It’s not often I’m this negative oppo, but a little clarification. I’ve recently come into the ownership of a dirt cheap E46 330i Touring, as you do. I’m no stranger to dirt cheap cars, or the problems that need fixing to get them roadworthy. In chronological order, my daily drivers have gone as such: Alfa 156 (currently on 140k, 70k when I started), BMW E36 (bought for £300, 170k), Jaguar XJ40 (£1500, 140k), Citroen BX (£255, 170k), MG F (£150, 140k). Yeah. No stranger to fixing cheap, old cars.

However, this E46 has pissed me off.

This is what a nice one looks like. Mine is not a nice one. Imagine this with a lot of stone chips, scratches, dents, the occasional rust bubble and some slightly dodgy aftermarket wheels.

It’s just about to fail its MoT today due to lights on the dashboard caused by a faulty steering angle sensor. It’s £50-150 to replace, depending on whether I want used or new. Why does it have a sensor to measure the steering angle? Utterly needless complication. Yes, I know it uses it for traction control. Something else that is utterly needless complication when really all you need to do is not drive like a prat.

So, I think I’ve come to the realisation that I have pretty much zero interest in owning a car that’s ~post-2000. It’s sort of something I already felt, but this has clarified it. Here’s a list of all the things that are non-existent, or at least rarer in cars that are pre-2000.

1. Needless sensors that cost an arm and a leg to replace, but will cause MoT-failing lights when they go.

2. Related to the above, multiple O2 sensors. They’re pricey and often fail at the mileage I buy cars at. Most are a real bugger to get to. I could do without 3 of them to replace.

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3. Interlinked electronics systems, such that if you want to do something fun like swap in a manual gearbox or ITBs there’s a whole load more work that needs to be done to get things

4. Un-cancellable traction control.

5. Fakery. Fake exhaust tips, fake exhaust noise, fake vents (malaise era excluded). Just general extraneous crap that clutters up design.

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6. Engine covers. ‘Hey guys, wouldn’t it be fun to put an extra thing in the way of someone who wants to change his spark plugs! Yeah great idea Gerald, this is why we pay you’. Screw you Gerald.

7. The feeling that you’re driving in a pillbox. Sat in an Audi A5 once. No wonder your average Audi driver is a dickbag. You feel like you’re in your own personal tank, and everything happening around you is sort of happening on a screen you’re looking at, rather than actually happening 5ft away from you.

8. Overlapping interior trim panels. Another E46 irritation. To get at the headlining (to change the sunroof mechanism), you have to take off nearly all the interior trim panels down to the floor because they’re all overlapping the fixings. Needless irritation.

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9. Not just weight but girth. Yes cars are heavy nowadays which means you need more power to go just as fast so they’re more expensive to run, and just think about how fuel efficient a modern car engine would be in something that’s ~1000kg. However, that’s not the whole problem. Modern cars are huge physically, with comparatively little interior space.

10. Grumble grumble get off my lawn I don’t like change. Especially when it’s not very much change at all from a £50 note for a sensor that doesn’t exist on any of the other cars I’ve ever owned and they’ve done fine without it.

tl;dr: cheapskate complains about unexpected repair cost on 170k mile car ;)