Unique Cars - - BUYER GUIDE -

So­phis­ti­cated en­gines need proper main­te­nance. Even a cheap E46 needs to come with ser­vice his­tory, other­wise the re­pair bills could quickly be­come ex­pen­sive. If the VANOS sys­tem hasn’t been re­cently re­placed (within 40,000km) keep $3000 aside. Over­heat­ing and head gas­ket fail­ure have killed many BMWs and re­plac­ing a warped or cracked head and cool­ing sys­tem com­po­nents can gen­er­ate bills be­yond $8000. Check the en­gine oil and un­der the filler cap for coolant con­tam­i­na­tion and lis­ten for hiss­ing or gur­gling from the cool­ing sys­tem af­ter driv­ing. In a man­ual car back off sharply in sec­ond gear to hear any drive-line thumps and floor the throt­tle at 30-40km/h in top to re­veal clutch slip. The five-speed au­to­matic should up­shift with­out jerkng.

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