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Slippery
Slippery UberDork
4/21/21 8:02 p.m.

Honestly, with a $10k budget I would put a down payment on a new gen BRZ or the Toyota equivalent and just have fun. 

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
4/21/21 9:30 p.m.

My research indicates you should avoid E46 with SULEV motor($$$gas pump). Look for 330. 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
4/21/21 10:10 p.m.
dyintorace said:
02Pilot said:

If it's going to be a toy/discretionary use car, then the 1-series is an option - I didn't mention it before, as I wasn't sure what you wanted to do with it. It's on the same platform as the E90, so lots of 3-series bits fit, including the suspension. My 128i is astonishingly capable on a lowered M3 suspension; that's the configuration I would suggest if you want to autox or use on the track. The turbo 135i is popular but the engine's reliability scares me. 1-series cars are not common, but these days tend to be more likely to be enthusiast-owned.

I'd love to compare notes about the 128i. I love ours! It came with a boatload of upgrades, which make it a really great car. 

Mine only had the springs and dampers changed; I added the M3/1M suspension bits. Other than that it's bone stock, but it's a perfectly-spec'd car (M-Sport, Black Sapphire Metallic over Terra leather, manual sport seats, no iDrive) and it came with a large folder full of records since new, which as any BMW owner knows is worth its weight in gold. Right now I'm struggling to track down a driveline noise/vibration issue, but other than this ongoing problem it's been pretty trouble-free for the ~4 years I've had it. Great cars.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/22/21 8:13 a.m.
Slippery said:

Honestly, with a $10k budget I would put a down payment on a new gen BRZ or the Toyota equivalent and just have fun. 

I admit I'm curious about them.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/22/21 9:11 a.m.
Jerry said:
Slippery said:

Honestly, with a $10k budget I would put a down payment on a new gen BRZ or the Toyota equivalent and just have fun. 

I admit I'm curious about them.

I've already called all the Toyota dealers in town and told them to call me when they are going to start accepting downpayments/pre-orders for the new GR86. 

Go drive a 1st gen. Then imagine more power/torque, with no real weight gain (15 lbs), and stickier tires stock. PS4S vs the eco tires from the European prius.

I just hate that I'll be waiting another 6 months or so.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/22/21 11:21 a.m.

I'm going to go with 128i also.  I love mine.  I've been told that they are competitive too in class, but it's a nice driver and a few mods make a big difference.  In the 3 years I have had mine it has only needed an o2 sensor and a fuel pump.  Also, make sure you check that its not the ultra low emission cars for CA.  They did sell them in other states too when those had shortages.  The CA guys got the N51, the rest N52.  The SULEV will appear on the data tag.  Avoid this and go for the M Sport if possible.  You get better suspension bits, sport seats and different wheels.  I keep thinking I need a new daily driver, but I can't imagine what I would replace it with that would be so enjoyable.  Now I find myself looking for another M Sport to build something crazy out of.  

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
4/22/21 12:18 p.m.

I really liked the 128i I drove. It’s like a newer E30. But better in my opinion due to the faster steering.

Ive owned several BMWs and driven many more. Lovely driver’s cars for those with a masochist streak ($$$ maintenance).

Id be looking at Miata and Mustang GTs from IRS era if it were me. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/22/21 12:43 p.m.

In reply to Jerry :

PM sent.  If you didn't get it, hit me at ...jwelsh02...yahoo...

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/22/21 1:52 p.m.
racerdave600 said:

I'm going to go with 128i also.  I love mine.  I've been told that they are competitive too in class, but it's a nice driver and a few mods make a big difference.  In the 3 years I have had mine it has only needed an o2 sensor and a fuel pump.  Also, make sure you check that its not the ultra low emission cars for CA.  They did sell them in other states too when those had shortages.  The CA guys got the N51, the rest N52.  The SULEV will appear on the data tag.  Avoid this and go for the M Sport if possible.  You get better suspension bits, sport seats and different wheels.  I keep thinking I need a new daily driver, but I can't imagine what I would replace it with that would be so enjoyable.  Now I find myself looking for another M Sport to build something crazy out of.  

If I had known before I bought my 135i that the 128i responded to mods so well, I may have gone that direction. CyberEric is correct, it feels like a modern E30 with more power. I loved my 135i until it started making very expensive sounding noises that sounded like a rod bearing or something in the DCT, so I ditched it.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
4/22/21 2:05 p.m.
wake74 said:

Owned a few E36s (currently down to just the track car), an M52 swapped 318ti and an E46 M3.  I would say that for $10k, you currently won't find anything better than a beater E36 M3.  2-3 years ago, $10k would have gotten you a decent example..  Hard to find anything that hasn't been beat on, salvage title, etc. for less than $15k on the E36 M3 front.  Lots of escalation there.

An E46M3 is out in that price range, unless maybe you are willing to take an SMG convertible.  The S54 is just a fantastic engine though.  The pinnacle of 30 years of BMW I6 development. 

The track car is (was) a '96 328.  Had 250k miles on it, when I bought it, it's been flogged for the last few years, and has damn near perfect compression and leak down.  Turned more Hp on  a dyno with 250k miles (with an off the shelf tune) that it had new.  It's more M3 now (engine swap, all four corners, cross members, 3.64 LSD, GC coil-overs, etc).  Its hard to complain about that kind of reliability.

I feel the interior quality of the E46 is a big step up from the E36.  If I was going to use it as a street car, occasional daily driver, occasional track car,  I'd go E46.  For $10k, I like the E46 ZHP example mentioned above if you can find a clean one in that range.  Escalation has really kicked in on E36s and E46s lately.

Just re-quoting this for correctness based on my 20 year experience with a wide variety of BMWs. 

