Car Review : BMW 3 series E46 ~ Cars and Bikes
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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Car Review : BMW 3 series E46

The E46 automobile platform is the fourth generation of BMW's highly successful 3 Series entry-level luxury car / compact executive car. It was introduced in 1998 and replaced the E36 sedans the same year. The touring and coupé models appeared in 2000, and the M3 later in 2001. The E46 compact, a 3-door compact hatchback, was revealed in 2001. Despite being introduced last, the E46 compact was the first to be replaced when 1 Series was launched in September 2004.

The E46 sedan underwent a facelift in 2002, which included re-designed headlights, new bumpers and a stiffer chassis. Also, the 316i and 318i models received new, more powerful engines.

In mid-2005 the E46 sedans were phased out in favour of the new E90. The E46 touring was also replaced later that year with E91. The E46 remained in production as coupé, convertible and M3 until the E92 coupé and E93 convertible was revealed in late 2006. The new M3 coupé concept was later unveiled in March 2007 during Geneva Motor Show.

At 1999 BMW Indonesia were introduced E46 model with two type of engine; 318i (M43B19, 1895cc, 118 hp) and 323i (M52TUB25, 2494 cc, 170 hp). The 323i was a fast and responsive car with top speed up to 220 km/h, 0-100 km/h can reach in 9 seconds. Early 2001 the 323i change to 325i with M54B25 engine, the displacement remain the same with the previous one, however the bore and strokes were changed. This new engine can produce 197 hp, 0-100 km/h in 8 seconds and top speed 237 km/h.

In early 2002 the face lift version were released to the Indonesian market, most of the facelift were in exterior and minor in interior. No change of engine in 325i, however the 318i used a new engine N42B20 which has a larger displacement (1995 cc) and top horse power is 140 hp. With this new engine the 318i becomes the fastest compare to its competitor likes Merc C200 and Audi A4.

In mid 2003 BMW Indonesia launched the superior 330i, it was a fast and superb handling car. The engine is M54B30 2979 cc, can produce 231 hp and 300 Nm torque. Top speed 247 km/h, and 0 – 100 km/h in 7 seconds.

Potential Problem

  • Electrical and steering rack have a potential problem, however if the user regularly maintain their car to an authorized workshop, the problem can be minimized.
  • The fuel quality is also can be a problem, to reach top performance BMW engine required minimum RON 95 fuel, however lots of BMW owner in Indonesia fill their car with lower RON fuel. Under specification fuel caused a lower performance and also increasing carbon deposits in cylinder head. The fuel consumption of 318i relatively higher than its competitor with the same engine displacement, around 1 ltr for 7 km for city driving and 1 : 9 for extra urban.
  • The most common fault on the E46 3-Series is with the heater blower fan. The switch breaks, meaning the fan will only work on its fastest setting.
  • Early 320d and 330d manuals could suffer warped clutch plates. Most will have been replaced, but listen for a scraping noise when releasing the clutch on low-mileage cars. Post-2000 cars have tougher clutches.
  • Thermostats can fail, so keep an eye on the temperature gauge. Make sure the ventilation fan works on all speeds, too
  • Ignition Coils, These vehicles have exhibited an unusually high failure of ignition coils. There is one coil for each cylinder, located above the spark plug. The symptom is a misfire and setting the “Service Engine Soon” warning. When we read out the fault codes, we see “Misfire on cylinder X”. They seem to exhibit the symptom most frequently after the engine is fully warm.
  • Window Regulators, Several users have reported having one or more replaced under warranty. If the window stops moving or begins to make quite a bit of noise, do not continue to try to move it or the drive motor may also be damaged.
  • PCV Valve, The vacuum valve on these cars has a higher failure rate than the one on the previous 3 Series. Its failure causes rough idling and sets the Service Engine Soon light. If your engine starts to make a honking noise, like a small goose, this valve is the culprit.
  • Cam Position Sensor, The position sensor for the camshaft will go open, either intermittently or completely. If it fails completely, the engine won’t run. If intermittent, it will die, then restart, run for a while, and repeat the cycle. It usually sets the “Service Engine Soon” warning.
And check my other post regarding BMW common problems and online resources.

1 comment:

323 Newmarket said...

The 3 series facelift is impressive in the 2011.