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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier

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  • If you have michelon pilots than I would find other means of transportation. I had them on my Mer clk430. The car had NO traction when as much as a trace of snow hit the ground. I would also agree that you would probably be fine with the right type of performance tire. Why don't you go on tirerack and see how your tires perform in the snow.
  • Hi,

    I'm planning to buy one of the three listed over the next week, but I can't decide. I really need someone to tell me what to get and why. Here are some of my reasons for and against each.

    A4 1.8TQ - Manual
    Pro - Best looking of the bunch inside and out, Quatro, The cheapest of the 3.
    Con - Even with a manual it seems a little sluggish. Very poor cupholders(I do a lot of driving, often with a beverage in tow). I've heard about some quality problems.

    325xi - Manual
    Pro - Best handling, Sport seats w/sport package. AWD
    Con - The Most expensive when options are put on ie sport, premium, cold.

    2002 Saab 9-5 Aero
    Pro - Price (I think that I can get a loaded 2002 Aero for around $31,500). 250 HP.A back seat built for adults. A fair amount of decent options.

    Con - Somewhat dated design. FWDrive. Would probably have to buy snow tires
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You've already done your reasearch, what else are you looking for? Maybe you need to look further into reliability, resale, dealer network, financing etc. Are you looking to lease or buy?

    I'm not sure this particular forum is the right place for this, maybe start another comparison thread for these cars.

    One more thing, I think the BMW is the best looking of the bunch. :)
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you choose the SAAB, LEASE IT! The leases are heavily subsidized by SAAB USA and late model SAABs resale values drop like a very heavy aerodynamic rock. In any event, in a few years they will be nothing more than rebodied Saturns...
  • Very easy question for you to answer. Get the one you like the best and can afford. All cars offer trade-offs. Which one made you smile the most when you drove it? Which one best suits your needs? One way to decide that might be helpful is to assign a point rating to the various categories that are important to you and rate them 1-10 in each. Add up the points and see what you get. Or better yet, throw all the "logic" out the window and get the one that "feels" best to you. I for one have never made a mistake when I've trusted my instincts.
    Hope that helped.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I totally agree with div2 on Saabs. Resale value will kill you if you buy it. It's an uninspiring car to drive anyhow. If AWD is the most important feature you are looking for, you should probably get the A4 because of the Quattro's superior capabilities. That said, there's not much else about the car that I'd prefer over an E46. We have an '01 A4 with the old chassis and I find the engine very non-linear, barely adequate even with a manual, and a little too harsh at idle speed. The new A4s are much heavier and will be even slower. Throw in the ignition coil problems that A4 has turned into a PR disaster recently and you're looking at a likely drop in resale value. It seems to me that the more other competitors try to steal market share from the 3-series and the more they miss, the better the E46 looks. Often imitated, never duplicated.
  • I cannot decide between the 325xi and the 330xi. I have poured over the specs, and as far as I can see the differences are mostly about the engine. This is my first BMW (from a Jeep!), and the difference will be so extreme anyway that I'm wondering just how much difference I would notice/want/need. Of course, I'll feel the differences in test drives, but I would like to be prepared in advance. I'm drawn to the 330xi, but with the new leasing deal on the 325xi I'm torn and thought I'd hit you guys up for feedback. Thanks for the help!!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Other than difference in options between the 330xi and the 325xi, the 3L has noticeably more grunt especially at the lower end then the 2.5L.

    I think you have to decide whether this is worth it to you. I have driven the automatic versions of both the 330 and 325 back to back. That said people have said the 325 with the auto is sluggish, but with the manual it's a different story.

    The 330i is like a rocket and the small engine size in comparision to some of the competition who claim substantial leads in hp and torque, doesn't belie the fact that no matter where you are in the power band, this engine moves the car and is smooth as silk.

    It all boils down to the extra $$$ and the feeling you want from the car.
  • denkdenk Posts: 75
    When driving on the expressway at night, I find the auto-dimming mirror much too dark, almost to the point of being a safety hazzard. Do you all notice this? Maybe mine gets darker than it is supposed to but I don't recall seeing any comments. My wife's car has a switch on the auto dimming mirror that disengages the feature. I wish BMW would change this feature so that it could be switched on or off.

