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So I was wondering what everyone thought of the idea of getting a 320i. I'm likely to be in need of another car and am warry of getting another 02 because i'm in college and finances will not be that great. Is a 320i in good condition reliable at this point? Is this a car I should avoid given my financial circumstance? Any advice welcome....


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I just recently purchased a 320is for the winter, and parked my 2002 in the garage. The car has nearly 300km on it, but runs well.

Any car can be a good driver, as long as you find a good model. The reason I went with the 320is is that if I end up parting it out after the winter, I'll have some goodies (recaro, LSD, 5speed, big brakes).

In all honesty though. If you can't afford a 2002, you may not be able to afford a 320i. If you're a student, and low on funds, as much as I hate to say it, buy a Corolla. Last winter I had a 1992 4door Corolla. It was a good utility car, and surprisingly had decent get up and go for a 1.6l (it had twin cams). That thing gave me ZERO problems, and I bet would have run for another 100k without any.


1976 2002 - Mintgrun

1986 535i - Bronzit

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same $$, I'd buy the 2002--better & easier resale, and more you can work on yourself--presuming you do your own repairs.

Main drawback with a 320i is the Bosch Jetronic FI--it was a bit dodgy when new and it's getting harder to find someone to work on it who reallly knows what they're doing.

On the other hand, a 320 has more amenities than an '02, and the chances of finding a 320 in decent shape for less money than an '02 is better as they're less popular.

Something else to consider: an E30--either a (stick) 84-85 318 or an eta 325. Both are bulletproof, can be bought cheaply (especially 4 doors) and are great daily drivers. An 87 eta car is my winter driver and it just keeps on truckin', thus saving my '02s from the ravages of winter road salt.

As for Toyotas/Hondas/Mazdas--they're pretty troublefree, but parts are surprisingly expensive--I found that out with a couple of CRXs.


'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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I agree with Mike. An eta E30 might be your best bet. If smog check weren't an issue, I'd say get the 320i, yank the FI out and slap on a 2002 intake manifold and a Weber 32/36.

I have both a 320i with a 32/36 and an '86 325e and both are very reliable. The only issues with the 325 have been tranny-related, since it's an automatic.


BMWCCA #19290


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Guest Anonymous

The first car I owned was a 70 2002, the second was and 83 320i. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say the 320i was unreliable, but it was basically a POS compared to the 2002. It started falling apart pretty rapidly at 100,000 miles, and my biggest disapointment was the 1.8L motor was very anemic compared to our beloved 2002's. If you found a clean 320is or 323i sure that would be cool, but I don't ever see a 320i reaching the classic status of a 2002.

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I would caution you about e21's because the fuel injection parts are very expensive and to some are MUCH more complicated than carburetors on 2002's.

As others suggest, I would look at an e30 318i with Motronic fuel injection or look at an e30 325e.

E21's can be had cheaply and are very good, reliable cars if you want to work on them. Also, I think that the fuel injection is more reliable and can be easier to work on than a carburetor - but you won't get nearly as much satisfaction driving an e21 as you will a 2002.

I'd either buy another 2002 and spend the $$$ to get a decent one, or get an e30.

'79 & '80 Vespas, R75/6 + R90/6 (and a Triumph), '76 IH Scout II


'71 VIN: 2574356 - Nevada, Sunroof, RUST and a really nice '76

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