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At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?

Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The E46 Touring was the first 3-series wagon BMW officially imported into the U.S., and as today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 325i proves, it was one of the prettiest too. Let’s see if this estate is priced to make a lasting impression.

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Right now isn’t necessarily the worst point in history to try and sell a used car. There was after all that few milliseconds after a giant meteorite struck what is now the Yucatan peninsula, supposedly wiping out all the big dinosaurs and turning the little ones into birds. Arguably, that would have been a worse time.

Suffice to say, it’s tough trying to move the metal these days what with the global pandemic and all. But that’s not going to stop us from our judgment of the cars whose sellers are braving this unfriendly climate. It’s as well, not stopping the owner of the 2007 Acura TL Type S A-spec we looked at yesterday from asking a substantial $13,900 for the car.

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That seller based the price on the car’s rarity, but that didn’t impress many of you, and in the end, it went down in a hefty 69 percent Crack Pipe loss.

It’s not only the used car market that’s taken a dump of late. New car sales as well have driven off a metaphorical cliff into an abyss of unending sorrow. For some new cars that may be less of a big deal than for others since there may be more desirable older models that are on offer. And with the market in such shambolic shape, those cars should be appreciably cheaper now than they might have been just a couple of months back.

Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?

Take this 2004 BMW 325iT for example. This is not only a much prettier car than almost all of BMW’s current smaller offerings, but it’s also an estate—a body style the company has seemingly traded in for chunky and less wieldy Sports Activity Vehicles. With its 2494cc M54B25 inline-six, it’s also reasonably frugal for the marque. The seller even notes that the car will do high-twenties on the open road. That fuel-sipping 189 horsepower six is mated here to a five-speed automatic for fuss-free driving.

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One other place where this older BMW differs from its modern counterparts in wheel size. The factory Style 45s here are only 16-inches in diameter and wear tires with enough sidewall that you likely won’t be sacrificing your kidneys by driving it.

Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?
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The car comes to us in what looks to be Steel Blue Metallic over a black—probably leatherette—interior. The bodywork shows well in the pics, something that can likely be chalked up to it only having a modest 117K on the clock.

The seller does note a few minor boogers here and there, and the headlight covers do look a fright. Other issues to note are the scrape on the front bumper cap, a bit of loose rub strip on the driver’s door, and the typical greying of all the black plastic across the board.

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In contrast, the interior looks to be a right peach. The upholstery is undamaged and, in fact, looks almost as-new. Carpets and mats all seem to be in ready-steady-freddy shape too.

Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?
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Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?

The E46 cabin does suffer from a bit of digital-itus, with multiple one- and two-line readouts scattered across the dash. All of those here seem to be in working condition with no apparent dropped pixels. The only major question here is why the seller has the climate control set at a ridiculous 83° in the dashboard shot. What kind of wacko does that?

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The ad claims the car “runs and drives excellent,” and while the engine compartment isn’t the cleanest you’ll find, there’s nothing in there that looks amiss. Of course, by the E46’s era, BMW had started covering their engines in acres of unnecessary plastic.

Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?
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The covers aren’t the only plastic bits under the hood that we should consider. It’s true that the E46 has a lot of plastic components in the intake and cooling systems that degrade frustratingly over time. If you’re cool with keeping an eye on such things, then you should be all right.

According to the ad this 325iT carries a clean title and an accident-free history. It also carries a $3,900 asking price. As we discussed mere moments ago, hardly anyone is buying used cars at the present time. That’s especially true of private party cars like this. Do you want to go to some stranger’s house and get all up close and personal with all the tactile elements of a potential purchase? Nobody wants to drive home with a car and the coronavirus.

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Illustration for article titled At $3,900, Could This 2004 BMW 325iT Put You In The Mood For Some Touring?

Of course, precautions can be taken. You can mask, and demand that the seller do likewise. Wear gloves and shed your clothes into the washer immediately upon arrival home before hitting all the touchy bits of the car with a good soap and water scrub—while still masked and potentially hazmatted.

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That should go to great lengths to keep you safe from pretty much any microbial mischief and it’s a good way to get to know the car as well.

Before that, however, we need to decide if it’s even worth the effort. What do you think, is this E46 worth that $3,900 asking? Or, is that too much to go on tour in this climate?

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You decide!

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Seattle, WA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Doug S. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. 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

This is not just any E46. It is the special M56 SULEV version. The valve cover is a dead giveaway.

Why is this important? On the SULEV models, in addition to several other unique components, the fuel pump is integral to the fuel tank and cannot be replaced independently. When the fuel pump dies, you have to replace the entire fuel tank.

Why do I mention this? Because fuel pumps are widely considered preventive maintenance items on the E46. Any E46 at this age should have the fuel pump replaced preventively. On the E46 SULEV models, BMW extended the warranty on items like the fuel pump to 15 years/ 150k miles.

Which means this 2004 model is out of warranty, and is unfortunately a CP. Unless you enjoy replacing a fuel tank.

I don’t see any mention of this very important distinction by the seller, who almost certainly knows what he got.