This car is a joy to work on.

The BMW on the other hand, I might want to take into a well established shop the first time around. Or a few several times afterwards. Who knows! I definitely don't mind spending the money if I need to or if I can't do it myself. You're not going to be finding me on the garage floor under the car trying to drop the subframe in order to get to the turbos. As cool as it'll be to learn how to do that, I don't think i have the time to do it. I'll gladly pay to have that done haha.

dv55xc 01-23-2019 02:54 PM


Originally Posted by jetrep (Post 24557128)
I just sold an n55 135i 6MT with all the options. Awesome car. My third BMW. I did no performance mods. I love that engine. I want it in my S2k. The trouble with BMW is a part of you is always wondering if/when the car might drain your bank account. I totally agree a non enthusiast should not own a BMW out of warranty. Don't assume this will make the car cheap to own, though. Do some searches on what typically fails on BMWs (such as plastic radiator end cap). Have you driven one of these cars? The is decent on power. I never bothered with a tune but I'm sure it's great. It's worth mentioning the 1 series has different wheel offset from most cars so wheel availability is small compared to other cars (3 series wheels don't swap).

The 135i was designed to use run flats. My experience with standard tires was that the rear felt a bit off. It's generally accepted that BMW used soft subframe bushings to improve ride quality issues brought about by run-flats. I installed bushing inserts that helped but the car still felt a bit off. Some people go all out replacing with M bushings but they are $$$.

I sold the car because I got tired of having two impractical cars. I've switched to a hatchback and find it immensely more useful.

Since I already have the S2000, I know I'll have a reliable car ready just in case this one messes up. But that's not really a good way to approach buying my next car. A lot of the BMW guys keep telling me that the cars are not that bad so long as you keep up with maintenance and understand that things break. A LOT. Im ok with that and the fact that parts are not cheap. It's looking like the car will be more expensive to keep on the road and im ok with that.

I won't be looking for super car levels of performance on this car as it'll be my DD. Will I eventually want to modify it and get more performance out of it? Yes! But I would like to enjoy the car in stock form for a while before I do that. My S2000 didn't get any major mods until after I paid it off. All I really did was maintenance and a better brake pad and tire package. Paying the car off was priority number 1.

Im going to test drive the cars first though and make sure that this is the direction I want to go.

ssbfgc 01-23-2019 03:39 PM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24557089)
I love love love my 2007 bmw 335i. Mine has over 130k miles and I drive it everyday. It’s my adult car. They are dirt cheep and can be had for under 10 thousand and are super nice. My is a manual trans and I have all the bolt ons. Plus I run E85 with bigger hybrid billet wheel twin turbos from pure. It makes Well over 500whp and 500 tq. And unlike my s2000 its not a lag monster. Your talking 500+tq at under 3k rpm. If you factor in fun to drive / big power and even bigger power with very basic mods/ luxury/ comfort. Absolutely noting will compared with a n54 335i for the $8,000to $15,000 price range. For a true performance car and if you also factory in things like comfort and class nothing comes close to this car for a similar price.

now for the bad

I absolutely do not recommend this car to anyone unless they are a true car guy that is use to doing a lot of wrenching. The car is only expensive to maintain if you have to pay for labor. It’s not expensive if you source parts your self and work on the car your self. Yes the car compared to Japanese cars is very unreliable. And compared to the s2000 it’s also much harder to work on. These cars will need the oil filter housing gasket, valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket change every 60-80k miles. Compared to a Honda the oil pas gasket in a Honda is a super simple job but for the n54 it a $1000+ job that is labor intensive that requires droping the sub fram and many many hours of work. But like I said all this cost nearly nothing if you do the work yourself. The electric water pump do die every 50-90k miles. The turbos will go bad at or under 100k miles.

I got to say it again. From a stand point of fun to drive/power/ potential hp with minor bolt ons/ powerband/comfort/class/gas millage. And price nothing comes close to a early e90/e92 manual transmission 335i

but if your cant even do a simple thing like a clutch job yourself at home I do not recommend this car for you. This car will bankrupt you and making people like you hate this car. If you can’t do a clutch job that your can’t change turbos on this car. Hell you probably can’t even do a oil pan gasket job on this car.

old high millage out of warrante high power turbo German cars should not be owned by non car enthusiasts. Car enthusiasts =people can do there own clutch jobs and engine swaps at home.


Funny definition you have of a car enthusiast. I’d consider myself a car enthusiast but certainly can’t swap out an engine. I suppose if I really wanted to I’m sure I could learn, but my time is worth much more. I wouldn’t consider a clutch job a simple thing either. Changing the oil is simple. Any old BMW is an operating cost nightmare. Much better cars to mod, unless you’re riceball

riceball777 01-23-2019 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by ssbfgc (Post 24557835)

Funny definition you have of a car enthusiast. I’d consider myself a car enthusiast but certainly can’t swap out an engine. I suppose if I really wanted to I’m sure I could learn, but my time is worth much more. I wouldn’t consider a clutch job a simple thing either. Changing the oil is simple. Any old BMW is an operating cost nightmare. Much better cars to mod, unless you’re riceball

The point is
this topic started stated that he can’t do a clutch job and he asked about reliability. Labor and parts on a bmw 335i is very very expensive compared to Japanese cars. A typical clutch job is well over 1 thousand. Hell a oil pan gasket job is over $1000 and on a labor/difficult level it’s harder than a clutch job. Blown turbo will cost you well over $5000 at the dealer and Maybe $3000 from a good independent shop. These things almost already excead the price of the car. Theses this will and do go bad on bmw 335i all the time. It’s just normal bmw maintnece. And no this person staring this thread should not get a used n54 335 for these reason. Buts it’s an amazing car and the best car you can buy for the money as long as you can wrench. And I mean really wrench not you know how to change out fluids on a car.

