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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier

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  • You can order a car factory built to your specifications (with whatever options you want from Steptronic transmission on up). As often mentioned on this board, you will wait about 8-10 weeks or more, depending on how many "Production Slots" your dealer has been allotted by BMW. However, by ordering the car in this way you loose a certain amount of bargaining leverage i.e., dealer may be more willing to negotiate to move out a car sitting around on the lot. Also, a car on the lot is likely to have options that you don't want.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    I have read that banks will not finance a car delivered via the European delivery program - you must finance through a BMW dealer. Does anyone have an experience with this ? This would definitely make the ED more costly. Thanks.
  • Tabbiecat - I went to BMW of Fairfax twice. In short, they were not at all eager for my business, so I ended up buying my wife's 325XI via the telephone from Hensley Motors in Lynchburg. While BMW of Fairfax told me all inbound XIs were presold through the next few months, and that BMW had stopped accepting any orders at all due to backlog, Hensley Motors located 5 different XIs for me. When my wife didn't like the colors/options on those cars, they some how dug up an unsold production number, and we ordered the car exactly how we wanted it - during a time that you supposedly couldn't even place an order. Obvioulsy Fairfax wasn't hungry to make a deal, but Hensley was. They even delivered the car to me via flatbed approx 200 miles away.

    Sure hope Fairfax's service deptartment is better than their sales department - they're the closest dealer to me.

    The car was delivered on 12/27, and it's incredible. The roads were iced over last night, and between the AWD and DSC, the cars performance under bad road conditions was mind boggling! I may have to get one for myself, as I can't stand driving my truck after cruising in my wife's Bimmer!!

    Good luck!
  • in response to tabbiecat and #485... we test drove at bmw of fairfax and were unimpressed with the treatment we received ...still looking for a good dealership in dc/no va/ md area...thanks for the lynchburg tip...by the way, does anyone out there know about diplomatic buying programs?
  • I have a 2001 325. I can't seem to find the trunk release. I can open the trunk
    with the key but not from the inside of the car. Any help would be appreciated.
  • There isn't a trunk release in the cabin. As long as the car is unlocked, the trunk is simply opened manually, from the rear. There should be a rubberized 'button' under the black ledge of the rear deck. Gently press it, and the trunk latch is released electronically.
  • My dealer in Houston told me that in the state of Texas it is 6.90% not 5.90% through BMW FS. Thx.
  • After only 100km with my new BMW 330xi, the automatic transmission failed. It is now fixed (a new transmission) but I have to wonder whether it is related to the AWD system - have any other Xi drivers had a similar problem?

    I also find it rather odd that my Xi doesn't track in a straight line very well - my dealer tells me this is normal. Has anyone else seen this problem on the 3 series
  • jon says that his dealer believes it is "normal" for this car not to track straight...i am considering this car myself, and, in addition to jon's transmission problems...this tracking issue concerns me.
    Anyone else have similiar situation?
    thanks,
    drew
  • fjm1fjm1 Posts: 137
    My '00 323 sport wanders also. Tires and pressures make a big difference. Try 31-34psi up front w/same or slightly higher in back. Helps some. 3ers seems to ask "why are we going in a straight line?" Some people claim it is normal, I believe it is a pain in the ^$$. I've had to spend about $1,500.00 on various all-season tires for the winter before stumbling upon Pilot XGT's. The summer tread (Dunlop SP's) that came on the car don't require constant course correction.

