Originally Posted by ilikebmxbikes
Awesome looking Mazdaspeed3 and Golf.
I was considering an EvoX, a WRX Sti, e46 m3, 335i and 135i before I got my car.
I knew whichever car I purchased, I would modify. No question there. Both WRX, EVO, 335i and 135i are very easily tuned. The N54/n55 cars have a bit of a leg up over the STI/EVO because they are larger engines and are detuned from the factory. I have friends with STI/EVO's that are absolute beasts but they are not as reliable or comfortable as the BMWs.
I love WRX and EVO's but ultimately decided on getting a BMW because I didnt want to get a car I would grow out of. Every once in a while I have to drive clients and the bmw is much more appropriate for that.
Choosing a car out of the 135i, 335i and E46 M3 was a bit more difficult. I love M cars and had always wanted an E46 Since they came out. I decided against the M3 as it was an older car and lacked the warranties available on the 335i and 135i.
I chose not to get a 335I because of the size of the car. It is a gorgeous car but it is quite huge.
I ended up purchasing an 08 135i with 20k miles on it and 1.5 years of warranty. Almost 2 years later, the car has 36k miles on it and has been very reliable and had no issues at all.
I will be honest, the 135i has been a great fun car which has had tons of mod potential, but it hasn't been cheap to get the car to perform to its potential. Looking back, I probably would have been just as pleased with the e46 m3 and likely saved quite a bit of money in the end but I really have enjoyed the process of building my car and 1addicts is a very good forum overall with a solid community of people.
Coming from your GTI, you will not be disappointed at all with the 135i.
Both the N54 and N55 have their advantages. It really boils down to what you want to do with the car. If you want a dependable car that you just want to lightly modify over stock I would suggest an N55 car. They are newer which means most have quite a bit on their warranties. If you are set on DCT, then an N55 will also be the car for you.
If you want more mod potential and/or have more of a limited budget, then an N54 car will be a better choice. With the n54, you will be getting an earlier year car, which will likely mean no warranty and possibly higher mileage. So maintenance costs will be higher. The n54 has a ton of tuning support which for many on here makes it the only choice.
You can't go wrong with either really.
Exactly all of this, I came to BMW cause I fell in love with the poster I had of the e46M3GTR. Decided turbos would be more fun and opted for an 08 because the previous owner had everything and gave me a steal of a deal. 24k miles with about 1.25 years left of warranty.
I will also reciprocate that the e46M3 would have been ready from the get go and I still stop and stare every time I see one that is well taken care of. For me, the previous owner had already done a couple mods that I would have done anyway like suspension so it really was a no-brainer decision at the time. But as far as reliability goes... my car had some gremlins to work out. The previous owner babied the car, and I have a tendency to drive my cars either at soft or at full tilt and my 1 definitely saw the local dealership more than road time because of it. I could list out the damage that the car incurred under warranty but it'd be easier to throw out that without warranty I'd have about 7k-10k worth of replacement parts. Now that the full set of original parts are pretty much gone(the only internals that held up were the drivetrain and combustion chamber of the engine). PM me if you want a list. Some of these cars are wonderful and some are drunken temperamental girlfriends with pretty faces. In my first year of ownership which was the 4th year of the car's life, the car spent at least 7 days of every single month at the dealership. Me and my SA know each other rather well now because of it and his farewell ended up becoming "Hope to see you soon, but not too soon" just because of the sheer number of times my car was there.
Now that everything has been fixed and my warranty went up last september, she's been an angel. So my warning to you, get one with at least 1 year left of warranty and drive the car at every single driving style that you have for several prolonged sessions. Then get used to the car's noises. Listen for roughness especially in the 2k rev range, that is the biggest indicator of issues with the car (I drive a 6MT, don't know if that'd change on a steptronic). Hearing odd noises helped my dealership fix a ton of seemingly small issues that turned out to be rather large ones.
Good news for you is if you pick an N54 or N55, the 135i, 335i, and maybe 535i with the same engine all share a lot of internal parts like downpipes (for power mods down the road). The maintenance of the e46m3 made me stay away from it and look at what ended up happening to me
. In the end, a sharp ear and loving your car is going to save you a huge headache down the road. GL with your decision!
I don't know about where you guys are, but my 135i also gets almost 0 heat. I have had a couple speed detectors aimed right at me where the cop just looked completely confused. No tickets to date and that's why I stayed out of the JDM scene. My old integra would get so much heat in comparison haha.