That’s right! The time has finally come! The first official addition to the TDRO garage has arrived… and it’s rather German.
Not only is it German, it’s nearly a classic. As you may have guessed by now if you follow me on social media (if you don’t, you really should), it is a BMW 325i. More specifically it is an E46 325i, making it one of the all time great BMW’s (at least in my mind). There are a number of reasons I chose this model and this particular car, but first let’s take a quick look at the E46 325i’s details.
The E46 325i began production in 2001, featuring a 2.5 liter straight-six blasting out a mind-bending 189 hp… okay, so maybe not so mind-bending after all. However, the car’s balance and cornering ability are what set it out as one of the all time greats. The combination of a well-balanced, rear-wheel-drive sedan with a manual transmission give the car a very sporty feel.
Okay so it’s no 812 Superfast and obviously, I haven’t chosen the 325 for its speed. While the M54 engine may not be particularly powerful by today’s standards, let’s keep in mind, this is a 16 year old car. In a sense, this car is nearly a classic. The E46 chassis was one of the last great designs before things began to uh… inflate. Modern cars are heavy and big. Lots of insulation. Lots of safety features. Lots of, well, everything. Not only has this made cars grow fatter and heavier, It has complicated in shrunk interiors. The E46 came just before this growth really began, and therefore doesn’t suffer the same weightiness. The doors are thin, the cabin is spacious despite the sedan’s compact design. The dash is simple, without too much clutter and gadgets to keep you from focusing on what you really need to.
At this point, you might be wondering, why not an M3? It has all the good looks and charm of the 325, but with the addition of a sixth gear and another 150 hp (nearly). The answer to that is simple. First of all, an E46 M3 in average condition costs about twice as much as a 325 or 330 in excellent condition. For the cost of an M3, I can get a 325 or 330 plus enough performance parts to make it considerably faster and better on track than the M3. When it came down to it, my choice between 325 and 330 came down to the best car available. Many (if not most) E46s on the used market have at some point been heavily modified and beaten to within an inch of its life by some guy who wears overpriced sports sunglasses and doesn’t know what heel-toe or throttle blipping is. Many of these cars probably have an ebay coffee-can muffler, a light-up shift knob atop a hacksawed off shifter lever and a “cold air intake” that sucks more mud and bugs into the intake than an anteater on Thanksgiving. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration, but not by much.
This particular 325i has under 100k miles, essentially one owner (in California) and is in unusually immaculate condition. There are of course, a few minor flaws, but they can all easily be addressed. Over time, I plan to do a massive array of performance mods which will hopefully result in a car which is as fast or faster around a track as a new M3, for around the cost of a fifteen-year-old M3. Currently the car is bone stock, but that hasn’t stopped me from having a bit of fun – which you will see very soon! Now, it’s time to start preparing to get on track!