    xi vs i: performance differences on dry tarmac negligible. Taller final drive on xi makes acceleration near equal. slightly higher COG theoretically reduces cornering for xi. Went for a test ride about a month ago and only noticed the little bit of extra HP BMW added to the top of the power band, not any handling differences. Historically, mid 80's 325ix were shunned due to drivetrain problems. However, BMW should be doing better work this time around as a similar setup went into X5.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Especially with expensive cars,i.e.BMW and Mercedes,the leatherette will far outlast leather. know that being cheaper this is disingenious,but it's true. Mercedes has always been especially proud of their "MBTex"Even with the extra care it demands,leather will still show wear far sooner than leatherette.Of course,it feels and smells great. Is it worth it?It is a nice luxury,but even in a deluxe car I don't think it is a necessity. BMW uses an expensive grade of vinyl;it also wears like iron. Some people need to observe the different stitching patterns the different materials have always used-check that year's catalogue if you ever are not sure.
  • My dealer in NJ yesterday informed me of BMW lowest interest rate of 6.9% for 60mo. financing. This is almost a point less than my credit union interest rate of 7.8%.
    The salesman seems to be on the level but, should I still keep my credit unions per-approved auto loan. I hear alot of situations were the financial rep. at dealerships try to scam customers on the day the vehicle is to be picked-up! Any advice would be appreciated.
  • Agree with fjm1. I had similar problems that were eliminated by adjusting the tire pressure. I ended up with 34 psi front and 41 rear. However, my tires are now down to the wear bars and the problem has returned.
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    I dont know, I believe that any car that doesnt track straight down the road on a level road mind you, has an alignment problem, or a low tire on one side, etc.. Ive never owned a car that didnt track absolutely straight, and would not consider having to deal with that problem.
    Are these cars running the 17' wheels with the 225 x 45 tires? I have those on my '01 325I and think any extra work at driving may be partially attributed to the lower aspect of the 45 series tire which in and of itself will introduce alot more input when you move the wheel, there is alot less tire to "flex" before it moves..
    If it were me, I would be at the dealer asking them to test drive it before and after a complete 4 wheel alignment and make sure it goes straight without any correction.
    Good luck, let us know how it works out.
    DanF
  • ser1ser1 Posts: 9
    I test drove a 325i for the first time. Wow, what a car! After reading for months and seeing reports on the BMW I can see why they call it the ultimate driving machine. It is one of the 2 cars that I am considering. The other is a Acura MDX. I know it is a SUV and can't really be compared to a BMW sedan. I looking at them both and taking them for what they are. MDX I really liked and would suggest anyone considering a SUV to look at it. Big problem for some is that it has a 4-6 month waiting time to get one. I am not pressed for time, since my current lease isn't up until this summer, but because of the wait time it made me start my decision making process a little early. There is only a couple small things that concern me w/ the BMW.
    1. Slightly small. Great for one or 2 people but not much more. Not a huge issue for me since I am single and I don't have any kids. I suspect it would be hard to get a couple of guys in one with 3 golf bags and pull carts. Again, something I can get over because I would be driving a dream car.
    2. Snow (my biggest concern)! I live in MA which hasn't seen a lot of snow as of late but can get pretty sloppy when it does. It also has its fair share of hills in the area I live, including my driveway that isn't always cleaned out right away. Has anybody had experience with a fairly steep driveway in the snow? My VW Passat sometimes will get stuck at the point just before becomes flat. I fear that I would have equal if not bigger problems w/ the BMW. I have been reading tons of info and from everything that I have heard BMW's are as good as any front wheel drive car in the snow. I think part of the appeal, that drew me to the MDX/SUV, was the 4wheel drive. I want the care free feeling of not worrying if there is a snow storm out there or not. I know the Xi is available and I highly considered it. When I talked w/ the salesman he seemed like he wasn't so sure anyone would really need it. Any thoughts on the Xi?
    I don't want the hassle of buying separate snow tires either because, like I feel about the snow, I just don't want the hassle. From what I read the ESC helps a lot in the snow. Thoughts and help w/ the "snow" questions would be great.
    I am hoping to do another test drive this weekend in the MDX and the BMW. Hopefully the decision will be easier after this weekend...but I doubt it.

    Thanks
  • After test driving both the xi and mdx....2 entirely different vehicles...mdx had room for a party, and then some...would make the friends real happy, however, as the driver ( at 30k a year for me ), I have to be most concerned about me, and, how I feel in the car. In this respect, there was no comparison. The bmw felt great for me, good for a single passanger, and ok for additional guests. mdx was made for the family, friends and neighbors.
    I'll be driving from NJ through NE, and, even though I see a ton of volvos in NE ( as well as my current outback ), if all goes right, I'm going for the xi.
    I did, however, move from the 325xi sport wagon to the 330xi sedan with the hope that it may be the bridge between my previous eagle talon awd turbo, and, the volvo cross country that I started w/ as the "upgrade" to my outback.
    So far, the 330xi seems like my best bet.....
    stay tuned,
    drew
  • fjm1fjm1 Posts: 137
    Misleading: On a well paved road the 3ers track straight. It's the roads that have crowns, cracks, or ridges that run parallel to your course of travel that really cause problems for my car. The 225/50/16 tires seem to follow or grab at these road irregularities.

