BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier

L8_ApexL8_Apex Member Posts: 187
Welcome to the continuation of the BMW 3-Series
(Part 4)
topic. Those of you joining us from that
topic are welcome to continue your discussion.

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  • jccsscjccssc Member Posts: 44
    I don't think the noise is very common on the bimmers. You can check previous posts on how much people are enjoying their bimmers at high speeds. I think my case and dparis' case are just something out of the ordinaries. My experience with their service dept. is very positive - they are anxious to get my problem fixed - a lot of support there. If you are still worried, test drive one on the dealer's lot, take it to the freeway and see if there is any strange noise.
  • mfeldmanmfeldman Member Posts: 140
    I originally was interested in premium package, but then drove the sport package. I really like the handling ,seats and look of the wheels. But how many miles can I expect from the tires? Irecently looked at a Lexus IS 300 and the sticker had a special "warning" that the tites would get less than 20k miles. I drive 15k-plus per year and don't want to speng 1k on tites each year. Is it reasonablle to expect 35-40k from these tires?
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    My new BMW 330I has arrived. Will be picking it up next tuesday.

    The sales manager asked me about the alarm. Do I want to set it up with visual and sound or just visual.
    Any comments on this?
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    Visual and sound.

    Also, you do NOT want the alarm to disarm when the driver's door is unlocked with a key. Only with the remote and with the key in the ignition.
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    Why is that?
    Remote and key in ignition?
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    If the key in the door will disarm the alarm then a theif can disarm the alarm by picking the door lock.
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    The dealer said the BMW door lock cannot be picked. (I knew he would say that).
    Even with the door open the car will not start without the proper key. Unless you are Nicholas Cage looking to steal a 330i

    Thanks for the help

    Next Tuesday. Counting down the hours!
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    The door lock can be broken. It happened to a guy from NYC several months ago and the alarm didn't go off. He posted an account of the incident at so you might try searching the archives for it.
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    - I don't know which kit works with the Timeport. Check with Motorola. The BMW kit, as I understand it, requires a special StarTAC with BMW-specific software.

    - The BMW kit would come from a BMW dealer. I put in the Morotola kit and bought it though someone on eBay who appears to be a dealer.

    - I'm documenting my installation at The site is still a work in progress as I'll be adding more pictures and text descriptions over the next few days and weeks.

    - Yes, it works well. The caller can tell they're on a speaker phone but it's not a problem. The BMW's speaker is pretty good.
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    Thanks for the APR information.
    I have just received a loan from my new bank-
    First Financial Credit Union at 6.5%

    BMW is offering 7.99%
    Receiving the car on TUESDAY!
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    There won't be any damage as the car's engine will adjust to the lower octane. You will lose a noticeable amount of power and your fuel economy will decrease.

    One person ran a couple of tanks of 87 and measured the change in MPG and found that it's actually cheaper to run 93, assuming a 20¢/gal cost difference, as the lower cost of regular is more than offset by the reduced efficency.
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    I am picking up my new 330i next week.
    A new c320 was in the movie parking lot and was a sight to see. I never test drove the car.
    Does anyone have any opinions on the new C320?
  • rollierollie Member Posts: 337
    Regarding post #16:

    dparis, for what it's worth, I posted my first impressions of the new C Class last week. You can read it here:


    [email protected]
  • willie20willie20 Member Posts: 1
    We picked up our 330Ci on August 22 and it now has approximately 1500 miles on it. It's jetblack
    with sand leather, premium package, sport package,
    xenons, Harman-Kardon system and in-dash CD. Also
    has the steptronic transmission. So far we have
    been very pleased with the overall performance of the car. It is extremely powerful, handles beautifully and is drop-dead gorgeous, the kind of
    car that gets admiring looks and comments very, very often. Black cars are hard to keep clean and
    this one is no exception, but it's worth it because of how good it looks when it's all shined up. If you are looking for a sports coupe in the
    upper 30's, low 40's range look no further. This one listed for $41,710, and while the sales price
    was only slightly less than that, I am confident that when it comes to resale time it will prove to
    be a winner in that category as well. It's just an amazing car.
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    from an article in Nov automobile mag