Bullwings 01-23-2019 07:36 PM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24557089)
but if your cant even do a simple thing like a clutch job yourself at home I do not recommend this car for you.

Car enthusiasts =people can do there own clutch jobs and engine swaps at home.

Person A = makes 8 figure salary per year and owns 12 different cars and pays people to maintain them

Person B = makes low 6 figure salary and maintains an older manual pickup truck, mini-van, and mid-sized sedan himself

who is the "car enthusiast"?


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24557877)
Buts it’s an amazing car and the best car you can buy for the money as long as you can wrench. And I mean really wrench not you know how to change out fluids on a car.

really wrenching =/= simple
clutch job = simple
clutch job = really wrenching

one of these is not true...

dv55xc 01-23-2019 07:51 PM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24557877)

The point is
this topic started stated that he can’t do a clutch job and he asked about reliability. Labor and parts on a bmw 335i is very very expensive compared to Japanese cars. A typical clutch job is well over 1 thousand. Hell a oil pan gasket job is over $1000 and on a labor/difficult level it’s harder than a clutch job. Blown turbo will cost you well over $5000 at the dealer and Maybe $3000 from a good independent shop. These things almost already excead the price of the car. Theses this will and do go bad on bmw 335i all the time. It’s just normal bmw maintnece. And no this person staring this thread should not get a used n54 335 for these reason. Buts it’s an amazing car and the best car you can buy for the money as long as you can wrench. And I mean really wrench not you know how to change out fluids on a car.

I mean I can do more than change fluids. I do all of the maintenance on my car pretty much. I can do brakes, change suspension, swap out the exhaust, change motor mounts, swap out axles etc. I'm not going to change the clutch on my car without a lift. Would I like to learn how? Yes! But by the time I get the right equipment, I could've already taken my car to a shop and have a clutch installed.

I agree the price of maintenance on these cars, 135i and 335i, is no joke. This is why I will be looking into getting an aftermarket extended warranty with my purchase for the off chance that the turbo, fuel pump, injectors, water pump and what not decide to take a dump. If things don't seem to work out then I'll move on to another car.

dv55xc 01-23-2019 08:00 PM


Originally Posted by Bullwings (Post 24557882)
Person A = makes 8 figure salary per year and owns 12 different cars and pays people to maintain them

Person B = makes low 6 figure salary and maintains an older manual pickup truck, mini-van, and mid-sized sedan himself

who is the "car enthusiast"?



really wrenching =/= simple
clutch job = simple
clutch job = really wrenching

one of these is not true...

are we really going to define a car enthusiast as someone who can change a clutch at his/ her garage? Lol wow.

TheDonEffect 01-23-2019 10:27 PM


Originally Posted by dv55xc (Post 24557823)
By thrifty spending habits do you mean that I cheap out on parts? Im not really sure if that's what you meant or if you're implying that I do the work myself. The S2000 gets spoiled in terms of maintenance and parts. I just don't see the need to take the car in to get work done when I can do the majority of the general maintenance my self. I will admit defeat and take it to get a clutch or anything involving the inside of the engine. This car is a joy to work on.

The BMW on the other hand, I might want to take into a well established shop the first time around. Or a few several times afterwards. Who knows! I definitely don't mind spending the money if I need to or if I can't do it myself. You're not going to be finding me on the garage floor under the car trying to drop the subframe in order to get to the turbos. As cool as it'll be to learn how to do that, I don't think i have the time to do it. I'll gladly pay to have that done haha.

What I meant was people who tend to be more thrifty are less tolerant of the constant surprise repair bill.

TheDonEffect 01-23-2019 10:38 PM

Lol so essentially if you're willing to forgive the fact that it's a poorly designed car because the parts will fail sooner and cost more in time or money to replace, then yes this car is great for you. Because BMW bruh.

white98ls 01-24-2019 07:21 AM


Originally Posted by TheDonEffect (Post 24557903)
Lol so essentially if you're willing to forgive the fact that it's a poorly designed car because the parts will fail sooner and cost more in time or money to replace, then yes this car is great for you. Because BMW bruh.

I love certain BMWs, and continue to own/consider them, but parts failing sooner is definitely real. The thermostat in my M3 just failed at 58k. The thermo in my E39 M5 failed at around 85-90k. Each time is like a $1k job because you have to remove the entire intake system (which means 8 individual intake trumpets on both of these cars due to ITBs) to get to it, although I did the M5's myself (took 4-5hrs, it's a really tight fit in there) and this time with the M3 I have a warranty.

But it's stuff like this that is pretty annoying. A thermostat is incredibly simple and has been around for ages, yet BMW consistently cannot figure out how to make one last longer than a few years, while somehow you never think twice about it on much cheaper cars.

Oh, and at the same time, the dealer has to address the third recall I've had in the 2.5 years I've owned the car. This time it's for blower motor wiring that could start a fire even when the car is off.