    On the Bahn at 120mph its straight as an arrow :-)

    I've looked at the MDX as well. Apples to oranges but ideally I would like to park both in my driveway! MDX is sweet.
  • <<#497 of 499  First time drive and snow ?'s by ser1  Jan 10, 2001 (08:31 pm)

    I test drove a 325i for the first time. Wow, what a car! After reading for months and seeing reports on the BMW I can see why they call it the ultimate driving machine. It is one of the 2 cars that I am considering. The other is a Acura MDX. I know it is a SUV and can't really be compared to a BMW sedan. I looking at them both and taking them for what they are. MDX I really liked and would suggest anyone considering a SUV to look at it. Big problem for some is that it has a 4-6 month waiting time to get one. I am not pressed for time, since my current lease isn't up until this summer, but because of the wait time it made me start my decision making process a little early. There is only a couple small things that concern me w/ the BMW.
    1. Slightly small. Great for one or 2 people but not much more. Not a huge issue for me since I am single and I don't have any kids. I suspect it would be hard to get a couple of guys in one with 3 golf bags and pull carts. Again, something I can get over because I would be driving a dream car.
    2. Snow (my biggest concern)! I live in MA which hasn't seen a lot of snow as of late but can get pretty sloppy when it does. It also has its fair share of hills in the area I live, including my driveway that isn't always cleaned out right away. Has anybody had experience with a fairly steep driveway in the snow? My VW Passat sometimes will get stuck at the point just before becomes flat. I fear that I would have equal if not bigger problems w/ the BMW. I have been reading tons of info and from everything that I have heard BMW's are as good as any front wheel drive car in the snow. I think part of the appeal, that drew me to the MDX/SUV, was the 4wheel drive. I want the care free feeling of not worrying if there is a snow storm out there or not. I know the Xi is available and I highly considered it. When I talked w/ the salesman he seemed like he wasn't so sure anyone would really need it. Any thoughts on the Xi?
    I don't want the hassle of buying separate snow tires either because, like I feel about the snow, I just don't want the hassle.>>

    ...and I'll say, there is never a "carefree feeling of not worrying if there is a snowstorm". 4wd and AWD systems can create a false sense of security that you can drive in any and all conditions without being more careful than normal. It's in your best interest to be careful, and not "carefree", no matter how well your vehicle pulls in the snow. No matter whether you have RWD, or FWD, or AWD, or 4WD, when it comes to braking performance in snow, it all comes down to the quality of the rubber on your vehicle. A 2WD vehicle with high-quality snow tires will outperform an AWD or 4WD vehicle with all-season tires. The question is how safe do you want to be?
  • <<494 of 500  Finanacing by footprints  Jan 10, 2001 (07:05 am)

    My dealer in NJ yesterday informed me of BMW lowest interest rate of 6.9% for 60mo. financing. This is almost a point less than my credit union interest rate of 7.8%.
    The salesman seems to be on the level but, should I still keep my credit unions per-approved auto loan. I hear alot of situations were the financial rep. at dealerships try to scam customers on the day the vehicle is to be picked-up! Any advice would be appreciated.>>

    ...trying to scam anyone. If you feel scammed, don't sign anything, it's that simple.
  • <<#490 of 501  BMW 330xi (AWD) by jon_ames  Jan 09, 2001 (08:33 pm)

    After only 100km with my new BMW 330xi, the automatic transmission failed. It is now fixed (a new transmission) but I have to wonder whether it is related to the AWD system - have any other Xi drivers had a similar problem?