    "on the highway the new 333-bhp M3 coupe has to work quite hard to pull away from the 225-bhp 330ci".
  • dmosesdmoses Member Posts: 2
    Ordered a 325i on September 26th, orient blue, gray leather, premium package, fog lights, steptronic trans, cd, and garage door opener. MSRP was 35,100 got it for 34,000. This is my first BMW and I can't wait for arrival. Does anyone know when it might arrive?
  • larryintnlarryintn Member Posts: 103
    That depends on what production date your dealer had available and where you are located.
  • dmosesdmoses Member Posts: 2
    any ideas on when it may arrive?
  • footprintsfootprints Member Posts: 28
    Any input on the driving performance of the 325xi.
    How is the handling and acceleration?
  • liv42dayliv42day Member Posts: 1
    Hello everyone! I've been reading the posts with interest.

    dparis1: In response to post #16; I test drove the Benz C320 a couple of weeks ago. Rollie was not too impressed, however, I was. MB's body style has been too conservative previously for my taste. With the redesign this year of the C class, they are doing better with the sport look and I became interested. The 320 has a lot of power, 215hp. It handled very well, hugged the road. The salesman allowed me to stomp the brakes when coming off the highway at about 60mph. The car stopped QUICK and straight as an arrow! The interior is very well thought out, the instrumentation nicely placed.

    I test drove the 330i recently for a comparison before I ordered the 320, just to make sure. It is a hard decision for me. Personally, I like the 320 better. It is pricy, but has numerous features, more than the 330i. Actually, the price with options on both cars are very equal. The main difference I've found is the MB is luxury/sport. The BMW is sport/luxury.

    I would like to know if anyone else has compared the 2 models and what your thoughts are. Hope to hear from you soon.

    P.S. Rollie, you might want to take a drive of the C320, it might change your mind!! :-)
  • jrychlickijrychlicki Member Posts: 5
    I received my 325xi last Wednesday afternoon and thus far, it is everything I had hoped it would be and more. In terms of the suspension, being that the awd has it own system, I find it very comparable to the 323i sport I test drove. My concern was laid to rest there. Some had wondered if the .7 inch height increase would be a problem, but in my experience, I find the car still sits low enough to make you feel in complete control. The handling is just awesome, a very sticky feel, particularly when cornering. (The one negative experience I had thus far was that my 16 year old sister who had her license 2 weeks took a 90 degree left hand turn at 30+ mph, and the car was hardly phased and merely took us around the turn at 30! Needless to say, she will never be borrowing the car for even the prom.) I was almost sold on the Audi A4, before I knew BMW was offering the awd option, and I have to say I feel 100x safer in the BMW versus the Audi. There is just no comparison between the two. Acceleration wise, I find there to be ample power from the get go and perhaps have been even more impressed with the accelation on the top end, passing on the highway. The car sure "gets up and goes" without even the slightest hesitation. I caveat this with the fact that I refused to test drive the 330.

    Overall, I think the car is just wonderful, I couldn't be happier!!! I am just waiting for the first snow to really put her to the ultimate test! Let me know if I can answer any other questions for you!
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    Only 22 miles so far. No complaints.
    Taking it down to Richmond for a business trip tomorrow.(from Baltimore)
    Will give all the details on the drive.
  • firstbmwfirstbmw Member Posts: 10
    anyone who is lucky enough to have already picked up their new bmw, how has it been so far? have you had any minor (or major) problems with it? did the dealer take care of them for you? are you happy with your purchase and would you buy the car again if you had it to do all over? would you get a different model (maybe 330 instead of 325 or vice versa) or a different brand altogether? any comments would be appreciated as i have yet to order mine ( i will get it in march and dont need to order yet)
    thanks in advance
  • firstbmwfirstbmw Member Posts: 10
    i received some good info from on the paint question (quality) and every owner said they think their paint is great!! good to hear from actual owners rather than magazine testers. just thought i'd let you know.
  • loireloire Member Posts: 7
    Finally today i received my 330Ci after 3 months waiting, i spend most of my time today test driving it, it was very impressive, first the power, even with my streptonic gear it goes incredeably fast, the good thing is the engine is so soft even when you accelarate fast you won't feel that you are speeding, and handling are so good that you can turn safely in sharp cornering without really slowing down. I bought my 330Ci with full option except harman-kardon sound system and Navigation system, but one thing i
    regret is i didn't purchase the navigation system, looking how it works at, the voice by voice navigation system look so
    hi tech and cool with only additional $1800,
    i could have sacrifice the sport package and add only $1000, so if any of you guys can give me an advice how the best way to get and install the BMW navigation system with an already built in cassette option interioror if anyone ever heard the navigation system that is used on z8, i think it's small enough to put under the climate control instrument, pls let me know, thanks alot i really appreciate it, anyway here is some advice for those who planning to buy new 3series,
    no matter which one you choose 325 or 330, they both are very good cars, i wouldn't really suggest for 330 buyers to add sprot package,cause they didn't really get a wheel size upgrade, but for 325, the sport package 17" wheel look really nice in your BMW, =)
  • jrychlickijrychlicki Member Posts: 5
    I have had my 325xi for one whole week and I just love it. I even found a 323i in the parking garage to put her next to while I work all day. I just wanted to second a comment made earlier, the speed is great and you don't even notice you are going 80 on the highway, that is until a cop pulls up behind you, which brings me to my second comment.

