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BMW 3-Series Sport Wagons



  • xrobxrob Posts: 4
    The wiper blade would be covered? I thought that was a "consumable," and would not be. Couldn't they cite driving conditions etc and opt not to cover it as it is just normal wear and tear? I have a similar problem with my windshield as well. After just 1 month of "normal' driving (normal being commuting the same way I had always driven with my other car), my BMW wagon windshield had several pits & dings. My other ride, a 1997 4Runner, never had any damage done to the windshield like that in almost 4 years of driving the same route. When I called BMW, they told me to take it up with the dealer. The dealer said they would look at it but was skeptical about replacing it (I plan to show it to them at my 15K oil service). Anyone had this problem? Anyone had theirs replaced for free? Thanks,

    Rob H
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I don't see the similarity between the two. Windshield can be damaged by small stones/sand during highway driving and they can argue the road conditions that had led to the damage, whereas the wipers rendered useless can be the result of inferior material. Actually BMW dealers have lots of leeway in determining warranty coverage. If you are considered a good customer, more than likely they would allow it or at least cover portion of the replacement. As for wipers, I definitely think they will and should cover. They even replaced bulbs for my BMW under warranty, when it was two years old and only charged me for the parts for the AC condenser after my car was just out of warranty.
  • I bought mine in August and already had the wipers replaced twice. The dealer replaced the for free..its covered under maintenance. The dealer said BMW uses natural rubber thats why they wear out so fast. But I find that even with the new wipers my windshield seems to have alot of road grim on it. Does anybody have any trick to cleaning this...I was thinking of buying that invisible glass stuff.

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    A reporter is trying to find consumers who've traded up from mass-market brands (e.g. Toyota, Chevy, Ford, etc.) to luxury nameplates. He says, "I'm not looking for lottery winners, just regular folks who wanted more car."

    If you have a story to share, please send it to Edmunds' PR director: It is helpful for you to include your e-mail, phone number and city/state of residence when you respond. Deadline for submission on this one is March 6. Thanks for your participation.

    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    Just saw a really neat 3-series on a British web site.

    A 320d SE Touring. With a 2.0 Liter 150 hp diesel engine. Top speed is listed at 131 mph and 0-60 is 9.3 seconds (as is typical for a diesel it will feel much faster than that because the torque is available at very low rpms).

    Here is the kicker. Average mpg is 50. Probably imperial mpg, but still very impressive.

    I can't understand why nobody in this country would want a car like this. Yet we sell all those goofy SUV's - go figure.
  • xrobxrob Posts: 4
    Hey. I agree with you, but it's hard to convince a company that you think their windshield isn't holding up like all of the other cars you drove. All of the variables you mentioned come into play and in the end, it's basically your word vs. theirs. Depending on how good their customer service is, they will either replace the glass or not.

    With regards to the wipers, if it rains all the time (although it hasn't here in Northern VA and DC), I wonder what the "normal" wear and tear time is with the wiper insert? Ah well, I guess I will wait and see when I bring it in for my first service in a month or so.

