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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • msj330msj330 Posts: 1
    A quick thank you to all on this board for getting me through the 12 weeks from order to delivery of my 330i, pp, sp last Thursday. I thought all of those who whined about the wait were exactly that, whiners... until about week seven when I nearly lost my mind, having read the 3 series brochure 125 times.

    As previously posted by another purchaser, when I went to the dealership to pick up my car, my brains nearly spilled out of my head! Comments on the first week... well, most of you already own bimmers so, you know...

    The car represents an evolution as my first two cars were also had a straight six:

    1972 Datsun 240Z
    1974 Datsun 260Z
    1986 Honda Accord
    1981 Alfa Romeo Spyder (still have it!)
    1989 Acura Legend
    2000 Toyota 4runner (my wife's)
    2002 330i

    Thanks again,

  • orkwisorkwis Posts: 82
    Fire is antiseptic too...thanks for the info, makes sense, but leaves open the possibility that a lower rated tire could be made that has good lateral stability.
  • sbelfonsbelfon Posts: 3
    Thanks for the heads up on a possible suspension problem to those who wrote. '98E36 w/40,000. I will investigate and get back to the board with results.

    In the spirit of sharing, I have Z rated tires and heard some squaking (not here) about tire noise with the higher rated tires but I really do not notice increased noise level. I will say that I feel totally comfortable at 100mph with my tires, Bridestone Potenza S-03 (Pole Positions), and I think some of that has to do with knowing my tires are qualified for the speed. Winter tires is another story in the noise department but for the traction and safety would not go any other way.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I have mixed opinions on this HP issue/large engines. I am not a tree hugger but Europeans do tend to be environmental minded. Yes, we Americans buy a large portion of the BMWs out there but we are not the only consumer. This is why BMW/M-B/Audi sell a lot of 4-cyl 1.6L,1.8L, 2.0L and 2.3L as well as diesels. Yes, a Camry V6 3.0L might pump out 200 HP, but is it useable. What is straight line performance going to do for you on a curvy Rocky Mountain road? At 260 H.P., did the G35 blow out the 330i? Especially given that the 330i had to give up 0.5L in engine displacement. After reading these posts, the argument is, are BMWs worth the money? Yes, BMWs have some hefty prices but I believe that I get what I pay for. If I wanted straight up, the best performance for my money. I would buy a Subaru WRX. It's not pretty but it is quick and can handle the twisties. The European in me does not want to see the German marques bend over for American interests. Like I have said before, Lexus, Infiniti and Acura are pretty much American cars. Check the Japanese websites for Honda, Nissan and Toyota are try to look for the some of the U.S. models. I have also posted the fact that you cannot give away a Camry in Europe. I feel the only thing that we should try to get from the German marques is Japanese like reliability.
    I think Motor Trend(don't remember) did a excellent comparo with the Lotus Elise. This is not a high HP car but it was made for the track. It has the mannerism of a go kart. I really want to know what do people expect in their BMW.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Very well put. The mentality the more HP is better is just plain off base. I'm okay spending the money on a BMW, because it's smooth as butter, and for what it's worth, I haven't had this type of fuel economy in years. It's nice filling up almost once every two weeks.

    That is not to say I wouldn't mind faster bigger stronger engines. But the arguement bigger is better, is not necessarily the fact.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,106
    This subject has been beaten to death. Horsepower is just part of the equasion. Sure an Altima has 240 horsepower (mostly for marketing/advertising purposes), and a Camry & Accord both Have 200 horsepower vs 184 for the BMW 325i, but look at how differently the cars are geared, how their respective engine's power is spread out in the powerband, and more importantly how they handle. 16 extra horsepower doesn't mean a whole helluva lot when you're talking about a 3000 lb car (unless you're talking for marketing purposes). Also the Altima/Accord/Camry compete with the 325i. It is kind of like the people who say "I won't drive a four cylinder car because they're slow."

    Many here have said that the 330 would be nice to have, but they are still trying to master the 184hp of the 325's I-6.

    My Saab's lowly 2.0L Turbocharged 4 banger pumps out a meager 185hp (15 less than your magical 200hp mark). The torque peaks at around 1950RPM and the car gets out of its own way when I need it to.

