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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier

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  • 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 http://www.dinanbmw.com

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 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,...no 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: 7,770
    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 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • 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.

    -Colin
  • 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.

    Mike
  • 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.

    -hh
  • 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.
  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    If you want big HP for your price, get a mustang and forget the nissans and it's counter [non-permissible content removed] cars. Good old american classic, get you there on some days, and others will be at Ford getting warranty work done.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    We're not comparing one manufacturer to another. We're looking a broad trends, not saying how one car compares to another. Today the sweet spot is 3.0, tomorrow it's moving to 3.3 and 3.5 liters. That's a bad trend. Not that you shouldn't be allowed to buy bigger engines, but the trend toward bigger is a harmful one to the environment.

    Maybe manufacturers ought to skinny down the size and boost performance with turbos and superchargers. But that has it's own set of isses.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,770
    I was actually never a fan of forced induction until I bought my Saab. I love that low end turbo torque and my engine seems to never "run out of breath." Neither does a BMW I-6 though. There are lots of arguements for and against forced induction whihc I don't plan to venture into. I do like how different manufacturers get similar power from numerous different engine configurations. These different engines are almost part of the manufacturers brand identity.

    BMW does it with an I-6, Audi does it with a 5 valve per cylinder V6 & Turbo 4, Mercedes-Benz does it with a 3 valve per cylinder V6 (although I read their switching back to 4 valve in the next few years)...

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • 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.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    This is just MHO, but I don't expect any significant changes in the 3-series for the remainder of this model line. It will get one or two new standard features each year (like the armrest, or similar), and a few new colors, wheels, etc., but I'd be shocked to see an engine change. As someone said earlier, 184 HP out of that 2.5L is pushing the limits. I doubt they could tweak it to 200HP. And nobody complains about the 330i, which was just upgraded from the 328i a couple years ago, so that will probably not be touched either. I'm sure I'll be quite happy w/my 2002 325i for the life of the lease.

    That said, I agree 100% that a little more HP makes acceleration more effortless at all speeds and in all situations. This is especially true for those of us with automatic, who drive in hilly terrain. It might make the difference between a downshift or a smoother acceleration. That's the great thing about my Maxima (190HP but gobs of low end torque). It will hold a gear on a hill like nobody's business, and feels REALLY strong below 3,000 RPM. Of course, some of this is the rather sluggish transmission, but the car can get away with it without bogging down on hills like most cars w/slow automatics.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    One more thing: I think the new model 3-series will come out in 2005. Can anyone corroborate that? These BMW models usually last for about 6 years.

    If I were you, and I was ready for a car, (and I could afford a 330 - you lucky dog!), I'd just pull the trigger and get the 2003 330i. If you lease for 3 years, you can replace it with the new model when it comes out. Also, you always get a worse deal on a brand new model, and no first year model, on average, even a Toyota or Honda, is as reliable as the second or third years, and so on. I've read documented evidence of that.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    Thanks. You may be right that I should just go ahead and get it. I am spending every waking moment thinking about it and so it is likely the money spent will be good for both a new car and increased productivity. I am reluctant, only because I like to keep cars a while (until about 100k miles) and so the 330 may seem outdated in 7-8 years.

    As far as affording it--I would not say that. I think that it is a matter of priorities mostly. We each spend our money as we see fit and I have only two priorities: house and car (kids and wife are constants and so I do not count them). I probably should be buying stock given the low prices, but I just have different priorities.

    When will the E46 change? I thought 2005 as well, but I wonder sometimes if 2004 will be the year given such a paradigm shift in the market.

    An additional consideration--look at the stiff new rule that California just imposed for the year 2009 or something like that that says that car emissions will be regulated like all other green house gas emissions--We may find that we will all be driving 900cc BMWs that get 75mph and go 0-60 in 24 seconds soon. Is it time to buy now and get the muscle car out of your blood before they are taken away completely?? It will happen soon.

    Opinions welcome.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    Well, if BMW ever makes a sportbike with 1/3 of an F1 engine that would be a 900cc inline triple... I could see myself owning one of those! Would do 0-60 in more like 2.4 seconds though. ;-)

    First they need the GP1 racebike though. Ah, dreams.

    -Colin
  • gotenks243gotenks243 Posts: 116
    "We're not comparing one manufacturer to another. We're looking a broad trends, not saying how one car compares to another. Today the sweet spot is 3.0, tomorrow it's moving to 3.3 and 3.5 liters. That's a bad trend. Not that you shouldn't be allowed to buy bigger engines, but the trend toward bigger is a harmful one to the environment."

