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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • grios1grios1 Posts: 22
    I am planning to purchase a 3 Series about mid-year. What I would like to know is how have others done in the negotiation stage of the purchase. I have heard that BMW's are not negotiable and that they go for the sticker price. I was also told that here in Tx there is a property tax on but I'm not sure if it was with a lease or purchase.
    Can you let me know? Thanks for the help!!
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    I too plan on a mid year purchase thru the Euro delivery. Surfing these boards the last month or so it appears you should be able to get about $1500 off the MSRP. A lot of quotes you see are off of MSRP rather than "over cost". Apparently, BMW dealers are arrogant (in my experience they are) and claim they do not negotiate over invoice. It also depends on your location. I would suggest trying several dealers. I visited one dealer here for a test drive and to feel out pricing and what I have stated here was confirmed. I have purchased one other BMW (95 318 ti) and I can say these cars are very difficult to get a fair deal on.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    I am debating with myself on getting the sport package with either a 325 or 330, coupe or sedan (the wife and I are arguing this one). I have surfed several of the BMW boards and there has been some indication of potential tire damage or rim damage with the 17" wheels. Is there any need for concern about this ? Are there any other considerations ? Indications are the sport seats are great and the handling is better and the ride isn't much rougher with the sport pkg. Thanks !
  • The production date for my 325i order is set for the second week of Jan (Jan 7th). Is there a set time period between production and the actual delivery to the dealership. I know it can vary pending on unforeseen events but if there are no delays what should I expect.
    The salesperson was very adamant that when the vehicle hits his lot I be there to pick it up.
    This makes me wonder if he is warning me not to delay on picking it up. In many of these forums people have had there orders(to spec.'s)sold off by another salesperson.
  • I'm looking to purchase a 3-Series BMW, however, have heard that maintenance & repairs are extremely expensive. Can anyone share their experiences with me. Thanks. Jennifer
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    footprints: I ordered a 330Ci last week and was told that I had a mid-february build date and a late-march delivery. So if that holds true, I would think you'll have a late-february delivery depending where you live.

    rascal8: I was able to get $1,850 off MSRP from a dealer not known for their discounts (S.E.PA). Some of it may have had to do with ordering the last week of the year (even though it doesn't go on their books until it's delivered). The other part was a relatively new salesman trying to build a customer base, I think. As far as the sport package goes, you are correct about the seats, ride, and handling. Wheel damage is a concern for me also since I live in PA farm country (not known for flawless roads). I decided that the other factors outweighed this concern and got the SP.

    good luck.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The self-proclaimed experts who talk about high BMW service costs usually haven't even SAT in a BMW. They've likely obtained the information from their cousin's girlfriend's stepsister's paper carrier. My 1995 3er just received the minor Inspection I service as well as new front pads. My local independent BMW specialist charged all of $150. The more extensive Inspection II will cost about $600 from a dealer and $350-$400 from a good independent. 1992-1998 cars need this service about every 36,000 miles; 1999-on 3ers extend this interval to 60,000. Is a BMW a bit more expensive to run than a Hontoynissubishi? Sure, but the additional expense is overwhelmingly offset by the vastly superior performance, comfort, and safety of the BMW. And anyway, isn't life just too bloody short to drive a Camry?
  • <<#440 of 459  Leasing BMW question by mamamia123  Dec 30, 2000 (01:14 am)

    Hello all, Im looking to lease a 325 sedan. My question is, will I get a better deal if I went and leased a 1999 BMW 323 sedan instead of leasing a 2001 325 sedan? The reason why I might be willing to go with the 1999, is because the body is basically the same, and if I can get a much better deal on the lease because the vehicle is pre-owned with some miles on it, then I'd be willing to go with it. When I say better "deal", I mean since lease terms are basically figured out between the MSRP and the residual value price..I was wondering which car would have a lesser difference between the MSRP and 36 months of ownership (Residual value)...a new 2001 BMW 325 Sedan or a 1999 323 sedan?? Of course, I want the deal that has the least difference between the MSRP and the residual price because that will mean lesser monthly payments/down payment. Any advice/comments regarding this question or leasing a BMW in general would be greatly appreciated. >>

    ...with the least depreciation factored in the lease, then clearly, the 99 323 will be your choice. Cars depreciate faster when new. Of course, ask to see the actual calculations to see the difference. The finance part of the lease payment is also quite crucial, and not something to be taken for granted. Who knows, perhaps the lease factor for the 01 325 will be better?