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

  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    I agree, the more horse doesn't mean it goes faster, it is all how the car can displace all that power to the wheel. I'd put my 325i on a race track any day against an altima, maxima, or camry! I'd bet you my 325 that it will keep up with the pack or even surpass them.
    I'd pay for bmw's reputation of an ultimate driving machine, and i do it again never thinking twice about those other wanna be's.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    Is a limited slip differential available with a 3 outside of the M cars? I have noticed traction control being marketed in place of L/S by an increasing number of car mfgs; a poor substitute in IMHO. If L/S isn't available when did BMW stop offering limited slip in the 3?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I'm sure there is an interesting reason why there LSD isn't available as an option. Could it be that it really doesn't provide any measurable increase in overall performance? In spite of what claims to the contrary might be.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    A guy at work bought his at Alexander BMW in Bell. I'd never even heard of them. They're in a REALLY bad area & send a flatbed truck to his house (approx 50 miles south) to pick up his car for a service. No lie. It's because people don't want to drive there. He said he shopped around everywhere and got the best deal from them on a used car, apparently they're quite a big dealership, also he did everything sight unseen to the point of signing papers & sending a check via Fedex & having the car delivered.
  • burrsrburrsr Posts: 255
    I, too, am curious as to the LSD evolution. I know, for example, that our 2001 Z3 does, in fact, have a LSD as standard equipment as well as standard DSC. I wonder if there's a specific reason for having on the Z3 and not the (non-M) 3-series...usually it's a relatively low-cost feature that generally improves handling characteristics, so why no LSD on the 3? Was it ever available on previous-generation 3's (which may explain why it's there for the Z3, since it was based on the previous-previous-generation 3's chassis)?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The folks over at Dinan will sell you a 3.15 LSD for about $1,500 (plus labor) for most (if not all) E46 sedans and coupes (ie. non-RagTops).

    See their product offering list at

    Best Regards,
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    First the points I agree with:

    1. A BMW is a good value. Not only because of handling and performance (since that is of subjective importance to each individual), but because of the amount of performance, luxury, and technology (which can't be understated: DSC, brake assist, steptronic, all those air bags, suspension and steering design, etc.). When you think that you can get all that, plus prestige, for under $30,000 without having to buy a 4-cyl (or turbo-charged) car, now, that's a good value. When you look at the technology of an Acura TL, or the performance of a Passat V6, they really don't compare, and IMO are not better values.

    2. Nissan engines utilize larger displacement, and are slightly less efficient in delivering HP.

    3. Camrys and the other cars we are discussing don't handle or feel like a BMW, and are therefore less fun to drive fast.

    4. Europeans have different needs, desires, terrain, incomes, and driving styles than Americans. If I had to pay $4.00/gallon for gas, drive on those skinny city streets, and make my living in their marginal economies, I'd drive a 1.8L manual as well.

    4. We don't necessarily need BMWs to be more Americanized (except for that interior storage issue, come on!). That's what Audi is for.

    What I don't agree with:

    1. In most cases, more horsepower IS better. Just like more wattage in stereo equipment, or having more money. The only relative penalties are in fuel economy (minor in the case of BMWs I6's) and insurance costs. I wager nobody on this Board who has a 325i would refuse a straight up trade for an equally equipped 330i of the same model year. "Ah, thank you, I am afraid of that extra power at low RPM..."??? Get outa here!

    2. Nissans and other performance oriented Japanese cars make very good use of the extra HP. Especially in RWD models. In Nissans (and I know, I have one) as well as Acuras, Toyotas and Hondas, that power is usually available in low RPM situations (where most Americans drive, most of the time).

    3. BMWs are becoming more Americanized, like it or not. Check the differences between the last two generations and the E46, and the demise of the 318i in America. This is a reality. You can sit on the beach and command the tide not to come in, but you're still going to be all wet.

    4. I predict (note: "predict", not guarantee) that the next generation (note: not the 2003) 3-series will have a base I6 engine of 200 HP (probably a 2.8L), and the upgrade model will have 250 HP (who know what displacement). It will be slightly larger and heavier, and will have better cup holders (for what they're worth). And BMW will sell even more of them worldwide (which, last time I checked includes America), just like they sell more E46s than the last generation.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,106
    I'll try to answer your question, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Your Z3 is equipped with a Limited Slip Differential due to the fact that the engine (I-6) puts more power than the chassis can cope with. The underpinnings of your Z3 are based on the E30 3 series.