    I understand you're looking at broad trends. All I meant to show with my post is that a move to bigger engines is not ~necessarily~ more harmful to the environment. I don't know why I'm using Lexus as an example again, but anyways, a GS430 with a 4.3 liter V8 only gets two worse highway mpg (same city) as a 3.0 liter I6 GS300, while giving off less emissions (ULEV instead of LEV). I'm just trying to point out that bigger is not necessarily ~worse~ or necessarily a ~harmful trend~.

    Mike
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    Some interesting points were made on this HP issue. Especially in reference to the power band. With most people living in cities over most of the globe, the low end power is probably where it is at anyway.

    As far as great changes in the engine displacement, I think we will have to wait and see what is done with the 2003 5er. Currently, the 3er has the following engines: 1.6L (4-cyl), 1.8L (4-cyl), 2.0L (4-cyl), 2.5L (6-cyl), 3.0L ( 6-cyl), 3.2L (6-cyl, M3&M3 CSL), 4.0L (V8, M3 GTR). I could see BMW going to 3.0L and 3.2L(maybe 3.5L if it does not undercut the M3) for the 3er. I can realistically see a 6-speed in the 330i for 2003.5 only because the Z4 3.0L will have a six-speed. But I really think as far as engines go, we will need to wait for the 5er. The current 535i, has a 3.5L engine with 245 BHP this is not much more than the 330i 3.0L engine with 231 BHP.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    LSD is a performance enhancer. It improves acceleration, both straightline and esp. in hard cornering. Traction and stability control systems are primarily safety enhancers. They work best primarily at low speeds. Most use brakes, throttle, and transmission (automatics) to cut output to a wheel; they won't increase output to a wheel (in non-4WD systems).

    You'll notice that most automotive test reports will discuss maximum performance figures with TC and SC systems turned off.

    Just read the recent press raves over cars like the Acura 3.2CL Type S 6-speed manual with LSD. Transforms the car's performance.

    TC and SC systems cost money. So does LSD. Most buyers don't understand the critical differences between the two. Many wrongly think TC and SC systems can replace LSD. They don't, since they do completely different things. But buyers think TC and SC are more modern. Must be better than old, inferior LSD. So if a company wants to save money and not alienate buyers, eliminating LSD is the best of both worlds. Foolish buyers think their TC and SC systems completely replaced it. And the manufacturer doesn't have to spend the money on LSD.

    But notice that BMW wisely keeps LSD for the M3 and M5. A true high performance sedan or coupe has to have it. And BMW knows it! But the average 3 or 5 Series or 7 Series buyer won't even know what they are missing. They'll go ape for the alphabet soup TC and SC systems. Too bad. In past, going back many decades, you usually could get LSD as either standard or optional equipment on most BMWs. BMW's decision to drop LSD in most models reflects move away from performance toward luxury and as pure cost cutting in a market that can't figure out what is truly beneficial to performance. Sad.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I understand you're looking at broad trends. All I meant to show with my post is that a move to bigger engines is not ~necessarily~ more harmful to the environment. I don't know why I'm using Lexus as an example again, but anyways, a GS430 with a 4.3 liter V8 only gets two worse highway ...

    That is not true. Bigger engines contribute more carbon dioxide to than smaller engines period. Even though the other NOx emmisions may be lower. Carbon dioxide is a contributor to global warming. 2 miles per gallons over millions of vehicles and their associated contributions make a significant difference. Again, I'm not an environmental wacko, but to dismiss or poo-poo the trend as not relavent in the aggregate is an incorrect view.

    Why would BMW put an LSD in vehicles such as M3 and M5, that can do 0-60 and run rings around 98% of the cars anyway. To me it's not a cost saving measure because for $70gs people will fork over another $300 to outfit your M5 with it. My guess is they wisely decided the complexity of offering it vs the incremental performance benefit wasn't there. Doesn't seem right for a car company not to soak you for more money with additional options, if they can.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kdshapiro... LSD is not that complex. Certainly not when compared to ABS, TC, and SC systems. LSD has been around for decades. Performance cars had LSD back in the 1950s and 1960s.

    BMW has to put LSD in cars like M3 and M5. Performance enthusiasts would rebel at a car that lacked such an important performance enhancing device. But BMW saves a bit of money by just going with ABS, TC, and SC in the other 3, 5, and 7 Series vehicles. And these buyers haven't figured out what they are missing.