I'm not saying don't get one - just be prepared.

dv55xc 01-24-2019 07:26 AM


Originally Posted by TheDonEffect (Post 24557903)
Lol so essentially if you're willing to forgive the fact that it's a poorly designed car because the parts will fail sooner and cost more in time or money to replace, then yes this car is great for you. Because BMW bruh.

it's looking like I might have to pick another car altogether. Sad thing is there's nothing really interesting out on the market at the moment. I'll still keep researching and I might be having around some BMW owners soon to get better insight.

If things don't work out, my plan B is to either purchase or lease a new civic si and be done with it. We'll see

white98ls 01-24-2019 07:42 AM


Originally Posted by dv55xc (Post 24558015)
it's looking like I might have to pick another car altogether. Sad thing is there's nothing really interesting out on the market at the moment. I'll still keep researching and I might be having around some BMW owners soon to get better insight.

If things don't work out, my plan B is to either purchase or lease a new civic si and be done with it. We'll see

From what you've said before, you're not someone I would try to scare away from a BMW. It sounds like you're willing to do some work, so you should be fine. For the record, it sounds like your mechanical ability is slightly higher than mine, and I did almost everything on my M5 except for clutch. My E90 M3 has had an issue here and there, but has been far less needy than the M5. It's a little younger, but driven more.

dv55xc 01-24-2019 07:44 AM


Originally Posted by white98ls (Post 24558013)
I love certain BMWs, and continue to own/consider them, but parts failing sooner is definitely real. The thermostat in my M3 just failed at 58k. The thermo in my E39 M5 failed at around 85-90k. Each time is like a $1k job because you have to remove the entire intake system (which means 8 individual intake trumpets on both of these cars due to ITBs) to get to it, although I did the M5's myself (took 4-5hrs, it's a really tight fit in there) and this time with the M3 I have a warranty.

But it's stuff like this that is pretty annoying. A thermostat is incredibly simple and has been around for ages, yet BMW consistently cannot figure out how to make one last longer than a few years, while somehow you never think twice about it on much cheaper cars.

Oh, and at the same time, the dealer has to address the third recall I've had in the 2.5 years I've owned the car. This time it's for blower motor wiring that could start a fire even when the car is off.

I'm not saying don't get one - just be prepared.

I've been told by the guys on the BMW forums that the M cars are the ones to avoid if you want reliability. It's funny because I've always liked the e92 m3 and saw that the prices were pretty decent right now. I wonder if the e46 would also fall into that unreliable category as well. Either way I don't think an M car would be a good daily for me right now. Im just starting on this BMW journey and I don't want to be scared away. Although, some people here are doing a pretty good job at it lol

A few of the BMW guys were also telling me about a shop in Fullerton called Speed Logic. This shop specializes in BMW's and more importantly; they specialize in the N54/55 platforms. Prices seem pretty reasonable there too given how labor intensive the repairs on these cars are. This shop kind of reminds me of evasive and (dare I say it) ballade merged into one. It's not the cost that scares me, it's the frequency of things going bad that worries me a little.

white98ls 01-24-2019 08:03 AM


Originally Posted by dv55xc (Post 24558028)
I've been told by the guys on the BMW forums that the M cars are the ones to avoid if you want reliability. It's funny because I've always liked the e92 m3 and saw that the prices were pretty decent right now. I wonder if the e46 would also fall into that unreliable category as well. Either way I don't think an M car would be a good daily for me right now. Im just starting on this BMW journey and I don't want to be scared away. Although, some people here are doing a pretty good job at it lol

A few of the BMW guys were also telling me about a shop in Fullerton called Speed Logic. This shop specializes in BMW's and more importantly; they specialize in the N54/55 platforms. Prices seem pretty reasonable there too given how labor intensive the repairs on these cars are. This shop kind of reminds me of evasive and (dare I say it) ballade merged into one. It's not the cost that scares me, it's the frequency of things going bad that worries me a little.

It seems as though all of the N/A M cars have potential rod bearing issues. I feel the odds are fairly low that you'll experience a failure, but if you want piece of mind you can get a warranty (what I did) or have them replaced for about $2k (what I plan to do if I keep it when the warranty is up in 2021). But you also don't have any turbo/fuel pump issues associated with the N54/55. In general, my sense is the E9x M3 has fewer problems and less maintenance than the E46 M3, in addition to being a newer car.

I'd say overall, reliability is similar between M and non-M, but M parts are about 2x as expensive as normal BMW parts. For instance, a set of rotors for mine are $1,100 due to being massive and drilled, vs. $500 for the 335i. Also, the newer N/A M cars get horrendous mpg. I average about 15mpg, although my short commute (7mi each way) doesn't help.

M cars are awesome, and I don't regret mine, but despite using mine as a DD, I agree it might be overkill and a 335i would probably make you nearly as happy - it does have more torque and tuneability.

TheDonEffect 01-24-2019 07:08 PM

And in most cars, if you do need a thermostat, they're usually pretty simple, albeit messy, to replace. I always find it funny on bimmers where a sensor would go out, and you go whew just a sensor, and then you realize it's buried and requires a ton of labor to get to it. BMW fans will say if you know how to work on them, it's fun or whatever. BS, granted I appreciate that BMWs generally don't require just the right amount of thump to get things loose like working on domestic cars as things on german cars if you know to disassemble it come apart and together rather easily, the problem is that it may be an easier task, but there's countless tasks to do. And theyre seriously not any faster, or really any more fun to drive, than most domestic pony cars especially when you consider that BMWs don't age that well. Keep in mind they benefit from relatively easy lifestyles, garaged, driven to a work garage, maintained by dealers, etc. But take a BMW that's been parked outside its whole life and heaven forbid you're lax on the maintenance schedule, those things fall apart fast.

