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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • I own a 2001 325i with the sport package and live in Colorado. I would not trade the SP package for anything. However the configuration is not designed for any winter driving. Some steel rims and snow tires would help. Of course I cheat. I drive an Explorer in winter.
  • <<#508 of 513  response to beetlebug62 by ser1  Jan 11, 2001 (07:07 pm)
    I just want to say that I am a careful driver in the snow and not a "care free" driver. I am aware that 4wheel drive may get you going but it doesn't help you stop. This is what I intended by that statement:
    By "care free" I mean I don't want that "feeling" of losing control or getting stuck on some hill in a couple inches of snow. I feel that I am a very safe driver since I have always lived in the NE where snow is common. I just want the feeling of having control and being able to get where I need to be safely and in control.
    And still I am concerned because I see where some people say it is good in the snow and some say it is bad. I really don't want the hassle of having to put snow tires on every year so I would like to know how good a 2001 325 is in the snow (all weather tires).>>

    ...I have been driving in snow country for over 25 years, and to me it's the highlight, as cars today are so good, that you can't really push the car's limits without breaking a speed limit. In snow, you can have lots of tailhappy driving without worrying about getting ticketed!

    Now, comparing choices, I'll rank their snow performance from best to worst. In my humble opinion of course.
    Best-4wd or awd with snow tires
    Better-Fwd with snow tires
    Good-Rwd with snow tires
    Good-4wd or awd with all-season tires
    Not so good-all other combos with all-season tires
    Even worse- all other combos with sport tires.

    Given your preference for not wanting to change tires, then you should get a 4wd or awd with all-season tires.However, I caution you, in my opinion that combo is only tied for 3rd best, out of all the various combos.

    Having said that, I'll pass along some of my anecdotal evidence. Here in NewEngland, we had a snowstore just after Thanksgiving, about 6" of heavy snow. I had yet to put my snowtires on my 330Xi. I took out my 330Xi and met my brother in a large unplowed parking lot who drives a Saab with Blizzak snow tires. We did alot of comparisons, lapping around the parking lot. We came to the conclusion that the Saab, though only FWD, was superior in braking, and just as good at going in the heavy snow. However, the DSC of the 330Xi, allowed for better cornering. None of this surprised us, as magazine tests have shown similar results. The bottom line, is to buy the best rubber you can afford. If you don't want to get snow tires, I would recommend that you consider swapping out the OEM tires for all-seasons with a silica based tread. The silica keeps the tread soft and supple in cold-weather. That is, not all all-season tires are created equal, and you should get the best ones, you can afford. Good luck to you.
  • I want to buy a new awd 325xi, and i cant seem to find anything about dealer incentives on this model. does anyone have any ideas? (I know base invoice is supposedly $25,940)
  • Can anyone PLEASE help me here?! My wife and I are shopping for a 2001 325 or 330. My wife loves the Steptronic and feels as though its manual feature is not a step down in performance and should satisfy my need to row through the gears while carving the curves. After driving a Steptronic, I disagree with her, feeling as though the shifts were delayed like any auto, downshifts came when you wanted to hold a gear, and power was mysteriously zapped on its way from the engine to the wheels. However, I would like to keep an open mind and hear some other opinions on both sides of the argument. Thanks!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Steptronic is better than a pure slushbox, but it is no substitute for a stick; it tends to substitute it's own(sometimes questionable) judgement for that of the driver. In step mode it will persist in up and down shifting on it's own even when there is no danger of lugging or redlining the engine. If you must have an autobox, wait for the SMG which is due in a couple of years.
  • Regarding the discussion about steptronic vs. manual, I certainly weigh in on the steptronic side. We picked up our 325i in Munich last month and were really pleased with everything, including the transmission. Our previous BMW has a 5 speed, so we are familiar with the power curve. The step was great on the twist alpine roads of Germany and Austria. True, there is a little delay, but to have the versatility of both options is a great choice. By the way, the 325i power is more than adequate to cruise the autobahn at way over 100 mph. Actually most Euro BMW's are the turbo diesel and the 4 cylinder--that's both 5 and 3 series. On the factory tour they indicated that the 330i and the 325ix are primarily for the American market.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    Anyone have experience financing a car when taking the Euro Delivery ? I understand many financial institutions will not finance a Euro delivered car. Thanks.
  • I have spoken with the sales person and he stated that their buy rate is 5.9% not 4.9%. He had no inclinations on verifying it.
    Is there anything on the BMW web confirming this rate?
    So far though this sales person has treated me with respect and I scarcely had to hassle for the target amount during negotiations.
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    Can anyone tell me if the rear center armrest is in the 2001 325's whether or not you have the fold-down rear seats. In the literature from BMW it only specifically mentions the armrest when refering to the fold-down seats. I want the armrest, but not necessarily the fold-down seats.

