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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi lads, I am an audi driver at present, but I am looking longingly at the E46 ci coupes. My current car is an A4 1.8T 163bhp so want more power, and preferably an auto as I am sick of changing gears.....it is a drag I can do without after nearly 30 years of driving.

So the question is - which is the best motor to go for in terms of reliability / problem avoidance?

Choices are 330ci, 330d, 325ci - I want the burble of the six so the 4 pots are out.

Is steptronic the only auto or is there a plain auto? I see some folk think the slushbox is unreliable, but surely it cant be that bad can it?

I would take a manual if I had to as long as the clutch is light and the shift smooth. Im sick of notchy gearchanges - a-la the Audi box. Its crap - and so is the clutch action (way too high bite, and common on all A4's)

So what do you guys recommend in the BMW stable? It will likely be a facelift model since I like the look of the lights better.
 

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Hi,

Iv got a 325 facelift model but to be honest if i could start again i would go for the 330d coupe without a doubt... I know some people may disagree but i took a friends out and found it lovely to drive and very quick... it drives so easy without any effort... you also get the benefit of good mpg and (it may not be your bag) but with a remap you will get even better mpg and amazing performance because of the torque!

With regards to reliability im my opinion as long as you get one with the service history and its been well looked after you cant go wrong.

I had a 225 Audi TT before my car so i was personally a bit disappointed in the performance of mine (tho it is a convertible with the hard top on so it weighs about 10 ton!!!!)

Like i say some people will disagree but hope it helps!! :)

Gary
 

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My personal view;

I had a 2001 325i Sport, 4 door from new, did 140k miles in it over 3 years. Used a lot of oil from new, 1 litre/1000 miles so within tolerances, never got any better or worse. Sweet as a nut, no issues apart from rear shocker bushes, otherwise just routine maintenance. Celebrated clocking the 140k miles by doing it at 140mph on the speedo, on a private test track of course.

I then had a 2004 330Ci Sport, did 120k miles over 3 years. Used less oil, but engine gruffer and less willing to rev, consistent with bigger displacement, a lot more torquier though. Had the coils go. Did put it into the barriers on the M42 one morning after a huge aquaplane moment, it was repaired, never handled the same again, but again no issues.

Would recommend both, erring towards the 330i over the 325i.

I have only driven the 330d over a weekend, brother had one, traded it for a new M3 back in 2002. Reckoned it was one of the worst decisions he made to swap such was his respect for the diesel. Reckoned it was great at everything, whereas the M3 was excellent at most things, if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
cheers mate, that is appreciated. I am especially interested in ex-audi drivers opinions since its relevent to my situation :)

I am torn between the 330i and 330d, and they are at the top end of my budget but do seem to be the best choice. I think a lot of folk have caught on to the amazing 330d engine and it keeps the prices up, where the 330i seems to be scary to some people and prices are lower. I dont mind a bit of extra road tax and the fuel consumption according to whatcar is about 7mpg better on the diesel model - not as much as I imagined!

Putting that with the high price of diesel, you pay £1 more per gallon for diesel, and only get 7 more miles, then it doesnt seem that good a deal - but probably the diesel motor wont dip too far down when getting a bit of a caning where the 330i could probably hit single digits lol
 

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I came from two Audi A4's to my first BMW in 2001, both good, just the BMW seems to be the car you want to be driving when you really want to drive.

For info, both the 325i (5 speed) and 330i (6 speed) averaged 27.9mpg from new to the time I moved on. That was a mix of motorway and back road fun.
 

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The steptronic is the only automatic BMW do, its good as you get both options in 1 gearbox. Not heard of any gearbox failures and 'problems'. I think generally the auto will get hammered less (as a generalisation) and that its best to avoid one that been owned by a boy racer type person, as they will have probably revved it up in 'neutral' and then slammed it into 'drive' etc.

Personally the only ones to look for IMO are highly spec'd 330i/330d models. Take both out for a drive and see how you get on.

(if you're comming from an Audi, look at every BMW as a blank canvass as nearly the whole car's tend to be a bloody costly optional extra if you want anything more than 4 wheels and a steering wheel, hence why so many identical models vary vastly between specifications)

Also, fwiw, it may be worth looking at the Alpina B3 3.3 models, you can get some at attractive prices and I'd have one in automatic over any 330i.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
cheers very much for all the input lads, I really appreciate it.

I did look at the alpina today, and it looks like a badboy! hmmmm - will have to keep trawling the autotrader then :)
 

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I've got a 330ci with the auto box...... 2001 model (E46)
Its great.....
Its also got the "M Sport" goodies (leather, sports seats, multifunction steering wheel, 19" wheels etc....)