    Also, I presume the maintenance costs on the 01 will be cheaper, as 3 years/36k miles is included.
  • <<#449 of 460  Why leasing? by ycfmw  Jan 03, 2001 (08:21 am)

    I am in DC area. Last week I went to VOB in Rockville and almost signed for a new 325i. The problem was the sales quoted me $520/mo for a 36-mo lease. (window price is $33000). It means I pay 520 * 12 = 6240 a year. or $18720 for 3 years. I don't think the car will depreciate that much in 3 years. Is there any good reason you guys decide to lease a car? Thanks.

    ...amount. That's the depreciation and finance charge, and possibly also includes your state sales tax. If you want to know your depreciation amount, ask your salesman, what the residual value was, should be in the low 60s percentage, depending upon mileage allowance. I'll guess depreciation was about $12000, and the rest is finance and salestax.

    As for reasons to lease, some do it for business tax reasons. And, some do it for the flexibility. One way to think about it is to compare the cost of a 36 month lease against a 36 month loan. For my $45,570 MSRP 330Xi, I was offered a $677 lease versus a $1376 purchase payment. That's nothing down, 15k miles, 36 months. Imagine taking the difference between the two choices, that is, $1376 - $677 = $699. Take that amount and put it under your pillow, for 36 months, how much have you got? About $25000. What's my residual value plus sales tax? $29200. Okay, I'm $4200 short after 3 years. Now, what if I stick that money in a Christmas passbook account, that pays 5%? I'd have $27100, still not quite enough. Now, what rate of return would I need to make leasing as attractive as purchasing? About 10%. If you think the time value of money to you is worth 10%, then leasing may be for you. If you use that money to pay off 19% credit card debt then by all means lease. You'll save money.
  • I am in DC area. Last week I went to VOB in Rockville and almost signed for a new 325i. The problem was the sales quoted me $520/mo for a 36-mo lease. (window price is $33000). It means I pay 520 * 12 = 6240 a year. or $18720 for 3 years. I don't think the car will depreciate that much in 3 years. Is there any good reason you guys decide to lease a car? Thanks.

    Did you have to give a down payment to be quoted $520.00 a month to be quoted the above.

    Please advise.

  • stokdgs, I really appreciate your input. I assume from your mention of downshifting that you had the manual transmission, right? I will be getting an automatic, but even so I'm feeling pretty confident that the 325 will be strong enough for most tasks. Interesting enough, though: the 325 has more HP but less torque than the 323.

    323 - hp 170@5500
    torque 181@3500

    325 - hp 184@6000
    torque 175@3500

    Because I don't see myself constantly pushing the 5500 to 6000 rpm zone, I don't really see a huge benefit to the extra 14 hp that the new engine can squeeze out. In fact, with the lower torque, I'm wondering if the average 325 driver will feel less power than the 323.

    Another thing: Apparently the gas mileage for the 330 is even better than the 325.

    325 - 20/29
    330 - 21/30

    Of course, intuition would tell me that a bigger engine given all the same factors would get less gas mileage, so I'm confused on this point. Any clarifications from the car techies would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • holeeholee Posts: 1
    I've been looking for the perfect budget GPS for the past couple weeks.
    I have a BMW 328 that I bought last year, and I've been kicking myself for
    not getting a GPS installed at the time.

    I almost settled on the Garmin Streetpilot (perhaps the Streetpilot III
    coming out, which has routing and voice), when I realized that the
    accessories catalogue for the 3 Series mentions a GPS/Nav System you can
    purchase from the dealer.

    The price in the catalogue is $1,500. I'm wondering if this unit is worth
    the money though. Is it comparable to the GPS you'd get pre-installed at
    the factory? On a 328, will the installation be fairly elegant, or will it
    stick out? If anyone has had experience with this, whether it's just
    seeing it in a car, or actually having used it, I'd like to hear about it.

    From what I'm told, this is a different unit then the one I would have
    gotten if I ordered it straight from the dealer, installed at the factory.
  • From what I have read ( is extremely helpful) there is a recall on type 44 wheels, which are used on the 2001 sport packages. It is also my understanding the recall pertains to week 38 production dates only. I would not be overly concerned with wheel damage as the problem seems to have been identified, is being addressed with a recall, and seems to only pertain to week 38ers.
  • Was there traction control on the 1995 318i?

