Many of you will have seen our very own Alex Kersten’s E46 330i Touring that cost him a mere £140. It’s rusty, the rear suspension has collapsed but essentially it’s one hell of a lot of car for such a meagre outlay.
Finding such an awesome deal was arguably a little lucky as it only came about after the car’s previous owner was offered the paltry sum by a popular car-buying website. The owner simply wanted it to be able to relive its youth in the hands of CT rather than condemn it to the scrapheap. Well done, sir.
So, finding another £140 330i might be tricky but the rotten end of the classifieds pile still starts from a modest three-figure pot. Let us take you through the bad, the tidy and the downright lovely options available for sale right now.
This broken 2003 car has the same Touring body style as Alex’s bargain. The engine is running perfectly, says the seller, and we can see for ourselves that the interior is tidy enough – although we can’t see the driver’s seat bolsters on the pics.
The problem comes with the gearbox: the 228bhp car’s automatic cog-swapper has entered a limp-home mode. Who knows how much it would be to fix? Maybe it’s just a £20 part… or maybe it needs a whole new gearbox. For the £700 asking price, this 100,000-miler could be worth a punt.
Our second option is also automatic, but this silver one seems to be working. In fact, this 330Ci two-door coupe seems pretty honest and decent all round. With 83,000 miles covered it’s not overly tired yet, but the MOT certificate does only have a couple of months left on it. Haggling a new MOT into the deal is a good idea.
The seller wants £3990 for it: still not a lot, considering what a lovely little car it is. OK, so you might end up regretting not buying an M3 if you’re anything like CT COO Gabor, but the truth is that a tidy 330i like this is a superb daily. Sounds great at full chat, too.
Finally, the ever-so-slightly more exotic option is the 330Ci Clubsport. It borrows something of the E36 M3’s look with twin-five-spoke alloy wheels, a cheeky spoiler, two doors and – naturally – Estoril Blue paint. You could get it in other shades, but why would you?
The Clubsport had 20kg of insulation ripped out, a shorter gear lever and some Clubsport aesthetic add-ons – those wheels among them. It wasn’t any more powerful, still at 228bhp, but it sounded louder. When you were really pressing on, it felt a bit more exciting as a result.
Only 300 were made for the UK and you can bet a few have been written off in the last 15 years, so it’s a rare beast. Our pick has done 74,000 miles and you’ll have to pay £7595. The budget tyres are a pity but it looks to be in stunning condition, so consider the wider investment.