    Look at how many of today's BMW buyers pass on the Sport Package or buy an automatic transmission instead of a manual transmission. In USA BMW is perceived as a high quality luxury marque that has performance capabilities. Value of LSD is lost luxury buyers let alone on a non-Sport automatic transmission 325i or 525i.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    How many Euro spec BMWs are sold with LSD? I'm not saying it's not a performance enhancment, I'm asking how much does one really gain over not having it. I'm talking about real gains, not theoritcal this is what you're missing.
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    I strongly believe, that a 6-speed transmission on a car with 3 liter, <300hp motor is no more than a marketing gimmick. It does not provide any advantages and actually, will probably confuse you more when shifting.

    I smooth, slick, short throw 5-speed is all a BMW needs. Just make it right, just make it even better. How about shortening the throw, a la S2000 or Miata range?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kdshapiro... Don't know what percentage of BMWs now or in past had LSD. All I know is that nearly all of the real high performance models did. Probably darn near all M Series. Can't imagine an M without LSD. And to get the most out of it, you have to turn off the TC/SC systems. They defeat performance. LSD enhances performance.

    You should check out all the ads for LSDs. Everyone from Dinan to Quaife and a zillion others all have LSDs for BMWs. There is a huge demand for this performance product. Can't imagine anyone seriously upgrading their new or old BMW without first ensuring it has LSD! Serious person knows better.

    And check out all the articles in general automotive press (R&T, C&D, MT, AW) and BMW-related press (Roundel, Bimmer, European Sports Car) that extol the clear virtues and benefits of LSD.

    Lack of LSD is the one biggest gripe I have about my 540i6. A huge deliberate cost-cutting oversight on BMW's part. And probably an attempt to ensure that M5 owners believe they are getting all they can for their extra $15,000-$20,000.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    kdshapiro,

    I humbly submit that a limited slip differential's importance depends largely on 3 factors:

    1) vehicle use
    2) wheels driven
    3) horsepower & torque

    A RWD sedan with reasonable power--by today's standards; outstanding power not so many years ago-- may not need an LSD because of its use. (did anyone read my Z3 vs. 3er post?) It's OK to smoke tire a little, or to have traction control cut it abruptly, if you're using it for touring and mundane (but enjoyable) transportation. when you are using it for motorsport, the lack of a limited slip differential is HUGE. or even just driving a little hard.

    Your example earlier about FWD sedans needing them isn't because it's a "Type S", it's because they are FWD. Putting all the power down to just one wheel AND expecting that wheel to do some cornering too just isn't going to work. Sadly, the days are long gone when no sensible person would purchase a FWD vehicle with sporty intent, but I believe that's a whole 'nother topic. And Chris probably remembers me discussing it at length in technical minutia in those topics... ;-)

    -Colin
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I bought a 2000 323. Oh no, in 2001 they came out with a 325 with 14 more HP. You know what they say - "looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck."

    By the way, while my car has 14 less horsepower, it has 6 more lb-ft of torque and weighs 100 pounds less.

    Get a 2003 and enjoy it!
  • visordocvisordoc Posts: 48
    All this talk about how the 3'er should have a manual 6 speed to match this or that car (ie. TL-S, upcoming G35) has gotten me to add my $0.02.

    Whether rightly or wrongly, I note that 0-60 times are probably the most important stat, in that consumers and car mags/reviewers pay attention to when comparing cars. I've noticed that most if not all manuals (including the other cars with 6 speeds mentioned above) have gearings that just get past 60mph at the end of 2nd gear near or at redline. (If someone doubts me, just browse through some car specs in a brochure or magazine.) What this means is only one shift is needed to do 0-60, which is important because even a semi-pro can only shift as fast as 0.1-0.2 secs. So the less shifts, the less time is added to the 0-60 run, which is good because the engineers want to optimize this time. Another shift to get to 60mph will only add 0.1-0.2 secs more. The remaining 3rd to 5th or 6th gears then gets spaced out accordingly to achieve whatever top speed and highway mileage figures they have in mind.

    My parting question then, to those who want 6 speeds: why stop at 6? Why not get 7 or 10 speeds instead? A tractor-trailer truck has that many, but more does not necessarily mean better or faster.
  • I just took delivery of my 2002 325XI. What a great car! I have a question for all of the experts. How do I program the Key Memory? I have the seat and mirror memory down, but I am unable to program the individual keys. Is there a trick to this? The salesman attempted to show me but he couldn't get it to work. He suggested I read the owners manual. I did but it states to take it to the dealer to program. Is there a way for me to do this?
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