  • Hello, I was browsing through doing some research, and decided to post here to get some additional input.

    Anyway: I am considering buying a used '92 BMW 318i 4dr sedan. It has 63k on the odo, and the dealer wants less than $9,000 for it. The exhaust and two power windows were being replaced, as this is being posted. It is a 5-speed manual, like all my other cars have been.

    Thoughts? Is this a good purchase/bad purchase? My last car was '98 VW Wolfsburg; and while some on this board have maintained that the VW is a money pit, in the two years I had it it was trouble free. Are BMW's money pits? I loved the German quality of the VW and am really interested in this "entry-level" BMW.

  • Independent automotive studies have found that repairs and expenses increase after cars pass the 50,000 mile mark. If you are planning to buy a used car with high mileage, it makes sense to anticipate that you will encounter repairs and increased expenses (I'm not aware of the BMW repair rates on that model but you can probably get that information off the Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book or NADA web sites) and that should be factored into the price you pay and into your thinking about the purchase. If you luck out and happen to get a problem free car -- hey, consider yourself fortunate and play Lotto regularly (i.e., you're a lucky man). In anycase, good luck with whatever you decide!
  • goody4goody4 Posts: 55
    Traction control wasn't available on the 3-series till the '96 model-year, and it was only optional. TC became standard on all 3s starting with the '97 models.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well.. Did you drive the 318? I love the driving and looks of the e36, but i might steer clear of that 318 :

    1) The 4 is not really BMW's best motor, at least not this one--read the boards awhile and you will see complaints. The i-6 is a hoot.

    2) It may not be significantly quicker than your jetta--the 4 is a bit small for a e36 sedan, which is not exactly a featherweight vehicle.

    3) This is the first year of the e36, so i'd expect some problems.

    According to edmunds, the dealer retail is fair, or even good. I'd think long and hard, personally, though.

  • If you are interested in leasing any car, maybe even a BMW, and you have a Plam Pilot, you may want to download and install a very cool program called Lease-It. It can be found searching

    It is a cool application where you can put in MSRP, Cap Cost, Residual value, Term, Money Factor (and interest rate) and it will figure out your monthly payment including local tax.

    I did not write the software but used it recently to negotiate a new 330i. It would be best to say the dealer wondered what I was doing with my Palm as he read the numbers and I in turn told him what I would pay.

    Either way, it is great software to better understand leasing and its costs. It can even save you more than $1,700 off MSRP (I did slightly better. 330i SP, In-dash CD, Xenon, Sunroof, Leather, Power seats, Metalic Paint).

    Good luck.
  • wkhangwkhang Posts: 2
    Friends! I need help here. I live in D.C. area. I am searching to buy 325 4 door automatic 2001. I would like to know what would be fair mark up over invoice. I have been offered by one dealer for $1800 plus invoice (dealer has added $200 advertising fee to the invoice). I also heard can be a player. Tell me what is good price to start bid. also any tips regarding optional packages? Which packages and options are recommendable? Thank you.
  • Low-end prices seem to range from $1300 to $2000 over invoice with advertising fees considered acceptable. $1800 over invoice is a fair offer. If you want to try to get them down lower, go for it!

    Packages are very individual choices. I like the premium package. I thought the cold weather package was unneccesary and opted for the heated seats only which many postings have recommended. Some swear by the sports package because of the better seats and tighter suspension, while others say the ride on the sport suspension is too harsh. As many differences as there are people.