    I also find it rather odd that my Xi doesn't track in a straight line very well - my dealer tells me this is normal. Has anyone else seen this problem on the 3 series >>

    ...X5 series of vehicles. As for tracking issues, that's odd. Did they check the alignment? I have a 330Xi sport, and in over 5000 miles, have had no tracking issues. However, I did testdrive the X5 sport with the 19 inch wheels, and those wheels did require some attention, on uneven roads, as the low aspect ratio and high tire pressures mean that there is little flex in the footpatch. If you find the tracking issue to be a problem for a daily-driver, you should consider going to a tire with a higher aspect ratio, like a 60s series.
  • <<------------------------------------------------------------------------
    #486 of 502  bmw of fairfax by wannabe3  Jan 09, 2001 (10:43 am)

    in response to tabbiecat and #485... we test drove at bmw of fairfax and were unimpressed with the treatment we received ...still looking for a good dealership in dc/no va/ md area...thanks for the lynchburg tip...by the way, does anyone out there know about diplomatic buying programs?>>

    ...is a little better than eurodelivery prices, which is roughly 7% off MSRP. I
  • <<#485 of 503  Response to Tabbiecat (post 477) by sr54x4lemon  Jan 09, 2001 (10:15 am)

    Tabbiecat - I went to BMW of Fairfax twice. In short, they were not at all eager for my business, so I ended up buying my wife's 325XI via the telephone from Hensley Motors in Lynchburg. While BMW of Fairfax told me all inbound XIs were presold through the next few months, and that BMW had stopped accepting any orders at all due to backlog, Hensley Motors located 5 different XIs for me. When my wife didn't like the colors/options on those cars, they some how dug up an unsold production number, and we ordered the car exactly how we wanted it - during a time that you supposedly couldn't even place an order. Obvioulsy Fairfax wasn't hungry to make a deal, but Hensley was. They even delivered the car to me via flatbed approx 200 miles away.>>

    ...your post, I'd point out that dealers have an allocation, based on a number of factors, primarily how many BMWs they've sold in the past. Apparently, Fairfax's allocation was completely spoken for, but Hensley's wasn't, so they were able to order a car for you. Unfortunately, many car manufacturer's use allocations, and the car buyer doesn't realize this, and often goes to the closest dealer and gets put on a waiting list, while another dealer may have an opening for a more timely delivery.
  • qtipqtip Posts: 1
    Hey there ser1, I just wanted to offer you some advice. I'm on my third BMW 325i: I had a 1989, 1993 and now a 2000. While these cars are beautiful to drive, I have to be honest, they are absolutely awful in the snow. I've had my BMW's claim that their "limited slip differencial" (1993) make a difference (didn't) and now my 2000 has traction control. (ESC) This helps A LOT but in no way is it the same as "any front wheel drive vehicle". Its almost amusing when you try to just paralel park or turn one of these in the snow. Let alone get up a driveway. Snow tires help and manual transmition seems to assist but bottom line, its a joke in snow- great the rest of the time, a pleasure to drive.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I have a 1998 3er with ASC. Here is a narrative I wrote for another list:
    "I must respectfully disagree with those who think the BMW 3er is a poor winter weather car. Ann's ti is fitted with 195/65-15 Michelin Alpin
    XM+S for the winter months. Our driveway is a hilly half-mile of gravel road, and it NEVER gets plowed. We've had no problems negotiating any
    sort of(on-road) terrain with the ti. In fact, once Ann walked back to the house and told me she left the ti on our bridge because it wouldn't
    make it up the ice covered hill that followed(did I mention that it was 32 degrees and raining?). I went out to the bridge and drove the ti off to the side of the road so that the tires could find some grip. It negotiated the hill with no problem. Ann drove on to work while I duck-walked back home. Last Saturday night we drove home from a party on the notoriously ice-prone Snyder Freeway. As usual, a little less than 1/2 inch of snow had turned it into a skating rink. I passed several cars, SUVs, and trucks which had spun out, but the faithful bobtail plowed right through. Now, I'll admit I could feel it moving around a little, but never to the point that a steering correction was needed. One of the many things Russ Huntoon taught me on the Alcan Rally was to drive with your fingertips when road conditions are icy. The old 9 and 3 drivers school hand position will tend to make the driver input too much steering lock."