    Last weekend I drove 300 miles one way to a family wedding, following my parents. What I found out, was that either their speedometer was wrong or mine was. This concerns me because I will push the speed limit however it is very important to know just how much I am pushing. They tested their car on a measured mile and it seems ok, while mine isn't right. I went to the dealer the other day to get the wheel locks and stopped by the service department on the way out to ask about the speedometer. I was a little taken back when they told me all speedometers are wrong, all vary, there is nothing they can do to fix it, so just don't worry. So I leave, not worrying, as much.

    I am on my way home and get a ticket! Of course I try to explain the speedometer is wrong, which gets me no where as this guys is assuming I am a little rich girl driving daddy's car. Needless to say, I call service first thing in the morning wo tell me the speedometer can be off as much as 10mph! Reluctantly, they have agreed to check it out next week. (All I really want is the little slip of paper stating I was in for service on the speedometer for the judge.)

    Any one have the same problem? Was there a fix? (To the "off" speedometer, not the ticket.)
  • rem_automaticrem_automatic Member Posts: 1
    Actually, in practice, most car manufacturers intentionally deviate the actually speed of the car from the indicator by a few miles under. This is done as a safety practice; however, the 10 mph sounds extremely off! The question to ask is if the tire size has been correctly calibrated to the speedometer. Hope this helps...
  • markjennmarkjenn Member Posts: 1,142
    Check it yourself! Tickets are expensive enough that everybody should calibrate their speedometers so they know exactly where they stand.

    If you have an interstate near you, checking your speedometer accurancy is trivial. All you need is a watch with a sweep second hand or a stopwatch.

    Drive as close to 60-mph as you can (use cruise if you have it), while noting how many seconds it takes to go betweeen mile markers - it will be very near 60 seconds. Within a few miles, you'll have a good estimate of the average number of seconds you are high or low. How much seconds you are high or low is approximately your speedo error in mph. For example, if it takes 63 seconds, then your speedo is reading 3-mph high - you actual speed is around 57-mph.

    Another option is to note your actual speed on a GPS.

    If your car is like most cars, you will find that your speedo is actually reading a bit high. The average speedo error is about 5% high (speedo overestimates speed) on all vehicles, although my experience with german cars is that they are often much closer. This is a "designed in" tolerance to insure that normal variations in speedo accuracy don't cause any to read too low; it also has the effect of people thinking they are going faster than they are which makes the car appear to peform better.

    If your speedo is reading significantly low (more than a few percent), I don't think you should have much issue getting it replaced as you could argue that it is a safety concern. But unless it is grossly high, you'll have difficulty getting it replaced, because high errors are fairly common.

    BTW, don't assume the odometer error is correlated to the speedo error. Cars do have to meet tighter error tolerances on the odometers to avoid having warranties expire prematurely, especially emissions warranties. So it is common for the speedo to be reading 5% high, but the odometer to be much closer.

    All bets are off if you've fitted non-stock wheels or tires.

    Good luck.

    - Mark
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    I picked up my new BMW on Tuesday and was off to Richmond on Thursday for a 300 mile round trip.