    Since I am posting, for a new 325 are most of you going "off-list" or "over-invoice" when dealing with the sales folks? Can anyone give me a range that is reasonable to expect, I am in the NY area but outside NYC.

    Thanks to all - this is a very helpful and informative group.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    Think I know the answer to this but I'll ask anyway. Will the 330i M double-spoke alloy wheels fit on the 325 sport pkg car, or do they make these wheels that will fit the 325 ? Going to Munich for the Euro Delivery and I understand you can pick up wheels at BMW-Munich fairly cheap. Thanks.
  • tpdubtpdub Posts: 1
    You do not need to buy the split back seat option to get the rear arm rest. I went through the same exercise - not knowing whether the 325i I bought for my wife will come with/without the arm rear rest. Well, it arrived with it and I believe it comes with the Premium package. My dealer was not able to answer the question when we bought the car, but they are a great dealership. I am referring to Competition & Sports Cars, Lad. in Greenwich, CT (right over the NY border. They are great people and have served us well over the years (I also own a 540i.
    From my experience, 4% is a good discount although I received 5% off list being a repeat customer. If you ready to buy and Greenwich is convenient for you, let me know and I will put you in contact and maybe arrange the 5% for you.

    Good luck.
  • You asked about the invoice and dealer incentives on the 325 xi. BMW does not need to use dealer incentives to sell its' cars. There are no dealer incentives on the xi, nor will there be so long as the cars are in such hot demand. At many dealerships, you will need to order the xi, which takes a couple of months. Few dealers will have xis (configured to your needs) on the lot, especially now.
    You asked about dealer invoice, but this isn't like buying a Subaru. The real question is what's the MSRP (answer for base, stripped: 28.7 plus destination)? The best deal I've heard (and it depends on where you live) is $1100 off MSRP. If you do better than that you are an Uber-buyer. I live in Nova, where xis are hot sellers (not that we get much snow), and we got $500 off MSRP back in October, and had to wait 2 months for delivery. MSRP or a little off seems to be the standard deal in the DC area.
    Not that any of this matters--we love Gunther, our xi!
  • I have a 00 323 and I think the inside of the 01 325 is the same or nearly the same. I believe the rear center arm rest comes if you order leather. I did order the fold down rear seats which come with the ski bag. I haven't used them yet and wouldn't order them again. I should have put the money into an upgraded stereo system as mine is the pits! Love the rest of the car!
  • tfjimtfjim Posts: 1
    I went into my local dealer (Autohaus of Clayton) on Monday and in about 35 minutes bought a 2001 325xi for European delivery. This is my first visit to this board, and compared to what I've read here it seems like I had a relatively painless process.

    My options were:
    - AWD xi package
    - Moonroof
    - In-dash CD player
    - Metallic paint
    - Xenon lights
    - Cruise control

    The MSRP including destination and a few dealer tid-bits was $32,860 (this was before the European delivery was considered.)

    Right off the bat the salesman offered a discount of $1,500, no questions asked. I was floored, so we were down to $31,300.

    I decided that a discount of 10% on $5,100 worth of options was not too much of a haircut for these guys, that plus the silly tid-bits he had added and I thought I would offer $30,500. But I asked about European delivery and this seemed to open him up a bit, cleared the way for a lower price. He said the difference between European delivery and the initial discount was $300, so he could go down that much more.

    Wow! So now I'm thinking $30,200. Figuring that I had taken a grand total of 35 minutes of this guy's time I offered $29,750. He left to talk to the manager and came back at $30,160. Peanuts!! I stuck to my guns and said what I was thinking about effort involved and believed he was doing well in the deal and that I didn't want to spend more than $30k. He left for 2 more minutes and came back and accepted my $29,750.