  • brechbielbrechbiel Posts: 13
    After two years and 23k miles, here are some facts and observations about my 2000 Silver 323iT w/ Sports-Premium pkg, Auto, Leather and CD:
    - It is still as visually appealing as day one!
    - BMWs are ubiquitous in the Atlanta area, yet I rarely see a 3-series wagon. It's nice to drive something different.
    - This is a practical vehicle for most uses. Not so great on long trips. More on that later.
    - I am averaging 23.5 mpg, mostly city driving.
    - I rarely use the steptronic mode. When I do, it is fun. I don't miss having a manual tranny!
    - I have had the following problems fixed: Intermittent tilt-down on right side mirror (OK now, probably dirty L-R select switch contacts), broken rear cupholder, brokens clips that hold sunroof shade in its track (broken twice now), broken driver's power window (dealer fixed it that morning while I waited!). So, as you see, no major problems, and only driver's window required immediate service.
    - One service loaner car was a 2001 325iT. That engine/tranny combination felt MUCH more powerful, if noisier. The steptronic manual shift responded more slowly compared to the 323iT.
    - After experiencing the peppy 325iT loaner, I no longer use regular gas in the 323iT!
    - My other family car is now a CPO 2001 525iT, bought June 2001. You could say that we are hooked on BMW wagons! It has the same engine/tranny as the 325iT. Even though the 525iT is larger/heavier than our 323iT, it has more get up and go, yet it also gets about 23.5 mpg.
    - *** My big disappointment with the 3-series is the drivers seating position and lack of comfort, which becomes apparent on long trips. Note that I am 5'11", weigh 150 lbs, walk 10-15 miles a week and lift weights. Here goes my litany...
    - Because of the rear-wheel drive layout, the engine and tranny protrude into the passenger compartment. This forces the gas pedal location almost directly beneath the steering column. As a result, with my foot on the gas pedal I have to twist my lower body to the left relative to my upper trunk. Two, this means that when I have the seat adjusted for the correct length for my right leg, my left leg is nearly 2" too far from the left foot rest! (Yep, my legs are the same length...)
    - Next, the sports seats are not comfortable on long trips. They are hard and lack lumbar support (I'm a skinny guy). It amazes me that BMW doesn't provide lumbar adjustments except on expensive seating options! The leather is of a med-low grade. It is almost plastic like in texture and not very soft.
    - There's more. At the distance and height I need the driver's seat set at, it cannot be adjusted so it is level enough with the floor. It has too much upward tilt even at the most forward leaning position, and this causes too much pressure against my thighs. Finally, the tilt-telescopic steering wheel does not extend quite close enough to me when the seatback is tilted for maxiumum comfort -- and I have long arms! The steering column needs another inch or so in travel. My arms are extended too far out, which is tiring on long trips.
    - The three spoke steering wheel on my 323iT is not comfortable to grip. The notches on the back side don't line up with my finger spacing in any logical way. It is hard and too angular on the front. Not rounded enough.
    - I will NOT consider another BMW 3-series unless these particular ergonomic problems are fixed. Perhaps the 2001 or later models address some of these issues. I should had been more careful in my evaluation when choosing this car. I might have chosen a different car. Can't say for sure. It's great in so many other ways. We use the car for short trips around town, so the seating issue isn't a big deal on day to day basis.
    - OK, OK, so I'll get off my duff and get cushy seat covers, a lumbar pad and a steering wheel cover to force this gnarly sportswagon into submission! (;->)
    - By the way, our 525iT is more comfortable, and we choose it for long trips. The larger passenger compartment allows BMW to position the gas pedal more to the right. The seats are softer (same so-so leather) and adjust more naturally. The steering column could move closer, though. Not enough lumbar support either.
    - NOISE. Both our 323iT and 525iT are excessively noisy on long trips. The extra body flex inherent in a wagon design causes more low frequency noise than in a sedan. The wagon's more exposed rear wheel wells are noisy, too. The smaller 323it is quieter/stiffer for LF noise than the 525iT, but is noisier than the 525it for midband tire/wheelwell noise. This is likely the difference between the large 16" balloon tires on the 525it and the 17" "rubber bands" and sports suspension on the 323iT.
    - For $37,500 driveout, the 323iT should have an alarm system!
    - The stock 323iT audio system is more than fine. I play in a hobby rock band and like it loud sometimes, so this comes as a surprise.
    - The wagon space is put to good use for hauling my music gear. If I were a drummer I might want a larger wagon or SUV, though.
    - The interior lighting design still impresses me after two years.
    - The 323iT steering effort is a bit much compared to our 2001 525iT, and the 2001 325iT service loaner I drove.
    - It is very useful to be able to remotely open the windows and sunroof! I don't have a garage or carport, so when I am about to go out on a hot day I can do this from my living room. By the time I get in the car, it is much more tolerable. This is also handy as I approach the car in parking lots. I wish I could CLOSE the windows and sunroof from the remote, but I understand the safety issues and why BMW doesn't allow this.
    - The paint quality is top notch! My car is exposed to the elements all the time, yet the exterior still looks like new after 2 years. I haven't even waxed it since I first bought it.
    - It is convenient not to have to get an oil change every few months. With the service indicator system, I don't have to track when it's due. I was able to drive a tad over 16K miles before the first change was required.
    - My BMW dealer gets top marks except in ease of setting up an appointment. I never get the appointment lady on the first call. Once she calls me back -- after a little game of phone tag -- I can usually get a convenient day/time for my schedule. At the dealer, they always treat me like royalty (which I am not.)
    - In sum, the 323iT is a fine car overall. Sure, it has some flaws, mostly related to size and comfort issues typical for small cars. I think it is too expensive, though not necessarily a bad value compared to other cars. Some of my relatives think I'm nuts for putting so much money in two BMWs. (On the other hand, the large american luxury cars and SUV's they tend to drive aren't exactly cheap.) I still like it after two years, and this comes much more from the driving experience rather than admiring it's gorgeous looks.
  • tlam625tlam625 Posts: 13
    >- My other family car is now a CPO 2001 525iT, bought June 2001. You could say that we are >hooked on BMW wagons! It has the same engine/tranny as the 325iT. Even though the 525iT >is larger/heavier than our 323iT, it has more get up and go, yet it also gets about 23.5 mpg.