    The E46 does not "need" LSD due to the fact that the platform was developed in conjunction with the more powerful I-6 engines in mind.

    I hope that helps you out.

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

  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    Thanks. I hope I can post an experience similar to yours soon.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I presume that certain 3ers don't come with an LSD because they are not needed to sell the vehicle. With traction control, the vehicles can get by in rain, sleet and snow although engaging the brakes is NOT the same as limiting wheelspin at the carrier.

    Anyway, I see the Z3 as something obviously sporting. Some people do buy Z3s just for daily use, but they as a whole expect more sporting performance than a 3 series and lighting up that inside tire exiting a corner just isn't all that sporting.

    And I've driven a 330 with DSC-- the hand of God isn't very subtle with the traction control IMO. I had a lot more fun just switching it off and didn't spin the tires much and NEVER got out of shape.

  • gotenks243gotenks243 Posts: 116
    "Nissan also has raised the bar on bigger engines and pollution and worse gas mileage just like everybody else. The 3.5L barely if at all beats the 3.0L at the expense of the above. I do a lot of mixed driving and some with a heavy foot (big grin) and I average 24.5-25. The 3.0L is a very well rounded indeed.

    Yes Nissan is making everybody look at HP, at the expense of gas mileage and pollution. "

    For what it's worth, the 3.5 liter 260hp V6 G35 gets better EPA fuel economy with a slushbox than the 3.0 liter 215hp I6 IS300 does with either a slushbox or a manual. And the IS300 even weighs less. Displacement and weight are not the end alls when it comes to fuel economy.

    Sure the G35 doesn't get the epa mileage of the 3 series, but it's not like it's some 16/20 mpg car with smog coming out of the tail pipe. It's not the scourge of the earth or anything. Yes it could have less hp and better fuel efficiency if tuned right, but that sort of thing isn't going to happen as long as gas is cheap in America and the CAFE standards are low.

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    "I really want to know what do people expect in their BMW."

    good handling... check.
    telepathic steering... roger.
    reasonable comfort... got it.
    enough power... yep.
    light weight... uh-oh, this one appears to be a problem. a 3000lb 330Ci would be nice. "Build it and they will come."
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    Just a few quick ones...

    Speed ratings on tires also have a lot to do with the tire's heat dissipation properties. To be able to avoid overheating @ speed is typically a "Sports car" type of requirement, so sidewall stiffness and traction tend to follow from there. You also tend to end up with a compound that's lousy at cold (read: Winter) temperatures.

    On HP, I'd have to say "more is better" like Vic Elford would have said about the Porsche 917-30-001 (IIRC, he told the engineers that he wanted enough power to break the wheels loose at 200mph+ on the Mulsanne Straightway. They gave him 1,200HP), but within the real world, its only within the context of equal cost, equal reliability, equal MPG, equal this, equal that, and the one that I'm going to emphasize, namely equal vehicle weight distribution. It doesn't really do you all that much good to add +50HP if it also makes the car nose-heavy and thus, poorer handling and slower through the corners. In any event, its not like most USA drivers have sufficient driving skills to handle the amount of horsepower & performance that even a mere 325i delivers. But we do like to drag race, so we feel we have to have that straight line power.

  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    A 3.0 liter 330 with 260HP (maybe utilizing valvetronic) and weighing only 3000lbs would be a dream.

    I have to say that HP is not everything, but it is something. Additional HP means smoother and more effortless acceleration at any level whether you intend to go 0-60 in 6 seconds or 12. I am in the market for a new BMW, but I am seriously considering waiting another year since the 2003 is virtually unchanged. There is nothing wrong with the current 330, but the car does not exist in a vacuum. The entire market segment has shifted with the '03 model year and BMW cannot ignore this (and I am sure that they have not). Look at what happened to the 318--for those who own one, it may still bring satisfaction, but no owner of an E46 330 would be able to stand that car for more than about 10 minutes.

    Does anyone speculate about a mid year change?

    Will the 330 ever get a 6speed manual? The G35 raises the bar -- the coupe will have 275HP and a 6 speed.

    What will 2004 hold?

    Should I wait or should I just pull the trigger and get an '03 330? All opinions welcome.
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