    The icing on the cake was the unsolicited offer for BMW financing at 5.9%. I was floored by this also. Hard to believe they're offering sub-Libor financing, but hey, they must be wanting to push cars or something.
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    The 330I wheels, M double spoke 68's are 7.5" in front and 8.5" wide in the rear.
    The 325I sport wheels are Star Spoke 44's and are 8.0" wide all around. I dont think you should have a problem fitting them on the 325I if thats what you are thinking about doing, but just note that they are made different sizes, so perhaps whats wrong with using just one size all around?
    Maybe the 8.5" will rub in the front?? Better ask the dealer or perhaps someone on this board has already been there and done that?
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    I appreciate the feedback and yes Greenwich is convenient - I would like to give the local dealer a shot first as I expect this to be only fair and I will be servicing there. However, I don't want to spend more than necessary either.

    If you have a name I can contact and a name I can "drop" when doing so that would be great. Perhaps an e-mail to if it is not too much trouble?

    Thanks again very much.

  • gio100gio100 Posts: 6
    Anybody please. I am from Boston, MA and I am new to BMW. Never bought a new car in my life. After work I went to a local BMW dealer to test drive one of those babies and I was enchanted-I felt like it was already mine. Here's the deal. The salesman told me there was no chance of discount. Base price $26,990, but I did not select any of the packages I just added stuff one by one:fold down seats($475), metallic paint($475), fogs($260), wood trim(500), in dash CD($200), plus the destination ($645 used to be $570). The total was $30,820 and he said no room for discount. All the itemized prices above are MSRP prices. What should I do? I'm steel missing the electric seats with driver's side memory, armrest. He probably noticed I am a novice. I take suggestions from anybody. I'm new to this. Maybe you can tell me what are the toys that can't be missing in this babies. I only know two BMW dealers in the Boston area. Are there any in NH. Or is it the same anywhere you go? Did anybody get a good deal and is willing to share the secret with me. Email My price tag is $30k. No finance.
    Thanks in advance
  • Prices are negotiable! Read through the archives on this board and on You'll find that through diligent effort you will be able to locate a dealer who will sell you the car at anywhere from $1300-2000 over invoice.

    It takes homework. There is a posting on called the Rizzo method which involves doing research on invoices prices, contracting many dealers (get their names from the yellow pages or off the BMWNA web site) and then negotiating prices by making them an offer over invoice (not MSRP). Start low but fair and work your way up. While I also prefer to buy my car from the place that is going to service it, the car can be acquired through any BMW dealer. This is your bargaining leverage. Be persistent until you feel that you've negotiated a price that seems fair based on your research. You can get invoice prices off the web site.

    For those in the NY/CT area, try Mike Spiranza at World Wide of Cars in Spring Valley, NY and Dave Putnam at Bell BMW in Newton, NJ (their service department is supposedly rated #1 in the nation by J.D. Power & Associates and will drive a loaner car to you and pick up your car for service). Both places offered very fair and negotiable prices.
  • I, or should I say my wife is the proud new owner of a '98 328is, jet black. She drives through the swamp, ummm wetlands of New Jersey on the NJ Turnpike. Home of the 18 wheeler and locust swarm. Our previous car, also black, developed numerous chips as well as the deposit of certain bug matter in the paint, particularly on the hood.

    I am weighing the option of installing a bra or applying the urethane shield to avoid a repeat of this most annoying experience. Obviously, I would prefer the shield if it is effective.

    Please let me know what if any experience you have with either option.

    Thanks for the help.
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    Congratulations on the new car !! I recently bought an "01 325I Black and drove that little rocket 4k miles through 4 states and back, and had to unfortunately, buy the BMW bra for the car. It worked, just fine, but the fit was pretty bad to me. If fit isnt a big deal to you, then this is probably the best, only it take a little time to put it on, as you know, two pieces, one for the hood and one that covers the entire front end except for your headlights and fogs.
    I am waiting for Colgan, another company that makes far superior bras, to put one together for the E46 and will probably buy theirs because it always fits so much better and looks very nice too.
    Ive not had experience with the urethane clear coating, and am somewhat apprehensive of anything that will stick to my paint for extended periods of time. The bra would have to come off regularly too, since it can get wet and and stay wet and over time that may make the paint change color a little. Its all tradeoffs, hope you can get feedback on the clear coating technique, perhaps another site may be able to help you too.
    Good luck!
  • ser1ser1 Posts: 9
    I also live in the Boston area. You can find the dealers in MA on the BMW web site. There is one in Natick, Norwood, Norwell, Peabody, Boston, and West Boylston. I have pretty much decided on a 325 as well. I have test driven a 325 twice (once at the Natick dealer, once at the Peabody dealer) I am still a few months away from ordering one but I was forced to seach early due to the long waiting list of the other car I was considering. The guys I spoke to at each dealership were very nice and didn't seem to be high pressure. I haven't gotten too much into the #'s yet however since I am not in the immediate market. They both gave me cost sheets which were the MSRP costs and I have a feeling it is going to be a fight to get any discount. 325's are in hot demand in the area and dealers don't seem to keep many on their lots. Peabody has the biggest selection that I have seen and they have the best website.