    Appreciate your feedback.

    Can you comment more on the different between your 323 and 525 in various driving environments? Like acceleration, winding road, highway (other than the noise level). thanks
  • brechbielbrechbiel Posts: 13
    (see previous two posts)

    >>Can you comment more on the different between your 323 and 525 in various driving environments? Like acceleration, winding road, highway (other than the noise level). thanks<<

    The 323iT has a 5" shorter wheelbase and is not as wide as the 525iT. The sports suspension, coupled with a stiffer chassis, gives it quicker handling than the 525iT, though not by a large margin. I have not taken the 525iT on any winding N. Georgia mountain roads yet. In that setting, 323iT was a blast! So, yes, in spite of a slightly less peppy engine/tranny setup, the 323iT is probably more fun to drive -- at least on shorter trips (for me, less than 200 miles in a day...)

    The 525iT is no slouch. It feels faster in acceleration than the 323iT. It has more steering assist (as did most 2001 bimmers), but is not a cushmobile by any means. Probably because of the easier steering, I feel more comfortable pushing this larger car. The engine has a little more HP and torque, and the tranny shift points are sportier even in normal mode than the 323iT. On the other hand, there is more time lag in steptronic manual mode, so that isn't as fun with the 525iT. On the highway, and for general driving, I'll take the 525iT any day.

    Both are beautiful cars. The 323iT in Titanium Silver with the Sports-Premium package is one snazzy car. I think the wagon looks better than the sedan, and Silver really highlights the styling lines. The 525iT in Steel Blue is more elegant looking, yet still sporty. I am told this color is not common for the 5-series.

    Ulitimately, for my needs the 525iT is a better car.

    I plan to keep the 2001 525iT at least for the duration of the CPO warranty (until Dec 2006). I may sell the 2000 323iT in a year or two. I don't really need two wagons, and it would be nice to have a really quiet car for long trips.

    The Infiniti G35 is a fantastic car and a great deal. Check it out. The noise at 70mph is just 67db! BMW service is very good, but Infiniti is the best, IMO! (I had the 1991 G20 for 10 years.)

    Besides, I'm not sure I can justify 45-50K for another 5-series Bimmer. On the other hand, the new 5-series with stiffer chassis and slick body style will be out next year, probably with the Valvetronic engine control system, so who knows...

    Hope this helps.
  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    I have been following reading postings at this site for several months now and my family has finally decided that we are going to buy a 325 iT. This is going to be our first bimmer; we plan to put about 600 miles on the car. After shopping around for the past couple of weeks, we have narrowed down our choices to two cars. I would appreciate any suggestions that afficianados and/or owners can provide:

    Car 1: Jet black exterior and sand leatherette interior with premium package, automatic trasmission and 1070 miles. This car was used as a loaner by the dealership. Final price agreed upon with dealer: $31,800.

    Car 2: Seina red exterior and gray leather interior with premium package, automatic transmission, xenon lights, cold weather package, Harmon Kardon sound upgrade, park distance control and full size spare tire with 6200 miles. This car was used by a BMW exec as corporate car from June - November 2001. Asking price $32,500.

    Both cars are 2001. We don't really get much snow in our area and the exterior color is not a factor. My question is which of these two is a better deal? Need to make a decision very soon.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Oops, I meant to say we plan to put 600 miles a month on the car in my message above.

  • esq1esq1 Posts: 20
    If color doesn't matter, I'd go with the red wagon. It has more of the bells and whistles. The xenons are really worth the money. I originally thought the heated seats with the CWP were a waste but now that I've got them, they are nice. The park distance control also comes in handy. Also, as a general rule, I think people get loaners and decide "let's see what this baby can do compared to my car." I'd prefer the car used by the one executive.
  • wabendswabends Posts: 102
    Thanks for the swift response and sage words. So far, we are leaning towards the red car and I will keep you posted.
  • shadowdadshadowdad Posts: 1
    I am looking to buy a wagon for the extra luggage space, and I have a question. Basically, I am trying to decide between a Passat wagon and a 325iT. I realize that the 325 has less space than the Passat, but I don't need a whole lot. My problem is that no dealer within 100 miles of me seems to have any 325 wagons in stock, and I want to get a feel for whether I will really be able to use this car for traveling (we have a 2-year-old, and need to bring extra items for her like playpen and stroller when we travel). We travel relatively light, but our small trunk just doesn't cut it with the additional space needs. We'll probably need to carry presents this Christmas when we travel to Virginia from Atlanta as well as luggage too.

