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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier

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  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    It is my understanding too that the 325 will not get the 6-spd. Frankly, it would be overkill for an engine that size.

    I put my summer tires back on today. The steering is noticeably heavier and it also offers better feedback. Braking in the dry is also noticeably better and so is handling.
  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    My younger brother and I used to drag race the classics back in the sixties. Being immature for our ages it is still in our blood and last fall I challenged him with my 2001 Acura TL against his BMW 330i (not sure of the year but it has a 225 HP 5 sp man). We were up at our family place in Vermont on a deserted highway with a one mile straight run which eases into a slight curve and then a few hairpins. From a dead stop 0 to seventy my TL beats him by a full car length consistently. He is a great stick driver and chirps those power shifts but the Torqy Acura jumps out too quick to catch up. Starting at a slow roll however, he beats me by about half a car length. Going from point A to point B on a twisty road is a different story. My poor TL (which is no handling slouch) always winds up in his rear view mirror. I can't wait for the summer to run him with my new 330i six speed. Wish I had the ZHP 3:08 rear. Hey guys how much would the dealer charge to swap me out? Anyone know?

    Dan
  • nevcoolnevcool Posts: 20
    Hi,

    I'm looking at a 2001 330xi Auto. It has the Cold Weather and the Premium Packages, Leather, and Harmon Kardon. It has 56,000 miles, but is in excellent condition inside and out(It does have new 17inch tires. It is going for $25 thousand and I can buy a 4 yr 40 thousand mile extended Warranty for $1275.

    I just want to see if this is a good deal? I may jump on it pretty fast.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Keep in mind that more and more cars are coming out with 6-speed manuals. Hope BMW takes note that the upcoming Acura TSX, which only has a 2.4L I4 engine, comes standard with a 6-speed manual. You can already get 6-speed manual in Nissan Maxima. And the G35 has 6-speed. Plus the forthcoming Mazda RX8. These cars have price points firmly in 325i territory!

    If anything, the smaller 2.5L I6 needs a 6-speed more than the 3.0L I6. The additional gear and changes in spacing intervals can wring the most out of the smaller engine. But guessin' BMW isn't doing it for the E46 325i to hold down costs and to differentiate the lowly 325i from its much more expensive 330i brother.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    You should read what AutoWeek wrote about the next generation 3 Series. In the 3/17/03 issue. AW claims "it goes into production at the end of 2005." They also state "Transmission choices will include a new standard six-speed manual (with available [SMG] shifting) and an optional 6-speed automatic."

    Looks like all next generation USA 3 Series 6-cyl cars will have 6 speeds: both manual and automatic!

    5-speeds are dying, just like 4- and 3-speeds before them!
  • wateverwatever Posts: 7
    I am thoroughly enjoying my new 325 coupe (Manual, moonroof, Xenons, Sport Pkg) I picked up this week. I was wondering if there is anyone out there from the Delaware Valley (Southern NJ, Eastern PA, Delaware) that have a favorite country road where you can wind it out and appreciate that great handling. thanks in advance.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    <<< But guessin' BMW isn't doing it for the E46 325i to hold down costs and to differentiate the lowly 325i from its much more expensive 330i brother. >>> I think this is the more likely reason.

    The 325 manual already has a pretty aggressive gearing. The only advantage of a 6-th gear as I see it would be for fuel economy but considering I can already get 30 mpg on the highway, that's not an issue for me at all. You're probably right that the 5-spd is a dying breed but I would not want a 6-spd in my car just because most competitors' models have it. It's still a marketing gimmick more than anything else.
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    Cruising at 75mph on the highway, my 325i runs over 3000 rpm which seems quite high and loud to me. Yeah, I've got good acceleration if I stomp on it, but I would definately prefer a 6 speed to lower the RPM's for the noise alone.

    -murray
  • imadroneimadrone Posts: 33
    I can appreciate the various points of view regarding the 6 speed for the 325, but I for one, would gladly pay a $600-900$ premium for an optional 6 speed on the 325iT. Having an overdrive gear is not to me "gimmicky" at all---especially here in the west with long, straight stretches with minimal traffic. Dropping one's RPM by 15-25% at 70-80 MPH is not only more economical, but certainly practical for engine longevity. So why not simply make it an an extra cost option? I do think, however, that a final drive of .75-.80 would be more advantageous than the present .85.

    Richard
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Properly geared 6-speed should increase acceleration (by having numerically higher first and second gears) and facilitate fuel- and noise-efficient high speed cruising (by having an overdrive 6th gear, numerically lower than the direct drive 5th gear). If I'm going to cruise at 70-90 mph for long periods of time, I'd much rather have an overdrive to reduce engine RPMs, boost fuel economy, and lower engine noise.