    Emailing dealers-
    I am wondering if anyone has had experience emailing dealers to try and make a deal before going in? I find that I am not very good at the face to face haggling. Since I have little experience at haggling and I have a fear that I will end up paying more than I should I was thinking of trying a different route. I was thinking that I could email different dealers specifying the car and options I want. I would include MSRP and Invoice prices and make a fair offer from there. I was thinking that it might be even a good idea to try and make the dealers compete for my business. I would attempt this by putting all the local dealers on the same email making them see the urgency to get back to me w/ a good price or risk losing my business to one of their competitors. I could force a bidding war between them without having to step foot into the dealer to haggle face to face(in a perfect world?)
    Is there any chance of this working?
    Does anyone have any opinions on this? Any similar experiences?

  • Well, I used the internet to request the dealers to call me. They did and many did offer a price over the phone. I finally decided on visting the dealer in Miami, and leased a 325i p-package. We told him we would not pay for the dealer prep fee, and would give him 750.00 dollars over invoice, the dealer showed us the invoice and I got sure enough only 750.00 w/no prep fee I got my car...
    My understanding is that $750.00 over invoice they do not need to speak to their managers and they would sell you the car. Another thing stick to your guns and do not pay the dealer pep fee.

    I just picked up my 325i 2001 - 2 weeks ago and love it.

    Good luck
  • <<#526 of 534  Bought a 325xi this week, paid $29,750 by tfjim  Jan 17, 2001 (01:55 pm)
    The MSRP including destination and a few dealer tid-bits was $32,860 (this was before the European delivery was considered.)

    Right off the bat the salesman offered a discount of $1,500, no questions asked. I was floored, so we were down to $31,300.

    I decided that a discount of 10% on $5,100 worth of options was not too much of a haircut for these guys, that plus the silly tid-bits he had added and I thought I would offer $30,500. But I asked about European delivery and this seemed to open him up a bit, cleared the way for a lower price. He said the difference between European delivery and the initial discount was $300, so he could go down that much more.

    Wow! So now I'm thinking $30,200. Figuring that I had taken a grand total of 35 minutes of this guy's time I offered $29,750. He left to talk to the manager and came back at $30,160. Peanuts!! I stuck to my guns and said what I was thinking about effort involved and believed he was doing well in the deal and that I didn't want to spend more than $30k. He left for 2 more minutes and came back and accepted my $29,750. >>

    ...the dealer's first offer of $1500 off MSRP was better than your final deal!

    Here's the skinny: the dealer first offered you $1500 off MSRP. Then you mentioned eurodelivery and that is $1800 less than US delivery, and the salesman correctly pointed out that the diff was $300. In other words to get the same deal, he should have offered to take off $3300. That should have take the price down to $29560. And, with your 10% haircut on those options, should have dropped your offer another $500, to $29060.

    And, yes, the dealer makes the same profit markup on eurodelivery as on US delivery, even though the price on ED is about 7% less.
  • I did some of the preliminary negotiations by email. I preferred to meet the salesman to finalize the deal, but if you don't feel comfortable with that I was told by several sales people that they negotiate deals over the phone all the time without ever meeting the customer (including delivery - which takes place by truck to the person's home or office). Good luck. Let us know how your email idea works.
  • gio100gio100 Posts: 6
    I got the contacts for all the BMW centers in Massachusetts. I called the first one and this is the click.
    5-Speed Automatic $1,210 $1,275
    Sport Package $1,275 $1,500
    Fold Down Rear Seats $405 $475
    Premium Package $2,975 $3,500
    Fog Lights $220 $260
    Metallic Paint $405 $475
    Destination Charge $645 $645
    Total $31,585 $35,120

    They are all asking me for a number, but I dont really want to sound to cheap or settle for a price that then I think I was taken like a s...