    I really would like the extra safety and performance features of the bmw, but I have to justify that this car will be able to serve as the family car including trips. One option I have thought about is getting a roof box for the trips, which will add a lot of space, but then I'm not sure that the extra $2k for the wagon (over the 325i) even makes sense especially when the roof box and rack would cost at least $500 and I could probably fit everything in the back of the Passat for a lot less. BTW my wife and I are both about 5'6"", so we don't need a lot of cabin room.

    Any feedback on how much one can realistically fit in the cargo area would be greatly appreciated.

  • brechbielbrechbiel Posts: 13
    If you want a wagon for family use get the Passat!
    The 325iT is simply not large enough. My wife and I drive a 2000 323iT and 2001 525iT. My kids are now grown and out of the house, so we don't need as much car space. The 3-series wagon is very nice, but it is not large enough to haul much if you have to carry more than two people. Things like strollers and playpens simply won't fit!

    By the way, I live in Atlanta too. I bought the 323iT from BMW of Macon. I called on a Monday, made a deal, they got the car by swapping with a dealer in Texas. The car I wanted was sitting on the lot at BMW's Spartanburg, SC factory. They had the car by Saturday of the same week, they even sent a driver to pick me up! I paid $1500 over invoice.

    The 525iT Step/Premium/CD/Leather was bought as a Certified Pre-Owned from Chris Motors with 9k miles for $39K. Overall, I like this car better than the 3-series.

    The Passat is a great car for the money. It doesn't inspire the same confidence for handling and build quality as the BMW, but it is a good value, IMO. The new W8 wagon should be awesome. Or, you can get a FWD 1.8T model for less than 25K.

    As for the 3-series wagon, if I had it to do again, I'd get the new A4 Avant. It is a better value than the BMW. The seating position is much more comfortable (adjustable lumbar support!), and the new version is larger and has more carrying capacity in back. If you went to the Atlanta Auto Show, you may have seen the silver A4 1.8T Avant Quattro that was only 30K sticker price. Apparently, these are somewhat hard to get, especially in the 1.8T version. Still probably not enough room for hauling young kids and their stuff though...
  • borowiecborowiec Posts: 1
    I've been weighing the respective merits and disadvantages of these three cars, too. My venerable 1991 Saab 900s has 162K and won't last much longer, and since no-one makes a usable hatchback with a flat load floor, I'm forced to consider a station wagon. I won't drive an automatic, so that narrows the field considerably (no SUVs). I thought I had finally figured it out: my wife has a 2001 A4 1.8T Quattro sedan and I was eagerly awaiting the new A4 Avant. But I took my wife's car on a 2000 mile road trip and discovered that it is excruciatingly uncomfortable on long trips, due to the narrowness of the footwell and the hard plastic on the center console. When I had the cruise control engaged, the only place I could put my right leg was to lean it against the console. Unfortunately, a protruding bone on the side of my knee was in direct contact with the granite-hard plastic of the console side, so that at the end of 2000 miles I had a bruise that lasted for two weeks. I looked at the new A4 and there is even less room in the footwell. So Audi is out, even though the Avant has the most intelligently designed cargo area I've seen.

    The BMW console sticks out less and is encased in softer plastic, so that's less of a problem, but the footwell is still quite narrow and the gas pedal is almost directly under the steering column. Not to mention that I would have to spend about $4000 more than for a comparably equipped A4, and that's with European delivery. The cargo area is much smaller on the BMW, 35" between the rear wheels, while it's 40" on the A4 (and I think 42" on the Passat). Cabin storage is also less practical on the BMW (the Avant even has drawers under the front seats and shelves in the glove compartment). But the handling, ride, etc. on the BMW is far superior to that of the 2002 A4, about on a par with the 2001 A4 (yes, the older model A4 handles much better than the new one, imo).