hirev 01-26-2019 05:24 PM

a used m car i tell you....
 
i am going to make a case for why an m car is a better car than a bmw that you trick out to be like an m car that costs way less to buy.
you need to find what you want to trick out,, buy it, install it and hope you have matched things up well.
with an m you buy what bmw intended with few exceptions.

my m3, a 2016, compared to the top of the line 2013 335i m sport model.

the suspension, extra on the stock car how much?
the fenders, size and material and the hood, extra cash to match?
the drivetrain, allot extra to trick out to get another real say 100 plus hp?
the interior, how much to get those carbon fiber bits and better seats and all the bells and whistles that are standard on the m car?
the top/body material?
the ride and drive qualities?meet or exceed without being to harsh for the road yet take it to the track every day you want?
wheels, tires, brakes, etc?
aero stuff?
exaust?

i can go on...but take a high end 3 or 4 series, now what? they sell for about 57kish, then take the comparable m with no comp pack or carbon brakes, maybe 70k

another 13k new?maybe 20 k in some cases but you match aftermarket with stock offerings in this comparo

but used...go price a 335i or whatever number whatever year with an m car...used

now parts...yes m maintenance is more, and because it is a real track car you can daily it costs more

with the v8 there is cam timing gears and rod bearings...maybe 2k in upgrades you may need, otherwise you get a generously special car for not much more cash than tricking out /sorting out a nice bmw from stock to match or exceed


and, and the m car has a ton of research behind it's design as state of the art at the time..and when you sell it you have a high tricked out person car with allot of aftermarket stuff you may not like vs. a from the factory stock super car....no need to molest much.

bottom line, go drive a used m3 and see if you know what i am suggesting????

riceball777 01-26-2019 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by hirev (Post 24558947)
i am going to make a case for why an m car is a better car than a bmw that you trick out to be like an m car that costs way less to buy.
you need to find what you want to trick out,, buy it, install it and hope you have matched things up well.
with an m you buy what bmw intended with few exceptions.

my m3, a 2016, compared to the top of the line 2013 335i m sport model.

the suspension, extra on the stock car how much?
the fenders, size and material and the hood, extra cash to match?
the drivetrain, allot extra to trick out to get another real say 100 plus hp?
the interior, how much to get those carbon fiber bits and better seats and all the bells and whistles that are standard on the m car?
the top/body material?
the ride and drive qualities?meet or exceed without being to harsh for the road yet take it to the track every day you want?
wheels, tires, brakes, etc?
aero stuff?
exaust?

i can go on...but take a high end 3 or 4 series, now what? they sell for about 57kish, then take the comparable m with no comp pack or carbon brakes, maybe 70k

another 13k new?maybe 20 k in some cases but you match aftermarket with stock offerings in this comparo

but used...go price a 335i or whatever number whatever year with an m car...used

now parts...yes m maintenance is more, and because it is a real track car you can daily it costs more

with the v8 there is cam timing gears and rod bearings...maybe 2k in upgrades you may need, otherwise you get a generously special car for not much more cash than tricking out /sorting out a nice bmw from stock to match or exceed


and, and the m car has a ton of research behind it's design as state of the art at the time..and when you sell it you have a high tricked out person car with allot of aftermarket stuff you may not like vs. a from the factory stock super car....no need to molest much.

bottom line, go drive a used m3 and see if you know what i am suggesting????

were talking about the e90 generation which is over 10 years old and sub $10,000 for a 335i. The m3 of the e90 was a torque less non boosted v8. A 335i with a $100 tune was already faster than the v8 m3.

But out I agreed that the f80 2015+ m3/m4 is an amazing car. But those cars are still $40,000+. You can’t compare a $10,000 car to a $40,000 car.

radiantm3 01-29-2019 05:12 AM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24558969)


were talking about the e90 generation which is over 10 years old and sub $10,000 for a 335i. The m3 of the e90 was a torque less non boosted v8. A 335i with a $100 tune was already faster than the v8 m3.

But out I agreed that the f80 2015+ m3/m4 is an amazing car. But those cars are still $40,000+. You can’t compare a $10,000 car to a $40,000 car.

It wasn't torqueless. It was just felt in the upper rev range. Same for the GT350. You'd probably say it was torqueless too because you don't feel it in the lower rev range, but it has well over 400 ft lbs of it. A 335i with a tune was only faster in a straight line. Take a corner and if feels nowhere as good as an M3.

I owned a bunch of BMW's in the past 10 years. E90 335i, E90 335i LCI, E82, E92 M3 (and 3 others that weren't a 3 series). The most fun car of them all on the street was the E82. The E9X cars are just way too big. Well maybe not by today's standards, but that doesn't change the fact that the E82 felt way smaller, more nimble, and lighter on its feet, yet with the same power as its bigger brother.

But agree with everyone else. Old BMW's out of warranty and higher mileage require way more maintenance than Japanese cars and gets expensive if you don't wrench on your own. Once my E92 M3 got over 30-40k miles little things started failing out of nowhere like thermostat, fuel pump, throttle actuator, abs sensor, etc. At 60k my rod bearings failed and my motor seized. Luckily I had an extended warranty so I didn't pay a dime (well besides the warranty itself) outside of normal maintenance. Never had an issue with my other BMW's, probably because I never kept them over 30k miles or so. For me they make great lease cars or if I buy I get an extended warranty and plan to sell the car before that warranty expires. But there are days when I think about getting an E46 M3.

hirev 02-04-2019 10:59 AM

Having owned a 87 325is, 328i sedan, 335i msport, and now a 2016 m3 I can attest to BMW reliability and maintenance issues. Cost of parts is more for an m car, they are special and because of that performance the things that wear out cost more.

