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Best Bang for your Buck, if you're committed. by EnergyMonkey from Denver on 04/04/2010. Trim: 1990 BMW 325i, Owned 2 years.
Pros: A 325i/is with a cared for engine will still get from 0-60 in around 8 seconds. It makes a good noise too. The car corners like its on rails and is alot of fun to toss around. The interior and exterior quality is very good, I have 163k miles and the paint is starting to fade but still alright, the interior has held up very well but there are a few cracks on the dash (common issue) and a few rattles. For a 20 year old car nothing unexpected has happened. You can do several repairs yourself and find help thanks to the good sized fan base these cars have. The M20 engine in the 325i/is is very reliable and pretty much bulletproof. And despite its unusual proportions, it's a pretty/timeless car.
Cons: No cup holders, the dashboard tends to crack, repair costs, idling issues, leaks. One of the most apparent annoyances when you step inside is the lack of cup holders. The dashboards do tend to crack on these cars but its fairly easy to replace yourself. Cause of its age it has had its fair share of repairs (exhaust (rusted out in places), catalytic converter, diff gasket and seals, steering rack, and brake pads and rear rotors). The most recent repair was the differential axle seals which ended up being an $800 with labor (these are harder to replace than they look). Repairs are expensive unless you're willing to do them yourself, parts can be pricey if they are OEM replacements.
Overall review: I only paid $2000 for my "Ultimate Driving Machine" and honestly its the best bang for your buck. In terms of driving enjoyment, performance, design, and reliability its a bargain. It's no modern day 3-series or M3 but it still performs pretty well for its age. You have to be COMMITTED to take care of one of these cars, if you keep up with its usual maintenance (oil changes, spark plugs, timing belt and water pump (do this every 4 years or 60k miles) etc.) it'll last well beyond 200k miles. More major repairs will come up but this is the same for any car 20+ years old. Yes the repairs can be expensive unless you do it yourself which is why I gave a 7 for recommending it to others...But the short comings are well worth it when you find yourself on a twisty mountain road to play on. This is a driver's car, an enthusiast's car...if you just want a car that'll get from A to B, then you should probably look for something else.
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