    The car drives absolutely incredible. The seats in the sports package are way to comfortable. The engine power is there when needed. Putting the car in sport mode is a boost to the ego. Reaching 80 on the highway happens to soon.
    I highly suggest the optional Xenon headlights. There is a big difference from the regular headlights.
    The Harmon Kardon upgrade is worth it for the drivers who want the best sound available.(once you start messing with the original radio with other parts this can effect the cars warranty).
    The wheels that come with the sport package are hot. They blow away the other wheels that are offered with the BMW and also the c230-320
    The only negative so far is the front arm rest.
    Not very long and very short on storage.

    Looking forward to the next trip.
    Anyone thinking of buying a BMW 330i----- you will not be sorry.
    Have Fun!!!!!!!
  • bclark77bclark77 Member Posts: 1
    Does anybody know what price I can lease a 330xi for (with premium package and cold weather package)?
  • firstbmwfirstbmw Member Posts: 10
    can anyone explain what the bmw "owners choice" program is all about? is this a type of lease? what are the good and bad features of it? thanks in advance for the help.
  • aam1aam1 Member Posts: 26
    My 325i is a model year 2000 car without the sports package.

  • aam1aam1 Member Posts: 26

    I have a 325i without fog lamps. Wanted to find out if anyone had any experience putting after market fog lamps in the 325i. Any preferred manufacturer and cost estimates would be very useful.

  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    I'd like some more info too.... I've been toying with this idea too.

    There is some info on the BMW website and a calculator where you can plug in numbers for the different type of payments, including owner's choice. It is essentially a loan that looks like a lease according to my salesman (he sold me my first and I'm trying working with him to figure an angle to get a second one). You make payments for three years and a ballon is due. You can then either refinance the baloon amount with a new loan (at whatever rates the market bears at the time) or you can turn the car in.... Do you get any credit for equity when you walk away or was it then just a 3 year lease? I didn't think to ask that question the other day, but I'd guess it was just a lease in that situation,,,,right?

    Now, how this works out in practice is what I would like to know, and I'd love to take to someone who did it 3 years ago and reached the decision point.

    Can anyone help us with this one?
  • markjennmarkjenn Member Posts: 1,142
    People are pretty evenly divided on whether leatherette is a good value. Virtually everyone that has it, likes it. Most say that it is difficult to distinguish from leather, particularly in the darker colors, and wears better with less maintenance. But the real-leather proponents say that it it stupid to spend $35K on a car and skimp on what you sit on. Some seem quite happy paying $1500 just because it smells good. Whatever pulls your chain.

    FWIIW, I just ordered a car with leatherette. I think it looks fine and I can do other things with the money, like get xenons and track schools.

    Like you, I also didn't get a sunroof - every car I've owned with a sunroof found the sunroof unused. It is expensive, adds weight, is a source of creaks and rattles, and reduces headroom. The salesfolks always go nuts talking about how a non-sunroof car is impossible to trade or sale. I reply that I had a non-sunroof M3 and sold it in 36-hours after posting a note on a BMW BBS. Several people called me wanting it BECAUSE it didn't have a sunroof.

    (Which brings up another rule of car shopping - NEVER believe anything a salesman tells you. My latest testimonial to this was last week when I went into a dealership to look at 325s and all they had were 323s. I asked what changed and the salesmans said "absolutely postively nothing - it is just a name change". Which, of course, is wrong - the 325 has a new series engine with 14 more hp, among several other changes. Very few car sales people know their cars very well and are honest in helping make good tradeoffs - they sell what is on the lot.)

    Likewise, the 325 vs. 330 question has been gone over and over. If you don't mind paying another $4K or so (you have to add a few optional items to the 325 to get a true apples-apples) the 330 is the way to go. FWIIW, I got the 325. Given that the 330 is basically a 325 with different crankshaft throws, it is rather ridiculous that BMW gets so much more for it. I would prefer that they just sell the 330 for a price midway between the two and be done with it. They'd make the same amount of money. But given their pricing model, the 325 seems to represents a better value. The fact that you can only get a wagon in the 325 is also a factor for me as the wagon seems to have virtually no drawbacks vs. the sedan (except looks, but I like wagons), and lots of extra utility.

    I wouldn't purchase a 3-series without taking a long/hard look at the Audi A4 and the MB C Class. Possibly even the Volvos as well, although I've never personally been much of a Volvo fan. The Audi probably represents a little better value and it has quattro. The new C class has an expensive look/feel and has that "hewn from solid rock" feel that I find only in MB vehicles. At this level, you're talking very minor preferences and look/feel and no car is clearly superior for everyone.