I don't dump the clutch, or speed shift. I have not made mods to the existing systems, I drive fast, the car handles well, and I am happy with 23.5 mpg over all average. I have a 2016 m3 with 24,000 miles on it , factory free service and warranty for 4 years and 48,000 miles. I have stock factory suspension, 6 speed manual car. I have had no issues of any type with this car and will buy it out of lease. It's way better than the 335i m sport was at a premium of about 10,000 over it.

I had oil leaks with the 325is, I had many issues with the 328i as it was very used and I got it for my son who drove it hard and put it away wet, the 335i was just a sports sedan that needed messages to the engine management system, suspension, and it was just a nice car....the m 3 is all of what i want from a bmw, period.

rwheelz 02-04-2019 12:07 PM

Every time I consider buying a used BMW I read a few of these threads. I have always wanted to buy a german car on euro delivery, but struggle to find something that won't depreciate rapidly and cost me an additional fortune over the long term.

I see these 335 models for $6-7k now on Craigslist, some with only 100k miles and they look to be in beautiful shape. Tempting!

riceball777 02-05-2019 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by rwheelz (Post 24562260)
Every time I consider buying a used BMW I read a few of these threads. I have always wanted to buy a german car on euro delivery, but struggle to find something that won't depreciate rapidly and cost me an additional fortune over the long term.

I see these 335 models for $6-7k now on Craigslist, some with only 100k miles and they look to be in beautiful shape. Tempting!

like I said. E90/e92 335i is the absolutely best street all around car you can get for the money for a car enthusiast. As long as you can turn a wrench

HawkeyeGeoff 02-05-2019 06:27 PM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24562763)


like I said. E90/e92 335i is the absolutely best street all around car you can get for the money for a car enthusiast. As long as you can turn a wrench

+1 on that. N54/N55 is just fantastic for a street car. Nothing really compares for the money as of 2019.

white98ls 02-08-2019 10:27 AM

Had a recent experience with mine that provides perspective.

I took my E90 M3 w/58k to the dealer for a recall and a CEL caused by the thermostat (as I mentioned above), because I have an EasyCare warranty that I have yet to take advantage of. While there, the dealer also found a leaking valve cover and timing chain cover, and IACV fault (have had a lumpy idle when cold since I bought the car, so I wasn't surprised).

EasyCare covered the thermo and the valve cover, but not the timing belt cover which is odd given it's not much more work to replace that while they're in there. Warranty doesn't cover IACV but the dealer wanted $2,400 and the part is $500, so I'll do it myself as it looks like it's doable in 3-4hrs and I don't make $500+/hr at my day job, lol.

Bottom line is, the total for the thermo and valve cover was $2,500, of which the warranty covered all but my $500 deductible. The timing belt cover gasket would have added $600, and the IACV would have been $2,400. So that's $5,500 in repairs if I had just paid the dealer to do it w/o warranty. At 58k miles! That would basically never happen in a Japanese car, or probably a Porsche for that matter.

If you're willing to wrench though, fixing all of this would probably take a day and $1k in parts.

I will say that none of these issues was truly tangible at this point - I had not been losing any measurable oil between changes at 7-8k intervals, and besides the CEL the thermo wasn't causing issues. But as with my E39 M5, these cars tend to have annoying component failures earlier on than a typical car which, while not crippling, you'll eventually want to address if you're an enthusiast who wants things to be right.

vader1 02-08-2019 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by rwheelz (Post 24562260)
I have always wanted to buy a german car on euro delivery, but struggle to find something that won't depreciate rapidly and cost me an additional fortune over the long term.


If you ever plan to do this, don't wait too long. I did mine and LOVED it, really want to get one more in if I can swing it before my dirt nap. Was looking at an Audi, but Audi canceled their ED program as of late last year. You got Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, and Volvo. And if you want a BMW, it pretty much can't be an X3 or X5 because they are built here. I don't know if the others will cancel, but who knows. I would love to do a Porsche ED when I finally retire, but that is only if my retirement funds do way better than expected over the next ten years, but driving a new one on the Ring would be a fantastic trip, even if it is in a strippo Cayman.

As far as reliability, I am only at 42,000 on the BMW but still have yet to have a single hiccup. I don't, however, intend to keep it for too much longer in most of my next-car-scenarios unless I pick up a Miata and use my 3 series as a winter car for a couple more years. But yes, they do depreciate rapidly. Very rapidly.

lolS2K 02-08-2019 01:44 PM


Originally Posted by white98ls (Post 24558039)
It seems as though all of the N/A M cars have potential rod bearing issues. I feel the odds are fairly low that you'll experience a failure, but if you want piece of mind you can get a warranty (what I did) or have them replaced for about $2k (what I plan to do if I keep it when the warranty is up in 2021). But you also don't have any turbo/fuel pump issues associated with the N54/55. In general, my sense is the E9x M3 has fewer problems and less maintenance than the E46 M3, in addition to being a newer car.

I'd say overall, reliability is similar between M and non-M, but M parts are about 2x as expensive as normal BMW parts. For instance, a set of rotors for mine are $1,100 due to being massive and drilled, vs. $500 for the 335i. Also, the newer N/A M cars get horrendous mpg. I average about 15mpg, although my short commute (7mi each way) doesn't help.

