mikeatrpi HalfDork
6/10/19 6:46 p.m.

I'm casually searching for my next daily.  WWGRMD?  


2004 ZHP sedan, 113k miles, $8990

2006 330i sedan, 102k miles, $6200


This is New York FYI, so besides corrosion what should I know when comparing the two?

CyberEric HalfDork
6/10/19 6:49 p.m.

I lean E46 but maybe more important is a full maintenance history with receipts.

02Pilot SuperDork
6/10/19 7:26 p.m.

Yeah, records above all else. The E90 is a bigger beast than the E46. The M54 and N52 share a lot of characteristics, with the M54 being a bit more fragile but easier to work on. The real question to my mind is size - the E90 will feel closer to the E39 in size than to the E46. Of course, my totally biased answer is to look for an E82, but that's not to everyone's taste. What kind of usage do you envision? How much size do you need?

cbaclawski New Reader
6/10/19 8:49 p.m.

I have both, a 2004 e46 330i - not a zhp but has zhp motor, and a 2011 e92 m3 - besides the obvious 330i vs m3(which is even supercharged) I have a couple comments on the models generically.

1. The 10hp power difference between the ZHP and regular 330i is a myth.  The ZHP motor is a replacement motor for a regular m54 in my car so I have driven both, and there really is no meaningful difference.  Check the dyno thread on e46 fanatics if you don't believe me!

2. Despite #1, I do love the e46, it feels much smaller than the e92, and it's everything you could ask for in a "sporty" but not overly powerful sedan.

3.  The e92 interior is a HUGE upgrade from the e46.  It still feels pretty modern.  The e46 is a perfectly nice place to be(or it used to be before I cut it all out), but you won't mistake it for a new car...



mikeatrpi HalfDork
6/11/19 8:23 p.m.

Going to see the 2006 tomorrow.  Carfax shows the waterpump, battery, tires, and some airbag computer and parts were replaced.  Still the original clutch.  Wish me luck!


'02 - I really think I need the sedan and four doors, for the family.

02Pilot SuperDork
6/11/19 9:01 p.m.

Know that the suspension on the E90 can be replaced pretty easily, with M3 control arms if you wish. That plus rear subframe bushing inserts will transform the handling. It will likely be quite worn out after 13 years, so you can use it as a bargaining point, but it shouldn't dissuade you from buying the car if everything else lines up.

skylarhagler New Reader
6/12/19 11:54 a.m.

On the E90, check for leaks at the valve cover gasket, oil filter housing gasket, and oil pan gasket. All of them are prone to leaks on the N52. All are also DIY-able. Not fun or short jobs, but not terribly difficult.

nderwater UltimaDork
6/12/19 2:56 p.m.

If I was considering an E90 my choice would be a 335i. More maintenance, sure, but the turbo engines make these cars a heck of a lot more compelling--particular with an ECU tune.

codrus GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/13/19 5:45 p.m.

The E46 (M3 at least) drives a lot smaller and lighter than it actually is.  I've only driven an E90 a few times, but I didn't notice that attribute so much on it.


mikeatrpi HalfDork
6/13/19 8:44 p.m.

Alright - so I am the new owner of a 2006 BMW 330i!!!  Thanks for the advice!  Right now, it needs a good wash and wax, brakes, and an oil change - the perfect activity to get acquainted.  There's also an angel eye bulb that's out, but I found a video for that.  They say its easiest to go through the wheel-well.

cbaclawski New Reader
6/13/19 8:59 p.m.

In reply to mikeatrpi :



Aspen HalfDork
6/14/19 10:17 a.m.

Congrats and may the BMW gods smile on you.  I really enjoyed my E91, not so much the failed eccentric shaft sensor, but the rest was sweet.

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