    I am a novice. Can anybody help me with numbers.
    You know, those of you that know the tricks of the trade.
    If you really feel that you are to help a 3ier lover, grab my email or post your opinion.
    I really need to get some wheels soon. I commute from Boston to the suburbs everyday on my way to work. I know it's a long wait so I want to settle soon.
    Thanks in advance.
  • gus67gus67 Posts: 4
    No question that this is a great handling car, but since 95% of the
    time I will be on my daily commute to work (35 miles each way),
    I wanted to see how comfortable the ride would be.
    I test drove a 325i, none-SP

    The seats are great, and the ride not harsh at all. But, the
    car was noisy (wind and engine), at least to my
    expectations from a 30k car.

    When I press on the gas, the engine sounded like a small hole in the muffler. This happened especially when trying to increase the
    speed slowly. When pressing aggressively on the gas pedal,
    the engine sounded better. This was a surprise to me since I have
    read how the 325 engine sound like "music to your ears".
    I asked the salesman and he said that this is how they sound,
    and actually many complain about it.
    I driver a Nissan Maxima and the engine sounds great, and I was expecting something similar on the 325.

    In addition, with the 5sp, at 75mph, the RPM is 3500, which is too noisy. With the automatic, it is 2700(when in overdrive), which is great. I have not owned an automatic for 10 years, and
    the shifting on the 325 was excellent.
    I did driver another 325 5sp at another dealer and it sounded the same.

    I also test drove the Jetta VR6, and the engine sounded a lot better.
    That was another surprise since it is known that VW make noisy and
    high-rpm engines.

    I am still considering the 325, but the exitment is a lot less.

    Any similar experiences, or helpfull comments.

  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    Gus, I own a 01' 325I, 5 speed, with SP and PP, just drove it 4k miles round trip and almost always had the windows up. Cant say I noticed what you heard, and after driving a 4 cyl 1.8 liter Acura for a few years, this inline 6 cyl is very quiet to me. I drove it at avg speed of around 84.3 mph the entire way on the highway, and never noticed it being noisier at higher speeds either. By the way, it averaged 30+ mpg the entire trip. Believe the Cd on this car is .31, so that says its pretty slick in the air, perhaps the mirrors make the most noise because of their shape??
    I played the upgraded HK sound system loud so maybe I just missed all this noise?? When I didnt play it or turned it down, I couldnt detect any noise from the outside at all.. Maybe I just went to too many rock concerts in the 60's and 70's eh??
    Ive heard the Passat V6 and its very quiet, the BMW would be a little louder, but thats the way they engineer it to be. What do you want, an awesome riding, handling, all around car, or one thats dead quiet with no input? In that range the Lexus IS300, which I also spent alot of time looking at and driving, might be a better choice?
    Good luck !!
  • The only reason I currently have a 325i on order is because I began to email practically all the dealers in the NJ area (only after several mo. of dealing with dealers face to face with no final signature on the dotted line).
    I received only a few responses at first (maybe sending an email to several dealers may work better with faster results) from the dealers I choose. To each dealer I indicated the spec's I wanted for "my" 325i. Also, I informed them that waiting for a vehicle was not an issue yet that the best offer would have my business. No numbers were mentioned initially only after they returned with there numbers did I respond (via email) what range I was willing to pay. As most in this forum have stated start low but at a reasonable low amount. In the end stay within the final amount you are willing to pay. I had a few that did not even bother to reply and only three that did. Out of them I only spoke to only two sales persons and only one was willing to negotiate to my final amount.
    Also, about three weeks after making the deal I received two replies from dealers from my initial email.
  • The signature of the BMW engine is a "throaty" sound. You can always go Lexus with "floating" steering if you'd like.
  • You might want to ask the dealer sales rep. for their best offer first to get an idea of who you're dealing with, or else offer them something between $1000-$2000 (dealer profit) over invoice price ($31,585 + $______ = $________) as your initial offer (depending on how rich and generous you are feeling).

    General rules of negotiating --> start low and work your way up. Anything in the vicinity of a $1500 above invoice offer is nothing to be embarrassed about.

    Watch out for the fine print charges!!

    ... and go get 'em!!
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