At $2,400, Would You Get Around Town In This “Commuter” 2003 BMW 325i?

Illustration for article titled At $2,400, Would You Get Around Town In This “Commuter” 2003 BMW 325i?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice 325i claims it to be a “solid commuter.” That runs counter to the model’s general reputation, but with a modest price, could it all potentially balance out?

It was perhaps the early hour at which I checked the comments, or maybe I just tend to project my inherent laziness on all of you. Regardless, I was honestly surprised by the eagerness in those comments for yesterday’s 1987 Ford F250 dually diesel. At a mere $3,800, that work truck was working hard for the money and you rewarded the effort with a solid 88 percent Nice Price win.

It’s undeniable that the pandemic has changed the way many of us do actual work. The crazy-serious infection rate of the current coronavirus has closed down offices, restaurants and bars, and even massage parlors. For those not in close-contact jobs, that has meant transitioning from traditional offices to working from a laptop or iPhone while in jammies at home. The side effects of this shift have included less traffic during rush hours and a drop in air pollution in most major cities. It’s also meant that the effort to sell a used car as a “commuter car” has gotten all the harder.

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Photo: Craigslist

The seller of today’s 2003 BMW 325i has positioned the little German sedan as just such a “solid commuter.” That’s an interesting take, not only because commuting these days feels like a risky extravagance, but also because the E46 is not considered to be one of BMW’s most durable nor reliable products.

That’s not to say this particular edition isn’t a solid citizen. After all, it is a clean-title car with 160,000 miles accrued, and the seller claims that it still “runs and drives good.”

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Photo: Craigslist
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It doesn’t look bad either. The black-painted factory five-spoke wheels are a personal predilection, but the car otherwise seems solid and without major mods. There likewise seem to be few issues with either the paint or trim other than some clear-coat clouding on the back bumper. The headlamps have been upgraded with aftermarket units and shine through laudably un-yellowed covers.

The interior is almost as nice. The leather wrap on the steering wheel is coming apart, as is the leatherette on the driver’s seat cushion. Both of those issues reveal the signs of use. There’s also something going on with that A-pillar trim in the photo below. What’s up with that? Otherwise, it seems to be a pretty nice place to sit and get your “news on the 10s” during these hypothetical trips you might take as a commuter.

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Photo: Craigslist

Power here is provided by a 2.5-liter edition of BMW’s M52 straight-six. That 184 horsepower mill is bolted to a five-speed automatic, which is another bonus if your primary use for the car is going to be slogging through traffic. The seller says the car’s history is accident-free, and that its future is with a new owner. All the seller asks is for $2,400 in exchange.

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As I noted, a used E46 can lead to a world of woe as the fragile cooling system parts age out of their jobs or common parts like electric window winders give up the ghost. For someone who’s brave enough, or capable enough with a wrench, the model’s shortcomings can be addressed. The E46 itself is a handsome and right-sized sedan that, when running right, should fulfill that commuter claim adroitly.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The question, of course, is whether this one might be worth rolling the dice on at that $2,400 asking. What do you think, does that seem to be a fair deal for this little Bimmer? Or, are your eventual commuter needs going to require something cheaper or more assuredly reliable?

You decide!

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Orange County, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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DISCUSSION

factoryhack
factoryhack

This one has a vibe of “I know about something really expensive that’s about to break and I’m getting the hell out. “

A thorough PPI by an E46 expert is the only way to kinda know if a seemingly pocket change E46 is really just pocket change, or, a very bad trip down the financial/mechanical rabbit hole.

I give it a slight NP at $2,400, assuming nothing horrible needs immediate attention.