Its my first beemer, after scoobies, focus ST, MR2 (mk2), couple of hot hatches......

The quality is first rate.

The auto is real easy (especially in traffic)

It really goes some when you cane it (and thats saying something after a chipped scooby)......

The ultimate driving machine? Maybe, maybe not, but its certainly close.....
 

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No brainer get a manual. The auto's always fail in fact the larger BMW forums have a poll on "when did your Step fail" (no reverse). The manual gearstick is perfectly placed in relation to driver, and with the sport suspension it's an awesome combo, if you like driving that is? Just change the [email protected] OEM g'box fluid to say Redline MTL/D4ATF blend. Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cheers lads. I absolutely hate changing gear - I want to be able to relax, but still be able to give it some if and when the opportunity arises. I really dont see why people get so hung up on manuals!

Why does it make a better drive? Seems to me not having to change gear yourself is one less thing to have to do in addition to concentrating on the road. It doesnt make you feel more involved, just gives you more to do, like if we had to hand-signal cos indicators were for lazy drivers.....driving isn't a job for me, its a pastime, but a lot of the time its a chore :)

Anyhoo, I have had a broad mix of manuals and auto's over the years and can think of no good reason to have a manual, and plenty of reasons to have an auto. Hopefully the car will be new enough to miss the problems with the older step boxes, and I will get a warranty with it so should be ok. I am still worried that the auto might let go since it obviously has happened to some folk and if I had to take a manual then I would, I just wouldnt be pleased about it, cos im sick of the notchiness of most modern manual cars especially when cold.
 

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I've got a 330ci with the auto box...... 2001 model (E46)
Its great.....
Its also got the "M Sport" goodies (leather, sports seats, multifunction steering wheel, 19" wheels etc....)

Its my first beemer, after scoobies, focus ST, MR2 (mk2), couple of hot hatches......

The quality is first rate.

The auto is real easy (especially in traffic)

It really goes some when you cane it (and thats saying something after a chipped scooby)......

The ultimate driving machine? Maybe, maybe not, but its certainly close.....

The big 6cyl 3 series are good from 0-60, but your chipped Scooby should be in a different league for speed, especially after 70mph ...... The Evo's and Suburu's usually hit 0-100mph within 10-13secs with ease.

My aunts new E90 330i auto gets reduced to a spec in the rear view mirror (on motorwar drag racing moments) of my C70 T5 once it gets the power down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
my god, I read the site mentioned earlier on the steptronic transmission failures. It really seems to be year 2000 models most affected but hits from 1997 to 2002 with 99 to 01 the worst ones. The box is made and supplied by GM of France - that says it all. Its a sealed unit and the reverse clutch snaps off quietly with no warning. Its not even on the official recall list but it should be.

If you read the full recall list then it would put you off getting a bmw at all. And that doesnt include the things they havent admitted to.

I must be honest and say the bmw forums seem chocka with faults compared to the audi ones, and I should maybe re-think the whole idea but I love the look of the ci coupe.

This is going to be a hard decision.
 

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Ask yourself why people around the world are going through the horrific logistical exeercise changing there auto's to manual not to mention the expense. Every BMW forum has a few attempting it at a cost averaging US$6,000 which is nearly 50% of the average used BMW in the U.S. Every auto driver in my local BMW car club who has driven my manual wishes they had bought one. Manuals have a price premium over auto's growing wider all the time. If you can find one grab it and there is no notchiness if you change to a better fluid.
 

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Look at it another way. More pretige and sporty cars with the bigger grunty engines generally have a some form of an automatic gearbox moving away from the traditional manual. Its quite clear when searching between manual and automatic. As a generalisation, the bigger the car and the engine, the more likely it is to be auto.

All the modern auto's I've had have been amazing, XKR, 996 Turbo trip (family toy), T5, E63 AMG (family wagon). My aunts new E90 330i auto seems to be quite responsive and performs well, but its not the same as bigger engines or turbo'd torque.

Its only in recent years that auto boxes have come along way, being very well refined and tuned to ensure they are a brilliant match to the engine etc. Its only still the basic small capacity cars that may have somewhat unshopisticated auto gearboxes.

Each to their own ............
 

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You all missed the salient point, he isn't buying a modern car but an E46 that could be 10 years old! Kinda makes a big difference. All E46 Steps fail, check the main BMW forums and see for yourself. There's talk of a class action lawsuit as well. Why buy into such an expensive problem?
 
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