M cars are awesome, and I don't regret mine, but despite using mine as a DD, I agree it might be overkill and a 335i would probably make you nearly as happy - it does have more torque and tuneability.


Having recently bought an M car as a Daily Driver, I agree with the majority of this post. Although I will say that rod bearings are not a matter of if but WHEN they fail. Especially in the S65 V8, which is based on the architecture of the S85 V10 from the E60/E63 M5/M6 that had known rod bearing issues.


Originally Posted by radiantm3 (Post 24559652)
But agree with everyone else. Old BMW's out of warranty and higher mileage require way more maintenance than Japanese cars and gets expensive if you don't wrench on your own. Once my E92 M3 got over 30-40k miles little things started failing out of nowhere like thermostat, fuel pump, throttle actuator, abs sensor, etc. At 60k my rod bearings failed and my motor seized. Luckily I had an extended warranty so I didn't pay a dime (well besides the warranty itself) outside of normal maintenance. Never had an issue with my other BMW's, probably because I never kept them over 30k miles or so. For me they make great lease cars or if I buy I get an extended warranty and plan to sell the car before that warranty expires. But there are days when I think about getting an E46 M3.

This is the mileage when rod bearings start to become an issue. Both in the M3 and previous gen M5/6.


Originally Posted by dv55xc (Post 24558028)
I've been told by the guys on the BMW forums that the M cars are the ones to avoid if you want reliability. It's funny because I've always liked the e92 m3 and saw that the prices were pretty decent right now. I wonder if the e46 would also fall into that unreliable category as well. Either way I don't think an M car would be a good daily for me right now. Im just starting on this BMW journey and I don't want to be scared away. Although, some people here are doing a pretty good job at it lol

A few of the BMW guys were also telling me about a shop in Fullerton called Speed Logic. This shop specializes in BMW's and more importantly; they specialize in the N54/55 platforms. Prices seem pretty reasonable there too given how labor intensive the repairs on these cars are. This shop kind of reminds me of evasive and (dare I say it) ballade merged into one. It's not the cost that scares me, it's the frequency of things going bad that worries me a little.

I don't necessarily think an M car would be a bad idea, especially if you're looking at an N54 car that has just about as many well documented, expensive faults as any M car. It's more a matter of finding the RIGHT M car and being diligent about your search and researching the faults associated with the specific generation you're looking to purchase. As mentioned above, I recently bought an M car as a daily driver. I managed to find an E63 M6 with just over 60k miles. White on red with a 6 speed manual (just like my E24 635csi) and was sold. Bought the car sight unseen from a dealership in Minnesota after a PPI came back relatively clean. Both the E63 M6 and E60 M5 can be had for stupid cheap due to the stigma around their rod bearing failures.

My recommendation: If you can find a manual transmission spec E60/63 M, buy it. Replace the rod bearings immediately if that hasn't been done by the prior owner and you're essentially in the clear. Only thing that sucks is the gas mileage, but the V10 howl is worth it.

Gratuitous shot of my 2 sisters:
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.s2k...b1018e0cac.png

rwheelz 02-09-2019 06:08 AM


Originally Posted by vader1 (Post 24563965)
If you ever plan to do this, don't wait too long. I did mine and LOVED it, really want to get one more in if I can swing it before my dirt nap. Was looking at an Audi, but Audi canceled their ED program as of late last year. You got Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, and Volvo. And if you want a BMW, it pretty much can't be an X3 or X5 because they are built here. I don't know if the others will cancel, but who knows. I would love to do a Porsche ED when I finally retire, but that is only if my retirement funds do way better than expected over the next ten years, but driving a new one on the Ring would be a fantastic trip, even if it is in a strippo Cayman.

As far as reliability, I am only at 42,000 on the BMW but still have yet to have a single hiccup. I don't, however, intend to keep it for too much longer in most of my next-car-scenarios unless I pick up a Miata and use my 3 series as a winter car for a couple more years. But yes, they do depreciate rapidly. Very rapidly.

I have been holding out until I can afford to take ED of one of the Porsches that does not depreciate so rapidly. The problem is, the prices of those cars keep climbing into the stratosphere.

vader1 02-09-2019 07:18 AM

Oh I hear you. My Cayman stickered for $82k new. More than I wanted to spend. Bought as 3 year lease return with 22,000 miles for $53k and it is still under certified warranty through 2020. I thought that was a great way to save nearly thirty thousand on a long term car, but sadly the fantastic euro experience was perhaps had by the guy who shelled out the real money.

If you really just want to do it though, go negotiate a really good 3 yr lease on the new 3 series ( or 2 series or x1) for cheap and you still get to do ED.

ragtophardtop 02-10-2019 05:12 PM

Do yourself a favor, lease the BMW. BMWs are not built for the used market, they are built to last through their warantee period if that.

I had a similar thought, bought the beemer, sold it because the headache was too great, and bought an S.




ndfan 02-11-2019 03:44 PM

I’m possibly qualified to speak on the topic. After having a child in 2016, I sold my S2000 in favor of a 4-seat convertible that we could enjoy as a family. After test drives and some research, I decided to get a BMW 128i with a manual and m-sport package (among other options). It has the N52 engine, which I understand is pretty reliable, though I have not put enough miles on it to confirm here. In addition, I like this car because parts are plentiful (due to sharing with e9x platform) and they have depreciated like crazy so they are pretty affordable for what you get, IMO.

