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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    If I were in the market for a 3er and was making a choice between a 325 that I could well afford and a 330 that I would have to make somewhat of a stretch, personally I'd choose the 330 (make mine a ZHP). I'm sure the 3 Liter's power is intoxicating, the balance & handling would blow me away, and I happen to think the wheels are nicer. I'm sure I could make it work between possibly doing a good ED deal, my BMWCCA discount, and whatever money I rack up from my Citi Driver's Edge Card.

    There are some very valid arguments for buying the 325:

    It is a less expensive car (blueguy you got a great deal with your MSDs & lease on your 330i ZHP).

    I'm sure the acceleration would be on par if not stronger than my Prelude's. The top speed is limited to 128mph on both cars (ZHP excluded). The speed limit on highways within the 5 boroughs of NYC (and in many suburbs due to dense population) is 50 mph. I'd probably drive the 330 a lot faster.

    But only test drives and time will tell. "That's why they play the games."

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

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    then I'll shut-up.

    Did anybody read the great write up on the 330i ZHP in Roundel this month? In depth coverage as usual. The writer came away very impressed.

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

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Back in 1991 I was helping judge a CCA chapter's fall concours. One couple had brought their immaculate E28 M5. I asked them how it handled on the track, and they looked at me like I'd asked them if they let goats mate in the back seat. Pathetic. When I eventually nab a 2002tii Turbo and an M1 I can assure you that they will see a few different road circuits as well. BMWs are DRIVERS cars, and it galls me to see one being driven in blue-hair-Buick Geritol mode...
  • My car just got stolen and I really need a car soon!

    I came across with two 3'ers:

    99 328i Sports/Premium, Blk/Tan, 28k miles, $20k
    01 330i Sports/Premium, Silver/Grey, 35k miles, $25k

    What's you guys opinions? Is the extra 30hp on 330i really make a different? Thanks for the advice.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    sckling - there are those who say no, there are those who say yes and there are those who say it depends on whether it's a manual or step. Having driven both 325 and 330 step the answer is yes. Noticeably. People say there is less of a difference with the manual.

    But while the '02 330is have a red check mark in reliability according to CR, the '01s do not.

    I personally would go for the '01 but I would do my homework first.
  • The '01 should still be in warranty.. Thats worth a lot right there...

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • bretaabretaa Posts: 130
    Having just bought a CPO 330i, I can tell you I thought the premium was worthwhile vs the 325i's I drove. For me, the reason the premium was worthwhile was that I was upgrading from a '98 Contour SVT, and to me, the performance and "seat of your pants" feel of the 325's I drove weren't all that dissimilar from my SVT. The extra thrust, smoothness, and engine-tranny harmony of the 330i felt a very clear step above the car I was replacing. And I could afford the difference.

    Now, my preference in no way at all implies the 325 is a "bad car." I loved the ones I drove, and would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone who asks. They are a *great value* and have enough performance for almost anyone. I, and obviously many others, are just willing to pay for an upgrade. It's the same as my Contour SVT was in '98, being worth every cent of the $3,500 premium over the Contour SE. As someone else said, it's all about what the free market will support.

    Now, it sounds like in some other forums, BMW may be hitting up against that support with the new 5's right now, with people openly questioning the steep prices on the new V8 5-series models. That's how it all works. The companies test the market, the market corrects the companies. Look at the new Thunderbird... It was selling for thousands above list when it came out and now Ford has to d/c it since the sales are so slow. You've got to love capitalism!

  • white6white6 Posts: 588
    to have the IHKA reprogram service bulletin performed on my 04 330Ci. Less than an hour and no appointment... pretty good. While I waited, I browsed the lot. Three 2004 ZHP's; silver gray, jet black and red. All completely loaded to the gills (~$45,000) and all steptronics (!).
  • Yeah the switch to a step zhp was inevitable as way too many people now think sports sedan and gimmicky automanual go together. You know BMW caught all sorts of emails and moans from drivers who wanted the zhp upgrades but couldn't fathom driving a stick in a performance package.

    I drive 90 miles a day in traffic. 90 miles. Both my cars are manuals. So don't use the old "but there's so much traffic" excuse.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "So don't use the old "but there's so much traffic" excuse."