    Good luck to you.
  • nubie1nubie1 Posts: 3
    i posted this msg in part 2 and lost it so here it goes again...i had a hard time getting this car in reverse. my current german car has its reverse in the same direction (down and to the left) but i never have trouble. is it just me or has anyone else found this prob in the 330? appreciate the help since i am looking to buy one soon. thanks
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    I just drove my '01 325I with SP, PP, 4000 miles and didnt experience any problems with the 17 x 8" wheels and Bridgstone Turanza Z rated 225 x 45 x 17 tires. Unless you have had the lower profile tires before, one might think the steering is "twitchy" or something like that, but it worked just fine for me, and believe me I had alot of seat time driving to Texas from California and back. The tires lower profile gives you more immediate response and this required me to be more aware of that while driving. Regarding wheel damage, I guess if you get close enough to a curb or something, they look more prone to damage because they are right out to the edge of the tire bead. I just be real careful when parking next to objects.. I believe some tire manufacturers sell tires with a thicker bead line just for tires like this, that is supposed to help prevent scratching up your new 17-18-19-20" inch wheels.
    The Sport Pkg only showed up more frequently with the appearance of noise and sometimes a little bump, from concrete, undulating freeways, some of which are in Los Angeles area, on my drive. For the most part, this Pkg added no more noise/discomfort to me, but Im used to more Sport Suspension type arrangements. The Sport Seats are very very good, believe give more support and options of support (10 way adjustable). I ended up not moving my seat much if any at all.
    Was able to drive around 900 miles a day and feel very good at the end of the drive with this pkg.
    Hope this helps !

  • mvitoumvitou Posts: 1
    I drove BMW's in the 70's and 80's. My last BMW was a 1984 318.I loved all my BMW's but had never been happy with the way the BMW's handled in the snow and ice, so I finally bought a front wheel drive Japanese car in 1994. Of course, after you have a BMW, you always yearn for another. When I found out about the 3 series AWD, I was thrilled. I went to my BMW dealer to ask about it. The salesman seemed to push me towards the 325i because the improvements in traction were so good since 1984, that I would be happy with that. My question is: would anybody out there help me with my decision as to whether I should buy the 325 with or without the AWD? I live in Toledo, Ohio, which does not have the snow like Colorado but, once in a while, have a snow storm or two. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Hello all! I'm new to the board and new to BMWs as well. Was wondering if anyone can pass on some words about their new car buying experience with BMW of Fairfax in Fairfax, Virginia. Went there yesterday, test drove a 325i. No pressure from the salesman. Just want to gather some "intelligence" before continuing the hunt. Thanks much!
  • I had similar questions living in the NYC area. I test drove both cars, read the message board and spoke to my salesman about the various options. I decided on the 325i after hearing: 1)the AWD car doesn't have the same cornering capability as the RWD, although I felt no appreciable difference driving both, 2)the DSC is more than sufficient to deal with mild snow conditions, 3)AWD is still new and could possibly need more repairs and cost more depending on how it fairs over time, 4)it adds $1500-1700 to the price, and 5)if needed, snow tires can be mounted which improve the ride significantly.

    No one I've read on the message boards has criticized AWD and most who have it, especially in snow covered areas, speak highly of it.

    Good luck
  • I'm moving back to Florida next month and would like to buy a 325 sedan (brand new). I have never owned a BMW. Looking at the invoice price on this side it says that it is 25020 + 1200 for the automatic (my wife requires it) and based on some reading I have done I probably will have to pay about $2000 over invoice bringing the price to about $28,200. My question is: is it possible to find one for this price or do they usually come with so many options already installed that the price jumps well over 30k? Thanks for your input.
  • The AWD 325 not handling as well as the 325i is news to me. I drove both and could not tell a difference either. BMW specifically made the AWD system a 67%/33% AWD/AWD split so the car would not lose it's AWD feel. I ordered a 325xi because I live in Pittsburgh where the snow coupled with the very hilly terrain makes for a lot of trouble. I have driven both a AWD Lexus AS and Mercedes CLK with traction control. It helps, but does not solve the problem. If I lived in a place similar to Pittsburgh weather, but flat, I probably would have gone without AWD and invested in the sport package and a set of snow tires.

    As far as options, order the car to get what you want. I don't perceive that too many dealers would have ordered their cars without any options. Most people typically want a Cd player, moon roof, metallic paint, etc.. Dealers almost never order stripped, less profit for them! You can receive an order in as little as 6-8 weeks. I am in the middle of a 10 week wait and it is a hard wait, but worth it. Actually, that is a good lead in to my question. My build date is this week (02), is it reasonable to expect delivery by Feb. 12?
  • jjjakejjjake Posts: 1
    $1450.00 for the leather. Is it worth it? Seems like a personal preference as the leatherette should hold up equally as well as leather. Any opinions?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The awd car is 220 lbs heavier and 17mm(1.1 inches) higher. There are other changes too, such as shorter struts and less travel. And there's still power going to the front wheels.

    Not to say it's *bad* handling by any means, but you have to expect at least a little degredation.

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