Only additional ad would be to try and find a 128i manual car. Still silky straight 6, e36m3 power/weight, with the e90 interior. Seems like a perfect mix at a great value if you can find one. I have not ever driven one but they were on my shortlist of drivers BMWs with the newest interiors. 

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
4/22/21 2:53 p.m.

This is our 128i M-Sport. 6-speed, manual seats, no iDrive, plus tons of bolt ons. Coilovers, intake, headers, exhaust, etc. I absolutely love it!

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
4/22/21 2:55 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/22/21 3:14 p.m.

I haven't done a ton of research on 3-series lately, but a few years ago if I were buying a fun, reliable Bimmer in that price range I would have looked for an E46.

I have owned an E30 cabrio and a clapped out E36 coupe.  The cabrio had a fair amount of work done to it; suspension and lightweight wheels mostly.  It was a pure driver's car.  It wasn't quiet, it wasn't overpowered (mine was a 325i which was something like 170hp-ish), the transmission ratios were spot on.  It made beautiful noises, carved corners, and was a hoot to drive.  The E36 (granted, it was heavily aged) was boring.  Heavier, floppier, and just overall not as fun.

The E46s I've driven have been fun, but more like a luxury car that was made to perform as opposed to the tight little noisy brick of a sports car that the E30 was.

I don't believe I've driven any newer generations.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/23/21 11:47 a.m.

In reply to dyintorace :

Nice!  Tell me about the wheels?  I was leaning about replacing mine with a set of 135i rims, but I like those quite a bit.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
4/23/21 12:00 p.m.

An E30 is really a vintage experience at this point. My opinion is that this is also up there where it's old enough to be different and cool. My E30 never seemed as cool as my 2002, but from here in 2021, buying an E30 seems much closer to a 2002 than it does to an E90, or F or G car.

So... How much old-car stuff are you willing to deal with? How much power and grip do you want, and how much tinkering do you want to do? I'd love another E30 and would take one over most of the later options if my heart were leading, but I'd also want an M52 swap and a Z3 steering rack, and I almost wouldn't bother if I couldn't do those things. Not that a stock 325is is painfully slow, but it was just better with a moderate but substantial bump in power and breadth of torque.

So an E30 is going to want... stuff. Even if you don't swap the engine, it's going to want attention; like partial-restoration attention. $10k will get you something quite nice, but not something that's had every mechanical system rebuilt in the last five years. While an E46 or E90 can probably be found with just deferred maintenance type stuff.

All this blithering to try to underscore the fact that "3 series" covers a very, very different range of experiences. Having some idea of what appeals will narrow things a bunch.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports HalfDork
4/23/21 12:24 p.m.

In reply to dyintorace :

Also interested in hearing how much more power you squeezed out of it

Jcamper
Jcamper Reader
4/23/21 12:51 p.m.

I paid 10k for an E30 race car ready to go. Lots of folks running these things keep them street legal. Reliable, fast, fun. Jcamper

 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/23/21 1:30 p.m.

Someone shared a reasonably priced 2008 128i manual that isn't more than a short day trip away & from exterior/interior photos looks very nice.  Now I'm curious about 1 Series, and re-reading all of your comments.  I do appreciate enablers here.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/23/21 3:09 p.m.
Placemotorsports said:

In reply to dyintorace :

Also interested in hearing how much more power you squeezed out of it

IIRC, if you do the intake, intake manifold, header full exhaust and tune you can wring another ~40 or so hp out of the car.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/23/21 4:53 p.m.
Jerry said:

Someone shared a reasonably priced 2008 128i manual that isn't more than a short day trip away & from exterior/interior photos looks very nice.  Now I'm curious about 1 Series, and re-reading all of your comments.  I do appreciate enablers here.

Which one of you guys bought this out from under Jerry? devil​​​​​​

I admit, I thought it would be gone before the day was over...

 

In just a few short days, Jerry, you might be able to find the same one, asking $8k...ha.  Sad but true.  

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/24/21 8:58 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

$4000?!?! Crashed or stolen or automatic or some combo of the above?

A few months ago, I almost bought my buddy's 2009 135i manual no iDrive, but it was not a sport package. We were talking $9500 for a car with under 80k.

next weekend I'm picking up a 2010 328i manual sport no iDrive also under 80k from a different friend, for $9000.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
4/24/21 9:48 a.m.

Has GRM done a buyers guide on BMW recently?  With all the 1, 2, 3 & 4 series cars now it is something that is really needed.  

cyow5
cyow5 Reader
4/24/21 10:11 a.m.
z31maniac said:
Placemotorsports said:

In reply to dyintorace :

Also interested in hearing how much more power you squeezed out of it

IIRC, if you do the intake, intake manifold, header full exhaust and tune you can wring another ~40 or so hp out of the car.

If you add the 3-stage manifold from a _30 and a tune, that alone is like 30 factory rated hp and not the fuzzier aftermarket breed of horses. Once you add the 3-stage manifold (if new), euro intake, and a full exhaust, you are creeping into centrifugal supercharger territory though. Still, something is to be said of keeping the nature of the car as it was, I guess. Personally, it's a dilemma. 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
5/24/21 7:40 p.m.

To resurrect this thread, there's a 2009 328i with 6 speed manual and 103k miles for $9k that's about 30 minutes away at a local dealer. All black, looks sweet from the photos.

Probably message tomorrow and see if it's still available. Should I be concerned?

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
5/24/21 9:11 p.m.

In reply to Jerry :

That price feels high to me, but I suppose anything goes in the current market. If you can get the VIN you may be able to get any dealer service history from BMW (cooperation varies from dealer to dealer - some will refuse unless you're the registered owner). Otherwise, start looking for evidence of work in the the problem areas: are the oil filter housing and valve cover gaskets leaking? If they're original, they are; if they aren't, someone's been maintaining it. Bring a good flashlight.

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