JonBoy 02-12-2019 06:50 AM

The 128 (or 328) commonly has issues with the oil pan gasket, which is a $600-$1000 fix at a dealership/shop. Typically happens around the 7-year mark. AWD models are more difficult to change than RWD models, apparently.

Other than that, you might deal with oil filter housing gasket issues, which is a $30 part and a fairly simple DIY (filling the coolant and bleeding it would be the most complex part).

Valve cover leaks are also common.

SlowTeg 02-12-2019 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by HawkeyeGeoff (Post 24562894)
+1 on that. N54/N55 is just fantastic for a street car. Nothing really compares for the money as of 2019.

How are they reliability wise, so they sorted out the HPFP's and other fuel issues? A 335 would be nice but it's hard to justify for me over the NA version for just putzing around. Do the turbos need to be replaced after some time?

ndfan 02-12-2019 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by JonBoy (Post 24565389)
The 128 (or 328) commonly has issues with the oil pan gasket, which is a $600-$1000 fix at a dealership/shop. Typically happens around the 7-year mark. AWD models are more difficult to change than RWD models, apparently.

Other than that, you might deal with oil filter housing gasket issues, which is a $30 part and a fairly simple DIY (filling the coolant and bleeding it would be the most complex part).

Valve cover leaks are also common.

Yep. It seems that oil pan gaskets must start to go around the 7 year mark (for N52s and N54/55s), as I’ve noticed that topic popping up lately. For all 3 engines, it seems water pumps (along with the OFHG previously mentioned) remain items where it’s not a matter of if, but when, they will fail. With all that said, I’m not aware of a problem that will cause catastrophic damage like a bad IMS (for Porsche) or VANOS (for BMW), which is a major plus in my book.

bgoetz 02-14-2019 04:32 PM


Originally Posted by Bullwings (Post 24557882)
Person A = makes 8 figure salary per year and owns 12 different cars and pays people to maintain them

Person B = makes low 6 figure salary and maintains an older manual pickup truck, mini-van, and mid-sized sedan himself

who is the "car enthusiast"?



really wrenching =/= simple
clutch job = simple
clutch job = really wrenching

one of these is not true...

Low 6 figures and you can only buy that?! Either person B mismanaged their $ something awful or the cost of living is insane where they live. Low 6 figures can get you some damn nice stuff around here!

As for the E90, go for it! I have a 328i M-sport as a daily and love it!

rob-2 02-19-2019 03:16 PM

My 328xi was running solid until it cracked 140k. Then two random things have happened. It's developed a stumble on cold start up and the TPMS relay is failing. These probably aren't BMW part issues but their suppliers. These are not major issues just minor matters that my other cars haven't had.

ChiHonda 02-25-2019 07:22 AM

I had a N54 135i and grew not to love it. I got an intake, intercooler and Cobb tube. It was an absolute torque monster and that was fun until it wasn’t. The problem is I don’t really have roads that can take advantage of all that power so it just felt like a lion in a cage. Shifting isn’t that much fun because there is so much torque that in practical terms you can be two or theee gears away from optimal but it doesn’t matter. Want to pass on the highway? 6th gear is fine. There’s no involvement. The inline 6 is smooth and luxurious but doesn’t give much sense of speed. I’d prefer an E46 M3 which has much more usable power, more involving and is a better handling car besides.

As as others have said, if you can’t get enough torque, have willingness and ability to wrench, then an N54 car makes sense. Good luck in your search.

rwheelz 02-25-2019 12:03 PM


Originally Posted by bgoetz (Post 24566482)


Low 6 figures and you can only buy that?! Either person B mismanaged their $ something awful or the cost of living is insane where they live. Low 6 figures can get you some damn nice stuff around here!

As for the E90, go for it! I have a 328i M-sport as a daily and love it!

There is a difference between can and should. I can and did buy an $80k car, but probably shouldn't have. It's easy for those of us who are single, but think of trying to raise a family on $120k/yr gross income. It could be done, but I wouldn't want to do it.

Once again I will steer clear of a used BMW after reading this thread. I can probably do most of the work myself, but don't want to spend what little free time I have wrenching when I could be driving or riding instead. I realize this more and more as I get older.

bgoetz 02-25-2019 05:03 PM


Originally Posted by rwheelz (Post 24570553)
There is a difference between can and should. I can and did buy an $80k car, but probably shouldn't have. It's easy for those of us who are single, but think of trying to raise a family on $120k/yr gross income. It could be done, but I wouldn't want to do it.

Once again I will steer clear of a used BMW after reading this thread. I can probably do most of the work myself, but don't want to spend what little free time I have wrenching when I could be driving or riding instead. I realize this more and more as I get older.

IDK if I would steer clear of a used BMW, I personally don’t think you will find a better car as a daily driver for the price. For $15-20k you can have an E90 M-sport 335 that looks great, feels great, and is super quick for what it is. My daily is an E90 328 M-sport, I also have a 997 C2S and a track built S2k. I smile every day I drive the 328, the car has been a great car to own. More expensive to maintain that an Accord sure, but well worth it.

gerry100 03-03-2019 05:55 AM

You can over think this thing.

Driving a BMW is more expensive then driving an equivalent mileage alternative and can "bite you in the ass" with a hefty bill.