    This should hold true for 325i as well as 330i, as it already does with the 540i6. Thus it should be a win-win! Too bad BMW is waiting so long for the 325i.

    And this is likely one reason why Acura, Infiniti, Mazda, MB, Nissan, etc. are using 6-speeds in this price point and target market. Not to mention that now these marques and models will have a marketing advantage over the 325i.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,574
    Well, those of you who subscribe to autoweek read the great article about being the car guy and other who ask for your advice and then do exactly the opposite of what you advise them to do. Here's kind of an opposite senario:

    My buddy in SoCal leases a 2001 Range Rover (I know, totally unecessary) is way over his mileage (but he writes it all off anyway) and owns a 1996 Audi A4 2.8. Needless to say, he hasn't driven the Audi in about 2.5 years since leasing his Range Rover. He took the car out for a drive an noticed there was lots wrong with it. He took it to a dealer and they diagnosed more than $3000 to get it running again in perfect condition. He said to himself that he would rather trade the car into a dealer and get something new (the dealer is obviously going to just send the Audi to auction) rather than try to sell it.

    His favorite car that he's ever owned was his 1995 E36 325is (5 spd, SP...). He considered a CPO 330Ci, but they sell so ridculously close to original sticker in SOCal. BMWs are somewhat ubiquitous in Orange County, so he was looking for something a little different.

    He liked the G35 Coupe (don't worry, I'm not going into the whole G vs. 3 discussion), but wouldn't get one due to the "holier than thou attitude" of the Infiniti dealer who told him they're leasing the cars at MSRP and you have to order one with a $2000 deposit. He told the Infiniti dealer where to stick it.

    He then went to his local Honda dealer thinking he would get something just to get him back and forth to work. The EX V6 Accord w/ a 6 speed looked nice and stickers for $28K w/ Navigation. The Honda dealer told him that they are only being allocated 1 per month and the selling price is $4k above MSRP. He walked out laughing.

    He asked me what he should do. I told him that he's always complaining that nothing is like his BMW, so why don't you just get another BMW. He had a friend who bought a car at Long Beach BMW with a positive experience and headed there.

    He wanted a 330Ci with SP, Leather, Sunroof, & Bi-Xenons. He spoke to the salesman and the salesman told him all about the '04s with the 6 speed and such. My friend needs a car now (due to his dying Audi and high mileage Range Rover) and asked what they had on the lot. He said, they have a 2003 330Ci sitting on the lot that they're willing to part with. The car has a lot more options than he wanted. It is Black with Black Leather, SP, 5 Speed, PP, Xenons, 18" Wheels, Navigation, & CWP After some negotiations, he and the dealer agreed to $1000 over invoice. He's picking up the car on Monday.

    Sorry for the long post folks. Everybody's probably out driving anyways. What a gorgeous day outside!

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

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    <<<Properly geared 6-speed should increase acceleration (by having numerically higher first and second gears) and facilitate fuel- and noise-efficient high speed cruising (by having an overdrive 6th gear, numerically lower than the direct drive 5th gear).>>> All generally true but same goes for a 7-th gear, 8-th gear, etc. Why stop with 6?
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    Hmmm, good point. Perhaps a continously variable transmission would be the best bet :-)

    I have 18 speeds (2x9) on my road bike and I wouldn't mind more.

    -murray
  • That seems like a nice price for an '01 xi. I recently had my eye on an '01 at a local dealership which was priced at about 33K (I live in the Philadelphia suburbs). It did not move and the last time I saw it was marked down to around 30. I believe that it does not have the PP or the Sport by the way, although it does have some goodies (moonroof).

    Of course, that car also does not have the mileage on it that the car that you are considering does. I forget the miles but I think that it was in the low 20's.

    Here is a recommendation: go out to the bmwusa website and do a vehicle search for 3 series sedans in your region (you can vary the radius of the search around your zip code). That should give you a reasonable idea of the deal that you are being presented with.

    I am tempted to say that it is a nice price, but am not expert and you need to do a bit more homework. (The other thing that is interesting is that it seems the dealership is not willing to put it in the 'certified' program; that makes me wonder if there is something in the car's history that scares them off. Perhaps it is simply that the mileage is too high.)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    brave1heart... Isn't MB working on their 7-speed transmission? Not to mention that Audi and Nissan have their CVTs.

    Yes, in most cases, more gears are "better" (i.e., promote efficiency and improve performance). How many times do you hear people moaning the unavailability 3-speed and 4-speed manual transmissions?

