When you hear the words "Driving Pleasure" you would have to think of BMW. They have done well in making some admirable cars currently, as well as in the past, which is why you would consider one, right?
I have owned a few BMWs, ranging from E30, E36, E46, E90 and had thought I was done with them, as I had enjoyed what the brand had to give me within my budgets.
But I always have heard that a manual BMW is where all the excitement is, and most of the ones I had owned were either automatic or a 4-cylinder manual (which was common).
So when this had been offered up via a friend, I had made a decision to buy it on the same day. I know some would have said to not do that - and I agree - but I also know BMWs well enough to make my judgement on the spot when I had seen the car (and if the price was right).
Now I have owned it for a bit, I can say that there is that feeling of fun - going through the gears and just hearing the engine reach its upper RPM is very enjoyable for a standard stock car.
The cabin of the car is amazing. When this car was new, the interior would have been a stand out at the time with its features and comfort, such as the sports heated seats, the navigation, TV screen and Xenon-LED lights!
But the interior is bit outdated when you are used to things like a touchscreen or Bluetooth handsfree, but we are speaking of a 2004 car. BMW's way of doing things in keeping it simple is good, as everything in the car works as it should, which is reassuring when buying them used.
The engine is the M54 2.5-litre inline 6-cylinder, which makes 141kW at 6000rpm, and 245Nm of torque at 3500rpm. On paper it doesn't mean much, but on the road it means that pulling out in front of traffic takes some courage. If you are not giving yourself enough runway to build speed, it means you have to clench your butt for those few moments of uncertainty until it gets revving. I know what you are thinking: being a manual, it could be "launched", but that isn't my driving style, and it can be costly afterwards.
Saying that, I have heard you can get a tune done which improves the car, but I will have to look into that and get back to you all.
As part of owning any older cars, the BMW oil leaks will be showing now (but lets be honest, the car is 15 years old). Because of the age, I wont hate on that too much, aside from the fact that when it leaks, it drips on the exhaust which then creates a burning oil smell - which is a key give away when looking at buying these.
Other things to look out for is the front bushes; you will feel it as soon as you hit the brake or hit a bump, the front suspension would go for a walk about and come back.
Overall, if you want a convertible soft-top manual (there aren't many choices) and don't want to spend over-the-top money for a car that would hardly get much use in Melbourne's weather, the BMW is a good pick. If you are lucky enough to get a manual, then hold onto it, as it only gets harder from here to find one.