    To each their own. I drive about 40 miles a day. On the trip in, the last mile before the highway can take an hour at times. No more manuals for me.
  • BMW charges 7k more for the 330. Whether it is justifiable or not is absolutely a personal matter and you won't find a unanimous decision on this. 330 owners find the extra oomph worth every extra dollar they pay and 325 owners think it is a waste of money. The 325 stick is as fast as the 330 step on paper and it feel pretty zippy. The biggest difference in the 3.0 vs the 2.5 litre is the low end torque. At the higher end the difference is not much and both the engines perform exceptionally. The 325 auto might feel a bit sluggish with a full load getting off the blocks. But again, even with a 330 you won't beat a Mustang GT or a Subaru WRX at the light. Both the 325 and 330 perform so much better in other areas that drag racing will be the last thing you would worry about. The way the engine revs up, the precise steering, sharp cornering and the whole driving experience is exhilarating.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    A couple of years ago, I wrote a somewhat "brave" pricing comparison of the 325 and the 330 here:
    KarenS "BMW 3-Series Owners: FAQ" Jun 1, 2001 12:46pm

    NYC, I read the ZHP review in Roundel. They mentioned that it hit 123 mph on back straight at Watkins Glen. I hit 115 mph in the same section with my 325i. Not too shabby for a car that's 10 grand cheaper. I suspect that the actual power that the 325 delivers is higher than the 184 stated by the manufacturer. According to this graph on Turner's website

    and also this one from ECIS,

    The 325 engine makes ~ 170 HP at the wheel, which is well over 190 at the crank. At any rate, the difference in HP at the wheel between the 325 and the 330 is closer to 25 ponies.

    FWIW, I drove both the 325 and the 300 before I bought the 325 and I didn't think the 330 was worth the significant premium that BMWNA charges for it.

    Manual vs. auto - the creep they dial in autos drives me nuts esp. in traffic. It is not natural for a car to creep forward on a perfectly flat road. And I am not even going to begin to mention fun to drive, control over the car, acceleration, fuel economy, etc...
  • Can anyone tell me what the standard cloth/alcantara seats are like with the 330i performance package? I've tested the 330i with and without the performance package and the extra $4k seems well worth it. However, I can't find a model in stock with these seats and while I'd prefer not to spend the extra $$ on a leather upgrade, I also don't want cheap looking or feeling seats.
  • >>On the other hand, I'm hesitant to even drive a 330i

    You've answered your question.

    In retrospect, the choice should be between a loaded 325i and a stripped 330i. Having purchased the former, I realize that BMW's manual air conditioning, regular wipers, leatherette and no sunroof would have been just fine.
  • white6white6 Posts: 588
    325i comes with auto climate control, just like 330i. And 330 doesn't come standard with moonroof or leather. To get a 325 to 330 equipment level, you would have to add: HK stereo, power seats, computer and rain-sensing wipers; about $2,300. If you want the chrome moldings, 6th gear or 3.0 engine, you'll have to pay for a 330i. True, the 325i with manual is as quick as a 330i with step, just don't drive a 330i with 6-speed; it'll shove you back in the seat nicely! With comparable equipment levels, price premium is closer to $4,000. But, equipped the way I would buy, the 325i is $6,500 cheaper ($36,695 vs $30,195)!
  • Thanks guys for your responses. I'm glad I got some input.

    Last night I went and test drove a '03 325Ci manual. Whichever Bimmer I get (if even a Bimmer), will be a manual transmission. Anyway, I was actually fairly impressed with its acceleration - it was better than I thought it would be. But the engine's lower end torque was definitely noticeable accelerating onto the freeway onramp, which was uphill. I definitely wanted more. On the other hand, it wasn't a fair comparison because I had just finished up test driving a 350Z. :) Talk about intoxicating power! But the Bimmer overall was much more refined than the 350Z, and I could picture myself driving the 325Ci as a daily commuter car more than the 350Z.
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    and have a totally irrelevant question. Do you really have type 44 wheels on your 2001 SP? I've got type 96 on my 2002.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    "But the engine's lower end torque was definitely noticeable accelerating onto the freeway onramp, which was uphill. I definitely wanted more."

    ==> I would too if I were trying to do that using low end torque. You have to be in a lower gear to get the most power out of the car. The 325's engine doesn't really open up till over 3K RPMs.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    They are Type 44. I don't believe the '01 325i SP was ever offered in a different type wheel in the U.S...
  • "The 325's engine doesn't really open up till over 3K RPMs"

    I think 3k is the sweet spot. But try to get it around 4500 and it feels as if it got a shot of steroids. Bottom line is that due to the lack of low end torque engine needs to be revved up harder.
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