    They are the Acura TLs and Lexus IS300 as well, although most folks who are interested in a Euro car won't look at the Japanese cars.

    The ED price is negotiable although additional discounts are typically very modest (maybe a percent or two) because margins on ED are lower than non-ED. You could try and "spring it" after agreeing to a price, but the dealer will probably just revise the deal anyway. And he should have the right since it affects his profit. Most dealers won't get down to writing up a firm order until they know the details of your trade-in, financing, whether ordering, etc. I'd just tell them up front.

    The warranty starts when you take delivery in Germany. This means it is ticking while on the boat. Given all the hassles of going over there, not having a car while yours is being shipped, worrying about it in transit, etc. it really doesn't make much sense unless you would enjoy the process and want to spend some time driving Europe. Which I heartily recommend. I haven't done ED, but I have driven Europe and it is a hoot.

    Sorry for the long post. Good luck with your decisions.

    - Mark
  • ec_creativeec_creative Member Posts: 15
    check it out. . .

    (front spoiler or aluminum e-brake handle not installed yet)
  • martin13martin13 Member Posts: 21
    for the money?
  • martin13martin13 Member Posts: 21
    for dialogue on this.....lots of post re: 325i and 330i. I don't think the 330i is necessarily the consensus model. It really depends on your finances, purposes, etc. etc.
  • lexbenzlexbenz Member Posts: 3
    Just bought my second 3-series. I choose the 330xi and i am very ,very pleased to say the least. My 323i was quick and fun but the 330 is miles ahead and the transmission (auto w/ steptronic) is a few steps ahead of the competition. Can't wait for snow word is, the better than the audi quarttro which i had ,so i'll be a fair judge and let you know what i think. By the way if you live in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area give Greg Riley or Kathi @ Three Rivers BMW a chance there good people.
  • reubencahnreubencahn Member Posts: 102
    Eurodelivery pricing is lower than U.S. though there is less or no ability to negotiate. But making your best deal on a U.S. delivered car would probably still net you a higher price than eurodelivery MSRP.

    Options: I won't join the leather/leatherette debate. I've got leather. I like it fine. Look at both and see what you like.

    Xenons are another matter. I have them. They are excellent--better than halogens--but if you live in an urban area, you can hardly ever tell the difference. Also, BMW's halogens are very good.

    The HK stereo is not awesome by any means. It's decent except for very poor bass. To me it was worth it because I didn't want to deal with aftermarket stuff but if you're an audiophile (I'm not) you won't be happy. As it is, I may feel the need to do something about the bass response.

    Sunroofs: don't let a salesman make you get a sunroof. On a new car, the sunroof makes sales easier because many people come in wanting a car loaded up--and with a new car they will insist on getting exactly what they want. And sunroofs are popular. When you resell, people know they can't pick their options on a used car. My sunroof is hardly every used. On those few occasions, it is nice, but I could live without it. And I would have but I would have had to wait another 2 months to get the car. Last, the sunroof switch is very troublesome.

    The 325 is definitely a better value but if you've got the money and it won't bother you to have spent it, go for the 330. No one ever complained that their car had too much power.
  • zer0namezer0name Member Posts: 5
    Thanks Markjenn for your informative post.

    I did check out A4 and will be testing the New C240.
    On the whole though the A4 is a better value, they don't offer ED and the brand name is definetly not as good as the BMW. For only - $2k more you get the "real" thing BMW - rather than get some "also rans" and "wanna be s".

    The Merc is probably a better brand name than BMW.... But caters to slightly older crowd (I'm 24). It places a clear emphasis on luxury than sport. But I'm in the market for a sporty car that is also kina luxurious (read BMW). If you wanted real luxury you shouldn't be looking at this segment at all - rather at Jaguar or Merc S class or even BMW 7. Therefore that rules out Merc C240.

    The IS300 was decent competitor - but it "tries" SO HARD to be a BMW - so why not get the BMW itself - if it is supposedly what every car in this segment wants to be (except Merc.).

    3.2 TL:
    I had almost paid the deposit for the Acura TL.. but then I knew I was getting it only for the value and then things happend and I decided not to go for something and regret later that I could have gotten the "real" thing.

