If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

Sold my E46 - Now I'm kinda hating myself - Why?

Bought a 2002 BMW 330ci Coupe, 5MT, fully loaded with 130,000 miles 3 years ago. Now, 3 years later, with 161,000 miles, I sold it.

Now I feel a little bad kinda really bad about it.

Bought 3 years ago, this 2002 BMW 330ci coupe was a bit of a revelation. The clutch was great, the 5sp was crisp, the 230HP seemed all accounted for in the NA 6 cyl engine. Steering on point - the best BMW had before going the way of the Borg. Interior was good, and all buttons worked. Every drive would always be enjoyable except on the occasional trip to the SF hills, where bad drivers and bad timing sometimes would result on a burned-out-clutch-maneuver here and there. It came with OEM, Nav, Tech and Winter packages so it looked modern and was better equipped than most E46 M3's. It was 80% of an M3 with better economics.

Yeah, it also had its share of common Teutonic issues in the last 3 years- Door needed a new lock actuator mechanism, but I fixed this. The sunroof wasn’t working, left it as-is, and the ‘running too lean’ code asking for engine service would show up for one day each week. Some audio cabling would occasionally make the speakers buzz for a few seconds. Also, it could’ve used a respray in the front bumper and some new trim parts that I had. Other than that, solid and good and good looking.


Car performed well during its 3 years with me. Total cost of fixes over 3 years was $1,488 - Mostly a set of cheap tires + a “common” refresh of the coolant system (water pump, thermostat, hoses, coolant tank) + tune up + door actuator + front brakes done 6 months ago. This car was my Daily Driver for the last 3 years. First BMW that made understand the love for a good performing Bimmer. Now I get it. Now I would love an E46 M3 at first sight.


But my car fleet has been growing despite the lack of work/income - and the BMW was fully paid and easy for a quick sell. Wife doesn’t drive stick, and kids won’t fit back there either. Even if it was the most solid player in my car fleet, it could not do multi-duties. So, to CL it went, and there it languished from the initial price I wanted ($6,500) starting 3 months ago. Slowly cutting the price by $300 every 2 weeks, until the best offer came at $4,500 yesterday. Ebay and CL pricing showed that it was an acceptable price despite my own pricing visions...and off it went.

Circle of life. Good cars should also be part of the big marketplace. I keep telling myself.


I hate selling good cars that are good to me. If the economics were more stable, it would have stayed, no doubt. Be something to pass on your family. I really hate myself when I do sell a great car. Car was always awesome to me and helped me rebuilt my fleet. At least it went to someone who had a BMW Z4 before and wanted another 5sp BMW. After money exchanged hands and papers were signed, the (10 yrs younger) guy mentioned his first thing to do is to replace the OEM Nav with something else. I winced a bit, but the car wasn’t mine anymore. The money will go to good use for sure, but I wish it didn’t take saying goodbye to my e46. Goodbye Champ!

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