    The E46 cars have a more sophisticated tracton control system which incorporates other stability enhancing technology. Get some decent winter rubber and you shouldn't have a problem.
  • millerro3millerro3 Posts: 136
    footprints, 6.9% is indeed attainable now through the end of February, and 60 days beyond that with a BMW FS credit approval. See if he can do better though, like 5.9%, which we have been doing all day long. Maybe he is thinking that 5.9% is his buy rate and he tacked on the extra 1% to pick up his gross, we are under the impression that our buy rate is 4.9% so we do 5.9%. Good Luck!

    div2....glad to see someone is aware of the capabilities of their BMW in the snow, but have you driven a new one with the Dynamic Stability Control? IMHO, it is a night and day difference from the ASC+T(on stock tires anyway). It is nearly impossible to get out of shape in any weather, unless you're really trying to!

    I've been selling these cars for over two years now, and I am finally able to have my own enthusiasm and excitement because I just ordered a 2001 330i. Steel Grey with two tone Black and Tanin Red leather interior, Sport pkg, Cold Weather pkg, Moonroof, power seats, Xenons, Harman-Kardon, and the in dash CD player. Since I'll have the aluminum trim inside, I am also getting the aluminum pedals, aluminum E-brake handle, and the Chrome-aluminum shift knob. I now have a very good understanding and apppreciation for people who have to wait for their cars to arrive. Although I get a very good deal, I still have to wait until March for it to arrive! It seems SO far away! Oh well, I know it will be worth it

    Rob
  • ser1ser1 Posts: 9
    I just want to say that I am a careful driver in the snow and not a "care free" driver. I am aware that 4wheel drive may get you going but it doesn't help you stop. This is what I intended by that statement:
    I owned a Chevy Berreta several years ago and that thing went through the snow with no problem. I know to take it easy but it was never a car I felt totally unsafe in. I never got stuck or had a problem getting up a hill. I then owned a Ford Probe and it was the worst car ever in the snow! At first I had touring tires on it, which was the biggest problem, but I couldn't get anywhere. I was going very slow on a on-ramp ,that had about dusting of snow, and I spun out 180 degrees. Also, everytime I was on the highway, in snowy conditions and switching lanes, the back-end always felt on the verge of losing control. By "care free" I mean I don't want that "feeling" of losing control or getting stuck on some hill in a couple inches of snow. I feel that I am a very safe driver since I have always lived in the NE where snow is common. I just want the feeling of having control and being able to get where I need to be safely and in control.
    And still I am concerned because I see where some people say it is good in the snow and some say it is bad. I really don't want the hassle of having to put snow tires on every year so I would like to know how good a 2001 325 is in the snow (all weather tires).

    Thanks all for your comments.

    Confirmed another test drive for this weekend in the MDX and the BMW. Yeeha!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    There's no hassle with winter tires; go to www.tirerack.com and get some winter tires mounted on steel rims. Do the changeover yourself. Even if I use the factory jack it only takes me @1 hour- and that counts cleaning the takeoffs before I store them. Add BMW wheel covers and you are all set. Best of all, you can ash can the mediocre(at best) all-season rim protectors and use high performance tires for some serious summer driving. And isn't that the best reason to drive a BMW.
  • larryintnlarryintn Posts: 103
    If you don't want to put on snow tires in the winter then avoid the sports package. The non-sport tires do a lot better in the snow than the sport tires.

    When someone complains about the performance in the snow ask them what year model car they have and which wheels/tires they have on it. All season traction was added in 1997 and was improved with the addition of DSC in '99 (or was it the '00 model year?). Each step was a significant improvement.

    The sports package includes larger wheels and tires which are optimized for dry pavement handling. They will do noticeably worse in wet/slick conditions. If you have a sports package then the need for dedicated snow tires is greater.
  • Has anybody had any experience with good lease terms on a new 325i?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I have a '97 328i and it does acceptably well on snow/ice. Not spectacular, but you don't fishtail when you throttle, either. 50/50 weight distribution and traction control help a lot.

    Uphill ice/snow traction is where a RWD car can suffer.

    If i lived in a northern climate with hills, i would definitely consider AWD. As is, it seems unnecessary for me.

    dave
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