    Although designed for driver convenience,I find the automatic turn-on of the rear window defroster when the temperature is below 39 degrees to be a little annoying. When I turn on the heater fan the first thing I have to do is turn off the rear defroster since I don't seem to need it very often.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    The auto-dimming mirror is a safety and a license hazard too - you cannot tell what type of car is behind you.

    I don't have the auto defrost in my 325i - I guess that was part of the premium package?!?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I am thinking along the same lines about the mirror. There ought to be a deactivate feature for the auto-dimming mirror.

    As far as auto-rear-defrost function. I agree here also. It annoys me to have to turn it off. Other than the design of the off switch fot the climate control, I like the system very much for the following reasons:

    1. The adjustable temperature front-vents are a nice feature. Although it's been a long time since I've had them in a car. My last car was a '94 Maxima.
    2. The settings rarely have to be adjusted and the system is great at keeping the temperature constant.
    3. The auto button can be pressed for auto fan regulation without turning on the A/C.
    4. The air can be directed upward without turning on the A/C or activating the "turbo" defrost mode. Or if you want one touch defrost, it's there also. Additionally, there is added flexibility in being able to direct the air anywhere that is wanted.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    What is this??? Even though my car has rarely seen temps in the 30's, I have never seen this function. Does the manual mention this?
  • Don't have this on my '01 330i with premium and didn't have it on my '00 323 with premium. Never heard of it. May be one of the programmable features you can have the dealer set for you but I've never even heard of them being able to do this. The only thing my car does is when the temp hits 37 deg the temp on the OBC starts to beep.
  • Is anyone aware of the new pricing for the 2004 models? I was all reday to purchase a 2003 325C but decided to wait for the 2004 model since it's only just a couple months away. Dealer told me that the price will probably go up by $700 to 750 at the most.
    Also how much should I expect to pay for a new model? Since I probably need to make a special order (I want Sport Pkg, Moonroof, heated seats, manual), will I have any room to shave off the MSRP? B/c I am thinking that if I need to pay close to MSRP, then I might as well go the ED route. Appreciate your input.
  • Your concern about having to pay MSRP for special order is the very reason why I never considered it. Every dealer I have encountered told me that you will pay MSRP for special order(I never raised the question to everyone but I think you get my point)While I was negotiating for either a 330i or 325ci (all in stock vehicles or cars on the way)it had occurred to me that none of the vehicles I had to choose from were exactly what I wanted. I decided to put together a 330i exactly how I wanted and the vehicle came out around $400 less than the 330 vehicles in stock that I was deciding between. I went back to the dealer with the exact car that I wanted and explained that this is the only way you will see me in a BMW. He explained that the manager was putting pressure on them to sell cars in stock and that he would be happy to order my car. On top of that he lowered the lease payment which we negotiated on the in stock 330's. The end result;
    a lower lease payment on a special order. I do think that a few factors helped my situation.

    1. This was our second trip and both times we spent several hours there

    2. I already had a low ball figure on 330's in stock

    3. They were willing to work with me to avoid loosing a sale.

    4. He knew we had dealt with another BMW dealer before we came to see him

    I hope this info helped.
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    I debated between the 325 and 330 too. Most people say that the 325 is very nice BUT if they drive them back to back they end up preferring the 330. According to the stats, they both hang together overall BUT I can feel a difference in low end torque on the 330. But if you have a 325 with a manual you can rev that engine all the way to redline. Both inline 6's LOVE to rev and pull all the way to the top. Great engine!

    So, if you were to go 325, get the manual. If you think the extra 4-5k is worth the 330 and can afford it, get that. You wont be disapointed in either!!
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    Does anyone know if I can put 225's on my 17 x 7 rims? It is my 330i with the standard 17/205 tires- so im assuming they are 17 x 7 rims, right?

    When its time to replace my tires Id LIKE to get some 225's. Will they fit on my standard rims or would I have to get new rims too?

    If I have to get new rims, I probably just upgrade to 18" rims.

    Any input is apprciated- thanks!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    Did everybody see the facelifted 3 coupe in Car and Driver? I think it differentiates itself from the sedan less (I like the current front, but it doesn't matter what I think:) I'm sure I'll love it when I see 'em ripping around the streets.