    So now I'm hoping that the Passat will be more roomy in driver's compartment; it certainly has a lot of cargo room in back. And, unlike the A4 or the 325ixT, the rear seats actually fold down flat! I haven't driven a Passat yet, so I may decide it's not adequate; we'll see. I also tried the Saab 9-5 wagon, but it handles like a boat; for the same money, I'd get the 325xiT and put up with the limited cargo space.
  • brechbielbrechbiel Posts: 13
    I have not driven the 2002 A4 Avant. My impression is based on in sitting in one at the Auto Show for about 15 minutes. Compared to my 2000 323iT, there seems to be even more foot space in the Audi. I didn't notice the center console being larger, though it may. I preferred these things about the A4 Avant:
    1.) The gas pedal is further to the right. It is the same distance to the gas pedal and left foot stop. This arrangement feels more comfortable than the BMW with it's gas pedal nearly under the steering column and the distance to the left foot stop is about 1.5" further away than the gas pedal. This causes a twist in the lower body that is not comfortable for me on long trips.
    2.) With the seat adjusted for my leg length, the steering column comes closer, allowing a more relaxed arm/hand position. The 3-series steering wheel needs to adjust about 2" closer.
    3.) Rounded, softer steering wheel, with larger diameter tube feels better than hard BMW steering wheel (three-spoke sports pkg.)
    4.) Electrically adjustable lumbar support! The Audi seat felt more comfortable overall. The 3-series sports seats are too hard and lack lumbar support.
    5.) Seat position. The simple manual adjustment for the Audi let me set front and rear seat heights independent of where the seat was located on the track. The power BMW seat gets lower as it goes away from the dash and the front edge can not be set low enough until the seat is all the way back. It puts pressure on my thigh. On paper, it looks like it can be adjusted exactly like you want, but the mechanism for height and seat angle is linked to seat position front to back. I think this is a poor design. The 5-series Wagon with standard seats is no better.

    While I'm harping about ergonomics, the BMW 3-series so-called "auto" A/C system is more trouble to use than a simple manual system with fan speed, temp, air direction, A/C on/off and recirculate. It takes too many button pushes and adjustment of the Blue/Red temp knob in the center dash vent. It behaves poorly in defrost and borderline situations where it is almost, but not quite hot enough to use the A/C compressor. This is a good example of "almost" technology getting in the way of a simple solution. I admit, the auto recirculate feature is very nice, though! In the 5-series, you can also turn the air recirculation on/off from a button on the steering wheel below the cruise controls.

    I admire the handling, braking, drivetrain, fuel economy, appearance, build quality, etc of the 3-series Wagon. I think BMW could improve the ergonomics of this otherwise great car.
  • glwusa2002glwusa2002 Posts: 2
    Trying to decide between 325ix wagon and a Volvo cross country. Anyone gone thru this exercise? Also, any experience w/European delivery on either?
  • esq1esq1 Posts: 20
    My wife and I picked a '02 BMW 325xi wagon over the new Audi A4 Avant, VW Passat wagon, and Volvo cross country. We started the search looking for the Volvo, since it seems to be the official car of our suburb. All were good choices. In the end, we thought the Volvo was trying too hard to be a short Grand Cherokee. While commendable, the Passat didn't have the superior handling and stability control of the BMW. The Audi had the nicest interior feel up front but the back seat felt cramped. We were also worried about Audi reliability (see Consumer Reports). Shadowdad already pointed out the biggest problem with the BMW wagon: you can't find them! BMW only sells a couple hundred a month total in the U.S., so it's hard to find one for a test drive. Now that I have one, I like that it's rare to see one on the road. It makes a modest anti-SUV statement and it isn't as ubiquitous as the 3 series sedan. The BMW wagon is a joy to drive. And while it's not a Lincoln Navigator, it does comfortably hold my kid's stroller with room to spare for groceries. The seats fold down easily and it has this cool cargo net that attaches to the ceiling of the car to prevent stored objects from flying into the back of your head in a quick stop. All in all, the BMW wagon is a great car. Many people have come up to us and asked about getting one themselves.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    If buying a wagon is for its big storage and hauling capability, then the 325xiT is not for you. If your need is to simply have a bigger trunk than the sedan for occasional use, then this wagon is absolutely the best of its breed in my opinion. Its handling is faultless. some wagons may have more power, and some others may carry more, yet nothing I had tested prior to putting in my order can compare with it as a total driving package. We have enjoyed driving it even more than the same model, but older, sedan in our family.
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