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2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

  1. #1
    Lifer reiobard's Avatar
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    2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions


    Wife and I are looking at convertibles for some summer fun with the kiddo (needs a back seat, so no Miata talk) I don't like Saab's, i owned one for about 15 minutes last year and it was not for me... I have been looking at 04-10 Audi A4's, but haven't found one that speaks to me yet. Drove a Solara, which was alright, but boring (other than the convertible part.

    The dealer that had the Solara also had a 2003 BMW 330CI Manual trans. that we drove for the heck of it since it was there... Holy crap, that is a nice car. felt, handled, and drove amazing. I have been scouring the interwebz all night trying to find something wrong with them so that i won't buy it. I read about the windo actualtors and water pump woes, but that isn't enough to deter me. Water pumps are cheap and look very easy to replace, so i will just replace those preventatively every couple years. Window motors are the same opinion if they fail.

    I figure i can count on you opinionated folks to be honest.

    Thoughts?

    2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions-bmw1-jpg2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions-bmw2-jpg2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions-bmw3-jpg

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    Last edited by reiobard; 03-19-17 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Lifer
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    Literally the worst car i have ever owned. At this point in their life they are just waiting for canbus and ecu troubles. I had a long line of bmws before that one and that exact car was the one that broke me. Crazy as hell to bring to a dealer and have work done which you will do eventually as very few indies have the software to go into the car itself. Maintence was equally expensive. Oil and filter was running me about $80 to do myself. The odd ball filter and special oil saw to that. Autozone was hit or miss on having any of those in stock so i usually ordered online.
    It was a nice car when i got but it wasnt that special after about a year. I ended up stepping back down to an e36 and havent regretted it for a second. I suggest hunting down a convertable e36 if you want something to love. Better build quality and can be made better than an e46 with little effort. Try looking for an older m3.

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  3. #3
    Lifer SprintPoser's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    How many miles on it? I think they're great until the odometer breaches 100K, at which point things like catalytic converters (all 4 of them) start to go.

    I had a 2002 530i and it was a GREAT car...until it got to about 110,000. All hell broke loose at 124,000 and I found a buyer willing to spend the $4400 it needed. That just got the mechanical stuff fixed, the on board navigation was not ever going to be worth fixing.

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  4. #4
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    I've owned a few BMW's. Control arm bushings and electrical gremlins plagued all of them at some point.

    Fantastic cars to drive. You just have to be okay with the repairs bills associated with them.

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  5. #5
    Get Weird! maxim_X's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    What Bergs said. I've got my 4th now, '03 325, '03 x5, '06 330, '011 135i. You can't beat the way they drive, but as the miles go up, expect to have some repairs. Obviously I think it's worth it, but it's not my only car and I'm biased. Plus how many car are available these days with RWD, near 50/50 and 6 speed manual?

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  6. #6
    Lifer reiobard's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    130K miles, one owner, and dealer maintained, with records. Last maintenance inspection was at south shore BMW 500 miles ago in October. All fluids changed and flushed 5,000 miles ago.

    I am leaning towards yes on it, the maintenance records, and seeing the service intervals/Miles in the service report. I can tell that it was parked in the winters. It will also be an extra vehicle, so if anything does need repairs, i can take my time and do the work myself for most things to avoid dealer labor costs.

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    Last edited by reiobard; 03-19-17 at 08:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    Front lower control arm bushings (LCABs) will need doing, and probably rear trailing arm bushings (RTABs). A home mechanic can do both of these though. Make sure the rear sub-frame isn't beat to shit, this was a design flaw that BMW addressed later.

    Cooling systems are awful, everything is plastic -- water pump, radiator etc. Plan on replacing that during your ownership.

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  8. #8
    BMW track whore e30addict's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    You can upgrade the cooling system too when it needs to be done.

    Parts prices are a little up there sometimes, but if you can do your own work the extra cost is worth the reward of driving them.

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  9. #9
    Lifer Fitz's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    No experience with the '03 but my experience with the e90 platform ('07 335xi) has been solid. ~150k+ on the odometer. No issues thus far(although it will need control arm bushings this summer).

    Fitz

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  10. #10
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    I owned a '04 and it was probably my favorite car to date. The responses above address some of the weak points but once repaired, you are good to go. I always did my own maintenance and parts were reasonable and it is a super easy car to work on where maintenance and repairs are very logical IMO. I sometimes help others with their cars and never turn down a chance to work on a e46 cause it's always been enjoyable with minimal swearing. If your handy and stay ahead of the problems, go for it as they aren't much more expensive than other cars assuming you stay ahead of the problems. If you pay somebody to do your maintenance that's another story not unlike other luxury vehicles. When I stop buying motorcycles and get back in the market for a toy car, I plan to buy another.

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  11. #11
    Lifer
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    Couple weird things on my dad's car that he still will not let go to this day: Sometimes wonky sensor for the HVAC, not a super easy fix, but a cheap part and a little contortion to replace. Rear springs tend to crack, again a DIY is easy as any other car. I think what all of us are saying is that if you're capable of your own repairs, great.. if you're at the mercy of a shop, hopefully you have a good hookup. That year of BMW (my dad's) left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth since a lot of those things went out after warranty, and the dealership really bent them over on it. I wish I could be there to just do it all for them. It is getting a bit older, so expect to change some of the rubber gaskets eventually like the valve cover gasket, maybe oil pan gasket. I'm never afraid of mileage, since if you can get in front of it you'll be fine. I have an 08 535xi and I'm running it past 140K with only little problems like the dry gaskets and a few small repairs that I still would consider regular maintenance. You'd be surprised at how simple things just take a buttload of time to take apart.. like say.. changing a lightbulb.

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  12. #12
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: 2003 BMW 330CI Convertible Opinions

    they are not as simple as they used to be in the days of the E21 and E30

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    RandyO
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