    Ok about the 330i:
    It would be cool to have the extra 40hp oomph...
    but then that may get more tickets (already have 9pts) and eventually ruin the whole experience incl. possibly my life.

    Therefore that rules out the 330i under sad circumstances. :(.

    and yeah I could use the extra $4k for my European trip. Thanks for your help on that.
  • zer0namezer0name Member Posts: 5
    So much for decisions.

    Your response on Leather/Leathertte has left me undecided even more.
    Can anybody clearly list advantages and disadvantes (with may be a weightage for each and possibly quantify).. I'll try in my next post and mebe others can jump in?

    1. Touch/Feel/Luxury/Look (Weightage points - 40%)
    2. Maintenance (Weightage points - 25%)
    3. Durabilty (Weightage points - 25%)
    4. Price (Weightage points - 10%)

    Based on my above quantified weights:

    1. T: Leatherette = 15; Leather = 30
    2. M: Leatherette = 20; Leather = 10
    3. D: Leatherette = 20; Leather = 10
    4. P: Leatherette = 10; Leather = 3
    Leatherette= 65; Leather= 53
    That would mean Leatherette wins.

    But how would you all quantify this.
    Feel free to jump in.
    Specify your weightages and assigned points.

    Thanks again everyone for the repsonses.
  • zer0namezer0name Member Posts: 5
    Another question:

    How easy is it to install an aftermarket CD changer? The salesman was talking about some "having to tune" and other possible problems.

    What price are these compatible and easy to install "aftermarket CD changer" available and where?

    IS it true that installing an aftermarket CD-changer would NULL the BMW warranty on the entire electrical system? If so, wouldn't that be unfair "trade practice"?

    Does the BMW center installed CD-changer come with the same 4year warranty?
  • zer0namezer0name Member Posts: 5
    Hi reubencahn:

    What is the Sunroof switch problem you are referrign to? DO the dealers fix it under warranty?

    Any more such problems with the 3series?
  • dparis1dparis1 Member Posts: 45
    If the CD player is ordered and installed before you pick up the car, the warranty is 4 years.

    After you dirve off the lot-------?
  • kominskykominsky Member Posts: 850
    I live in S.E. PA also (Allentown/Reading) area and have found that by going slightly north, prices are much more negotiable. I have a few faxes from a dealership in Williamsport who is willing to discount between $1,300 and $1,880 on new 330i/330Ci's. These were sent to me in response to one email and represent no negotiating on my part, so I assume they would come down a little more to save a sale. If you want more information or a copy of the faxes, send me email ([email protected])
  • john290john290 Member Posts: 2
    I'll be picking up a 325i, manual, in december, the dealer says the first service/oil change is at 13,000+ miles. Seriously, how often should the oil be changed if one hopes to keep the car for a while.
  • john290john290 Member Posts: 2
    I live in Florida which doesn't require a front license plate, how does the car arrive from the manufacturer? I've only seen one or two cars without the black plastic plate holder, they just had a straight narrow strip instead - is this an aftermarket item?
  • skobolaskobola Miami, FLMember Posts: 207
    You will have to ask the dealer to get you that part. I suggest that you talk to him in advance, so he will have it in your car's color... I got mine as a no-cost option because I simply asked for it - at least, that was the case when I leased my Bimmer form Braman in Miami.
  • eddoceddoc Member Posts: 2
    Hello, I am a new user to this format of discussion. I am considering the purchase of an automobile in the 40-55k range and have considered several vehicles including Acura 3.2TL, Audi S4, Audi A6 2.7T, BMW 330i/ci, BMW M3, Lexus GS430, Mercedes E320, Mercedes C320 Sport, and Mercedes CLK430. Overall, I have been very impressed with the BMW offerings and therefore have narrowed the list to the 330i/ci or M3. The BMW's have a smooth, communicative, "an extension of oneself" feeling to them which I did not find in the others. For those of you who own a BMW, I am interested to know your opinions of their long-term durability, reliability and maintenance costs. I drove a '88 M6 many years ago but finally sold it due to escalating maintenance costs and my frustration at having minor things break or fail every 1000-3000 miles. I also would appreciate your input/recommendations on the vehicles I have mentioned or any others which I should consider.

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