    The 330i Performance Package seems like a good idea too. Hey, more power an extra cog in the tranny, stiffer suspension tuning are always a good thing. Has anybody heard anything on the price of this added on to a 2003 330i?

    I finally got a new computer (Dude, I got a DELL). And my cable modem will be arriving on SUnday, so I'll be posting on a regular basis.

    Things are going well for me at my Father's plumbing supply shop. It is definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.

    Since I'm back, I've got to stick my $.02 in. For $50 plus thousand dollars, it really angers me (I'd use more explicit language, but TH prohibits it) that the roads here are infested with H2 Hummers. Personally I'd take an M3 Coupe for that price, but hey, that's just me.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • denkdenk Posts: 75
    I have a 2002 325 with premium package. The automatic defrost feature is mentioned in the manual on page 99.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    Thanks. I guess I missed my window of opportunity to check this out. Maybe we might have frost next week.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    From boston.com:

    "Traffic speeds were restricted to 40 mph on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

    State police Sgt. David Pane said many of the minor accidents involved four-wheel drive vehicles, apparently with over-confident drivers at the wheel.

    "For some reason they feel, because they have that 4-wheel drive they can drive at an increased speed level without losing control," Pane said. "That's a myth."
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Hey, bud - good to see you back. Glad to hear that things are working out great at your dad's store. I figure the cold winter must be good for a plumbing supply store ;o)

    The ZHP is $3,900.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    Yeah, the cold weather is good for business. Pipes break, radiators crack, HW heaters go belly up... How's that old saying go?

    I can't believe all the snow we have here in the city. I'm glad I stuck my Prelude in a garage yesterday.

    I've been saying for years that 4WD helps you start and does nothing but add weight to increase your stopping distance.

    $3900...I guess that's a good bridge between a 330i and an M3.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Don't even get me started on the 4Wd debate, it's like saying all people in fast cars drive dangerously and always speed. Every car has it's uses and in this snow well a big monsta' SUV is the way to go.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    I went to dinner with a friend of mine who has a '98 E36 Dinan M3...WOW, what a car:) E36...still awesome:)

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I just had a scary moment on the interstate with my 2002 325. Passenger side airbag partially deployed causing a loud explosive noise and the car to stop. Luckily nobody was tailgating me at 80mph. This was definitely a malfunction. Has anybody else had problems with faulty airbags? Thanks.
    Howard
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    This weekend my wife and I had a birthday party for our son who turned nine years old last Thursday. The party started as a "Sleep Over", where my son had four of his buddies over on Saturday night, and then on to an establishment that has three very large multi-lane slot car tracks on Sunday. The party itself came off very well (the Mom and Dad didn’t get too much sleep, but other than that…), and all of the boys enjoyed the racing immensely.

    Being the car junkie that I am, as the parents did the drop-off/pick-up thing, I was keeping track of their automotive hardware, which went something like this:

    Boy #1: Mom – Mercedes-Benz ML430 & Dad – Hummer H2
    Boy #2: Dad – Chevy Suburban
    Boy #3: Mom – Toyota Sequoia & Dad – Land Rover Ranger Rover
    Boy #4: Dad – Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie Quad Cab Long Bed 4x4 (Cummins Diesel)

    On the way up to the slot car tracks (riding in our lowly Dodge Caravan), they were all bragging about the cool "Cars" that their parents drive, and my son chimed in, "My dad drives a 5-Series."

    The instant response, in harmony no less, was, "What's a 5-Series?"

    My son said, "A BMW, of course!"

    I don’t know who said it, but someone actually said, "Oh, you mean a CAR!"

    They then changed the subject; it was like my son had noisily passed gas at a Royal Wedding or something. Later, after all of his buddies had left, my son said, "Daddy, they just don't get it, do they?"

    "No son, they don't."

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    There is something about driving a land barge that desensitizes you to what driving could and should be like.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    I see your son has learned well:)

    I'm sure there's a real need for an ML430 and an H2 in a family. Maybe the guy owns a gas station. Also a Range Rover and a Sequoia seem very practical.

    Just think of what the jones' will think when they find out your 530i is a 5-speed, LOL!

    At least the Dodge is an oil burner...that's smart!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

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