    This also holds true for automatics. Must be one reason why BMW and others are moving to 6-speed automatics. Don't think anyone wants an old 3-speed automatic. Or ancient GM 2-speed.
  • That seems like a nice price for an '01 xi. I recently had my eye on an '01 at a local dealership which was priced at about 33K (I live in the Philadelphia suburbs). It did not move and the last time I saw it was marked down to around 30. I believe that it does not have the PP or the Sport by the way, although it does have some goodies (moonroof).

    Of course, that car also does not have the mileage on it that the car that you are considering does. I forget the miles but I think that it was in the low 20's.

    Here is a recommendation: go out to the bmwusa website and do a vehicle search for 3 series sedans in your region (you can vary the radius of the search around your zip code). That should give you a reasonable idea of the deal that you are being presented with.

    I am tempted to say that it is a nice price, but am not expert and you need to do a bit more homework. (The other thing that is interesting is that it seems the dealership is not willing to put it in the 'certified' program; that makes me wonder if there is something in the car's history that scares them off. Perhaps it is simply that the mileage is too high.)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Or ancient GM 2-speed."

    Do you mean the old "Slip and Slide Power Glide"? I used to have one of those on my old Chevy Vega. :-/ Needless to say, I have become a little more discerning in my vehicle choices since then. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • pab5pab5 Posts: 20
    My 2003 Ci convertible with Sport package has 5600 miles and the contis seem to be holding up and showing no wear. Any experiences out there?
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    Keep on shredding the tires. You only live once.

    seiv: Your assessment of the 360modena was correct. I would watch you in the slalom and then you would come out of the cones and you were driving right on the edge. Your car was screaming and everyone would turn and watch you as you came around the turn and then hit the brakes at the end of it. The Ferrari was a disappointment. He never really let go of it. He was babying the car too much.

    He did better at the autocross though. His best time was about 1/2 second faster than my best time. That car was beautiful.
  • memphis10memphis10 Posts: 161
    Someone mentioned that the 6 speed manual will be only for the 3.0 liter engine or bigger and a 6 speed on a 2.5L will be an overkill. Lots of manufacturers are putting 6 speed manual trannies on their cars even for small engines: Mercedes C230, C240; Nissan Maxima (bigger engine, off course) ; Audi A4. I think that 5 speed will become obsolete by MY 05. Do you still think BMW will offer 5 speed on 325 for MY 04 ?????
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The CVT transmissions give you an "infinite" number of gears. But for most purposes 6 speeds will probably give you most of what you need. A big engine does not need a really low gear and a small engine can't use a really high gear (overdrive).

    The powerglide dates back to the 1950's. What did BMW have then?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fjk... Not sure I'd agree with your statement that "a small engine can't use a really high gear (overdrive)".

    Don't all current BMW automatics have an overdrive 5th? (Didn't even the previous 4-speed automatics use an overdrive 4th?) Thinking the 325ia's is a 0.75, which is numerically lower than the 0.82 on my 540i6.

    There are a ton of cars with small engines that have decently deep overdrives, including on both manual and automatic transmission versions. I can't think of a single small engine economy car sold in USA with an automatic transmission that doesn't have an overdrive top gear.

    Ultimately, it is the interaction of the overall gear ratio (final drive x individual gear ratio) with the engine's output curve that determines whether the setup is efficient and effective.

    I don't mind needing to downshift out of top gear to pass or accelerate. An automatic does that automatically. I just need to do it myself in my cars with manual transmissions. That is what lower gears are for at speed if I also want efficient high speed cruising in top gear.
  • 3catmom3catmom Posts: 13
    Hey - I'm new to the board here. After years of reading about BMWs here at Edmund's, I finally picked up my 2003 330i this weekend. I LOVE it! But, I have a question regarding the daytime running lights. I think I'm following the instructions correctly. The headlights turn off automatically when I shut off the car but, the dashboard lights stay lit. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong? Thanks!
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The overdrive ratio and the axle ratio are not independent of each other. Somehow you do not seem to understand this. The automatic BMW's come with a different axle ratio than the manuals in general.

    Anyway, a big V8 with lots of torque can run at a lower engine speed and still pull fairly well than a 4 cylinder engine with less than half the torque. So the small engine will need to run a bit faster in high gear to pull the car along comfortably.

    In particular:
     the 540 comes with a 2.81:1 axle ratio and the overdrive is 0.8 for an overall ratio of 2.25:1
     the 530 comes with 3.46:1 axle ratio (automatic) and overdrive is 0.75 for an overall ratio of 2.6:1 and the 330 is 3.38:1 with overdrive of .76 giving an overall ratio of 2.57:1

    BMW is running the smaller sixes faster than the V8s.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fjk... I'm quite familiar with the individual gear ratios in the 3 and 5 Series transmissions as well as the different final drive ratios. The overall ratio per gear is the individual ratio multiplied by the final drive ratio. That is why both are important. And manufacturer's select carefully to take into account the desired outcome, as the ratios interact with the engine's output curve. A "poor" final drive can undercut what might be otherwise decent individual gear ratios and vice versa.