If the uncertainty is emotionally too much and you're not in a position to "self insure" then you should consider another ride for the time being.

dv55xc 03-03-2019 06:46 AM

A small update for those who have been following this thread:

I have been looking for a used BMW 135i or 335i for a few weeks now. At his point I have decided to give up sticking with the n54 only and included both n54 and n55 in my search. It is incredibly difficult to find a car that matches my criteria locally and in neighboring states. Here is an example of what I'm looking for:

My ideal 135i/335i coupe:

Model year: 2010
Trim:135i
Exterior: White
Interior: Red
Transmission: Manual (NO auto/double clutch)
Packages/ Features: M sport pack and navigation
Mileage: 80k and below
Title status: Clean


Now let's list what I am willing to take if I don't find my preferred spec.

What im willing to take:

Exterior: Any color
Interior: Red or Black
Model year: 2010 - 2013
Transmission: Manual (no auto/ double clutch)
Trim:135i or 135is, 335i or 335is
Packages/ Features: M sport pack or sport pack, and navigation (if possible)
Mileage: 80k and below
Title status: clean

I've had zero luck so far in my searches. If this continues through May or June I might have to look for another car. I started a back up plan just in case things don't work out. Im currently talking to a dealer who has 2 new 2019 CW ctr's on the lot. They offered me one of them with a $2k mark up but I think I can do better. We'll see how things work out in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for all the advice and insight

riceball777 03-03-2019 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by ChiHonda (Post 24570396)
I had a N54 135i and grew not to love it. I got an intake, intercooler and Cobb tube. It was an absolute torque monster and that was fun until it wasn’t. The problem is I don’t really have roads that can take advantage of all that power so it just felt like a lion in a cage. Shifting isn’t that much fun because there is so much torque that in practical terms you can be two or theee gears away from optimal but it doesn’t matter. Want to pass on the highway? 6th gear is fine. There’s no involvement. The inline 6 is smooth and luxurious but doesn’t give much sense of speed. I’d prefer an E46 M3 which has much more usable power, more involving and is a better handling car besides.

As as others have said, if you can’t get enough torque, have willingness and ability to wrench, then an N54 car makes sense. Good luck in your search.

The e46 m3 has way way less usable power. It seams like you don’t lot the fact that the n54 has crazy low end power and power and crazy tq in any gear. If you want a car with with power only in the upper rpms and you want a car where you need to be in the correct gear to accelerate then yes you want a high rpm all motor car like the s2000/e46m3/e90m3. You want a narrow power and car. You don’t want a car with a large usable power and like a 335i. Or really any factory 6 or8 cylinder turbo car.

i personally have a high power turbo s2000 as well as a e90 335I and I love the crazy low end to and the ability to accelerate hard at low rpms in any gear.

asrautox 03-03-2019 09:20 AM

N54/N55 cars are great up until 80k-90k miles. After that you're in for some serious money to keep them running properly. It gets old quick when your $15k car consumes $5k a year in maintenance..

rob-2 03-03-2019 04:04 PM

My issue appears to not be BMW's fault. 2 coils and 2 solenoids went bad. Replacing them, all problems resolved.

ChiHonda 03-05-2019 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by riceball777 (Post 24572797)


The e46 m3 has way way less usable power. It seams like you don’t lot the fact that the n54 has crazy low end power and power and crazy to in any gear. If you want a car with with power only in the upper rpms and you want a car where you need to be in the correct gear to accelerate then yes you want a high rpm all motor car like the s2000/e46m3/e90m3. You want a narrow power and car. You don’t want a car with a large usable power and like a 335i. Or really any factory 6 or8 cylinder turbo car.

i personally have a high power turbo s2000 as well as a e90 335I and I love the crazy low end to and the ability to accelerate hard at low rpms in any gear.

We’re basically in agreement on these cars. I’ll clarify one thing. My phrasing was clumsy. The E46 has more “usable” power in terms of street driving at least where I live which is suburbs. I mean I can use the power that it has. I don’t have open spaces of highway to really get into 450 lbs feet of torque or whatever it what was on N54. That’s like 200 more lbs feet than an the M3! It’s like all torque of the m3 and s2000 added together and then some. My n54 was an absolute monster and I totally get the appeal.

bzammitt 03-06-2019 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by dv55xc (Post 24572778)
A small update for those who have been following this thread:

I have been looking for a used BMW 135i or 335i for a few weeks now. At his point I have decided to give up sticking with the n54 only and included both n54 and n55 in my search. It is incredibly difficult to find a car that matches my criteria locally and in neighboring states. Here is an example of what I'm looking for:

My ideal 135i/335i coupe:

Model year: 2010
Trim:135i
Exterior: White
Interior: Red
Transmission: Manual (NO auto/double clutch)
Packages/ Features: M sport pack and navigation
Mileage: 80k and below
Title status: Clean


Now let's list what I am willing to take if I don't find my preferred spec.

What im willing to take:

Exterior: Any color
Interior: Red or Black
Model year: 2010 - 2013
Transmission: Manual (no auto/ double clutch)
Trim:135i or 135is, 335i or 335is
Packages/ Features: M sport pack or sport pack, and navigation (if possible)
Mileage: 80k and below
Title status: clean

I've had zero luck so far in my searches. If this continues through May or June I might have to look for another car. I started a back up plan just in case things don't work out. Im currently talking to a dealer who has 2 new 2019 CW ctr's on the lot. They offered me one of them with a $2k mark up but I think I can do better. We'll see how things work out in the coming weeks.

Thanks again for all the advice and insight

Closest I could find in a few mins
http://atcm.co/S2PVDP/1db6e53c


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