I got a 06-model second-hand which has done a fair mileage - it's approaching its 40,000-mile service soon. Apart from the sat-nav throwing the normal odd wobbly, and the 'random windows', it has been perfect on the reliability front.
It drives superbly, with lots of power, although the gearchange can be a bit clunky on first to second when cold. Even the plastic 'wood' looks classy (I was in a friend's top-of-the-range Audi A8 the other evening - I preferred my car's interior).
With the heated seats and wind breaker, I have the roof down most of the time (much to my wife's annoyance). I don't think that I would want to ever go back to a non-convertible.
Performance is good once it gets going - but it is not a Porsche. However in the right gear there is more than adequate power for overtaking on country roads. However it does hit the red line very quickly, necessitating a change up when overtaking.
I am a bit disappointed with economy (around the 36mpg mark even on a long trip) - perhaps because I always have the top down causing wind restriction, or perhaps it will be a bit better after the service.
I can recommend it unreservedly.
Both my wife and I drive the car for leisure rather than day-to-day commuting and, given our very different approaches to driving, it's a credit to the car that we both have such satisfaction from it.
It drives beautifully, although it doesn't have a sporty drive; it's more a refined, well-mannered cruiser.
I'm very impressed with the tyre wear; the rear tyres lasted over 25,000 miles and the front ones still have life in them at nearly 40,000 - a credit to the balance of the chassis.
Build quality is hard to fault; everything has a solid feel and there are no creaks or ageing problems worthy of mention.
The 2.0-litre engine struggles a bit to pull away, but once motoring it comes into its own; it's smooth, refined and has reasonable mid-range pull.
I have some issues with the gearbox (it's baulky from cold, especially in 1st/2nd). There is some wind noise from the roof at speed but it is superb with the top down and the wind deflector in place - there's very little buffeting, even at speed, barely enough to disturb my wife's hair - most essential!
I've had the car now for 2 years. Its a 2004 325Ci in M Sport Guise. So far its been a problem free experience. There are 1 or 2 rattles from the roof but nothing thats irritating. The build quality generally is wonderful and is backed up by that BMW/German chunky solid feel inside and out. There are also many little neat touches that enhance your ownership experience too.
Running costs are to be expected, though I would advise contacting different Dealers as I saved £200 on a Service 2. Tyres were initially scarey until I found a new set on ebay which saved me over £60 per tyre.
Overall I'm over the moon with the car, from the outset I'd always wanted an Audi A4 but after driving both it was the 3 Series for me. The overall comfort and ability won me over.
I'm looking forward to many more years of motoring bliss with my 3 Series convertible and then I'll perhaps take a look at the slightly more portly E93 Convertible. Its just not the same.
This is our third E46 cabrio, and the fifth in our family. This last of the line 330cd replaces a 2004 318ci, which replaced a 2001 330ci. The diesel is strong and quiet, returns about 40mpg, even when driven hard and is pretty quick in the mid-range.
The car is used as a second family car for the school run, my wife's commute to the office and family summer holidays. My wife was initially very wary of having a high powered rear-wheel-drive car (the 330ci was mine, the 318ci which replaced it, hers), but ten minutes with a salesman in a dealer demonstrator on a deserted and large roundabout convinced her that the DSC is effective in keeping it on the road in the face of total abuse and/or complete incompetence.
Build is very good, but this car, as all the others, still suffers from occasionally random windows whilst the roof is being lowered or doors are being opened. Otherwise it is rattle and bump free.
Service is very good with both UK dealers I have been to, hence the reason the car(s) are/were always serviced when on holiday in Cornwall or Worcester rather than locally here in Italy.
If you are considering one of these, they are usable as a family car (if you have small children), fun to drive, refined with the roof up and great with the roof down. I am sorry that they replaced it with a model with a folding hardtop roof, they don't seem so special, somehow.
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Amazing car, once driven, never forgotton, forget all the pretenders like BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK, they will never have the passion of a Porsche
I love this car! Handling is great, its fun to drive and even reasonably practical!