    Better comparisons are between the 325i and 330i--both automatics and manuals of each. Compare the individual gear ratios, final drives, and overall ratios.

    Many vehicles can be had with different final drive ratios (esp. vehicles that tow heavy loads). Just take the 540ia. The Sport model gives you the more aggressive, "hotter" 3.15:1 final drive. This boosts acceleration performance in all gears versus the numerically lower final drive in the non-Sport 540ia. The overall ratio is higher in every gear. But it also means the engine turns higher RPMs in each gear, esp. at higher speeds. And say hello to the gas guzzler tax. That is the trade off. (Though some of this is created by the way the EPA tests.)

    Yes, the 3 Series automatics with overdrive use more aggressive final drives. But they also end up with a lower overall ratio in top gear. They use the numerically higher ratio to improve acceleration performance since there will be efficiency losses and the overdrive to gain increased efficiency at higher speeds. A 6 speed manual will essentially do the same.

    (One of my favorite set ups today is the Acura 3.2TL Type S. Believe its 5-speed automatic uses a 0.47:1 5th gear in conjunction with a 4.11:1 final drive. Great acceleration and great highway fuel economy. The overall ratio in 5th gear in this car is lower than that in any current 3 or 5 Series. Check out the overdrive ratio in the Corvette.)
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    All I am saying is that no matter how many gears there are, in the end the overall ratio is what matters. There is no difference in having a 4:1 axle ratio with a 0.75 overdrive and having no overdrive and a 3:1 axle ratio. The final ratio is still 3:1 (assuming a 1:1 high gear otherwise).

    BMW is adding a 6th gear to their 5 speed and the 6th gear is an overdrive. They have also changed the first gear a little, but the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th gears are essentially the same. This 6th gear will allow the 330 to run a bit slower at cruise, but I do not see that it gives the car much improvement in performance otherwise.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fjk... Whether it is for the 330i or 325i, the use of a 6-speed manual vis-a-vis today's 5-speed manual, with the new transmission's gear ratios as already described earlier (by shipo?), will increase acceleration in 1st gear and improve fuel efficiency in top gear. That is a win-win. And likely why Acura, Infiniti, Mazda, MB, Nissan, etc. have moved to 6-speeds.

    And as we both know, the overall ratios in top gear for the automatics are different than the manuals. The use of the automatic's overdrive offsets the automatic's higher numerical final drive, to give a lower overall ratio in 5th gear.

    I believe BMW has chosen its current final drive ratios and non-overdrive 5th (and, thus, the resulting overall ratio in 5th) to satisfy those drivers who don't want to have to downshift to pass or who need to accelerate in top gear on interstates/autobahns. BMW could gear the current manual transmissions similarly to the 5-speed automatics if they wanted to.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fjk...

    In top gear...

    325i manual is 1.00 x 3.15 = 3.15
    330i manual is 1.00 x 2.93 = 2.93
    325i auto is 0.74 x 3.46 = 2.56
    330i auto is 0.74 x 3.38 = 2.50

    BMW has varied final drives (4 different ones) and 5th gear gearing (2 different ones).

    EPA figures are:

    325i auto = 19/27 mpg
    330i auto = 19/27 mpg
    325i manual = 20/29 mpg
    330i manual = 21/30 mpg

    33
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    3catmom-

    Congratulations on your new 330! I still love my 325i a year after I bought it.

    Regarding the daytime running lights, there are a number of options the dealer can set for the car and some specific to the key used. Things like how many times you push the key fob to unlock all the doors, automatic locking of the doors at 5 mph and daytime running lights. Ask your dealer for a list or perhaps someone has a link.

    Activating the DRL's turns on the middle two "brights" (halogen lights if you have xenon's) to a lower level when the light switch is turned off or the middle position. Turning the light switch to on the main headlights (outer two) and turns off the DRL's. You should turn the light switch to off when you stop the car regarless of DRL's.

    I opted for the DRL's for the small amount of extra visibility plus I can leave my xenon's off around dusk, dawn or when it's cloudy. You can also turn on your fog lights with the DRL's.

    -murray
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I would not want 1-st gear in my 325 to be any shorter because it would max out too fast. I don't much care for an overdrive because it would only give me (maybe) a couple of extra mpg at the expense of responsiveness. I like the responsiveness I get out of a direct 5-th gear. Does anyone know how much weight a 6-th gear adds BTW?!?

    If you can't get the most out of the car with 5 gears, a 6-spd will do you no good (the law of diminishing returns comes ot mind). Unless it helps you feel better about yourself because everybody else has it.
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