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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    Nobee, I want to do Nurburgring but it was only open I the day that I headed to England. Also, you cannot drive on the track with Tourist plates. I don't think my brother's Protege would have been any fun. The Pix look good. My brother has 18 months left at Spangdahlem, I guess I have another shot before then.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    one sweet taxi.....
  • chewie5chewie5 Posts: 61
    I got my 325i for $1500 off MSRP + floormats at BMW of SF. That was the best deal that I had found after checking at Allison BMW, Sonnen, Prestige, and Weatherford.
  • colt007colt007 Posts: 64
    Is the 330ci the convertible? First saw him coming from the Whitestone bridge plaza 4/4 around 10:20pm headed North on the Hutchinson Pway. I was in a Red 300M. Saw him blast off & went after him. Didnt catch him ( I backed off @ 85mph). I wanted to stay close, 'cause I knew this guy could get me home in 20 minutes (could take 40+ mins from this point). Traffic thickend & I saw him again, moving in & out of slower traffic (I also have a 530ia so I know how sweeet that 330 must feel!) Got near him again getting off @ exit 13 (cross county). I got stuck behind slower traffic on the 180 degree exit ramp, he was stuck for a second, then blasted around a slower car & was gone. Got close again as we were getting on the NYS Thruway (notice I never did pass). I was determined to stay within a mile or so; he was runnig around 100+ in light traffic so I was able to keep up. Flashed him as I was getting off @ exit 14, I think he blinked the flashers at me. Best run I had in a while. Just wanted to share, the 3 must be a blast to drive. I know it aint much compared to nobee's Nurburgring run.

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Wow... I guess being a bumpkin has it's benefits. Doing a quick search of the area on half-million dollar houses (there aren't many around here), I found a 5 bedroom 4,000sq ft home (new construction) on 11.5 acres... all that and numbered streets that only run in one direction! :-)
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I posted this on another board too, but I was wondering what everyone thought.

    Any news on the 2003 3 series? Where can I find some news?

    Is the SMG coming down to the 330? I have heard very unreliable rumors that this may happen. This would certainly be a performance boost.

    Will they tweak the engine for a little more HP? The '03 Infiniti and Acura have 260HP. I know that you do not shop for HP alone, but it makes it tough to claim the ultimate driving machine if you are left in the dust by all of the new cars.

    Will they make a in-dash CD changer available in '03? It is standard on every competing model.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    In Europe, the 3 series can be had with the SMG. I have not heard anything about the 2003 3 series. As far as a standard CD changer, it seems to me that you are doing fine to have a standard CD player. The C-class does not have a standard CD player. HP does not mean much because even in Motor Trend's last comparo(May 2001), at least three cars had more HP (Volvo S60 T5,Acura TL Type-S and Saab 9-3 Viggen). Still the BMW 330i and Audi A4 3.0 are still consider benchmarks. Regardless of what Lexus, Infiniti and Acura have to offer, they are selling to the U.S. market versus selling to the true driver. Time and time again, the Japanese auto companies are aiming to produce a BMW beater. I don't see the TL, IS 300, G35 on the GT circuit. All are fine cars but are not refined performers. If I want 0-60 for a cheap price, I'll buy a Mustang GT or a Subaru WRX. Who wants weight adding luxury?
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I agree with you. Car companies are like computer companies--they are touting one number as a mark of their product (HP). Computer companies talk about GHz as if this was the only number that mattered.

    I have '95 325i (190HP) and my wife has a '00 Maxima (222HP) and my car wins in every respect even though it is 5 years older and has twice the mileage.

    Actually, the sound system in the Maxima is superior.

    I am stuck on the 3 series and I am going to order the '03 330i the minute a dealer will let me.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    To be fair, the Maxima is a great car considering it can be had for about 10-15k less than a comparably equipped 330.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    THREE Elantras for one Maxima - now that would be a really good deal :o)
  • ben__ben__ Posts: 13
    There are some nice things about buying the Japanese cars. They tend to be less expensive with comparable options, and most things are standard. BMW tends to make everything an option, and as a result each option costs a chunk of change.

    That said, I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for." There are a bunch of neat things that are standard on every BMW since the 80s that you can't get on some of the competitors.

    One example would be the sensor in the brakes that informs you when you're due for new pads. It isn't inexpensive, but it is a really nice touch.

    I think that SMG, while very cool, is not the manual transmission I would want in my 3. A lot of the fun and the skill in driving a stick is working the clutch.
  • 530bmw530bmw Posts: 130
    This thought came to me before I bought my 530. I could get a fleet of 6-7 Yugos with different colors (too bad it is not available anymore) for the money that I pay for ONE 530. That is pretty sad, isn't it?
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I can't imagine that there will be much special on the 2003 3 series. They have changed the seats from 10 way to 12 way in March. Given that cosmetic and interior changes were made for 2002, 2003 could not get much especially given that the 5-series and Z3 are due for significant changes. Maybe SMG might make but it will probably be for the 330. I guess there will always be a debate among the purist and owners who are not enthusiasts. SMG is still an automatic but lacks the torque converter. I guess if the purist had their way, the 2002 or the E30 would still be around. But the same can be said for the M-B SL through all the generations. It went from race car to lux cruiser for the rich. A two seater with an automatic does seem weird.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    With the glut of quick cars or a least high HP cars flooding the market. It seems as though everyone will come on this board and compare their car with the BMW 3-series, why? There are a lot of nice cars out there, why can't folks enjoy their car and stop comparing their car to a BMW. I really believe their is such thing as BMW envy. In the coming months, we will have to deal with G35,Altima V6,Lancer Evo VII,Skyline(???),Impreza WRX STi. All are fast, but lack the German refinement. If I was 25 and single with money burning a whole in my pocket. I would buy a Evo VII or WRX STi or even a Focus RS (if it was available in the US). These are sporty cars with sporty interior and no luxury. Weekend racers, if I can call them that. I think one needs to ask themself, what do I want in a car. The S2000 had recently come up, personally, I would buy a Lotus Elise Exige. No thrills, just a car. 0-60 in 4.7sec, 177HP, 126 ib-ft torque, top speed 136 from a 1.8 litre engine. For beating Hondas on a track this is fine for straight line driving, no way. The Ultimate Driving Machine is a combination of things but the primary point is fun to drive not to ride. Take the ride part any way you like.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    Short answer is that it does for some people.

    Just look at how many Firebird's and Mustang's Detroit has sold over the years, and yet what percentage of them could actually manage to make it around a decent corner?

    Ultimately, any vehicle is a series of design compromises and trade-offs and what the blend is is what the designer considers "best". To a great degree, it is really nothing more than a personal opinion, biased by those things that we're able to measure (such as HP & 0-60).

    And even if we're able to measure something doesn't mean that its the right thing to measure. For example, it has been said that people 'buy horsepower, but drive torque' and in many of the one-upmanship car-vs-car discussions you hear, you'll hear HP numbers bandied about, but rarely is torque ever mentioned.

    Personally, I use rules of thumb when looking at various cars. For example, a power:weight ratio of 20-25 lbs/horsepower is more than adequate, although I also double check that its ~0.67 ft-lbs/HP or better. Overall, if you do the basics correctly, the "magazine numbers" will follow in due course.

  • luftig1luftig1 Posts: 23
    My first car - the ultimate to me then, '78 Camero SS with side pipes. Noisy, fun, ok fast if I did not flood the engine with the Holly 650 double pumper carb I put on the edelbrock manifold. In hindsite, cornered like crap and the interior just fell apart.

    Second car - Bronco II SUV. Good transport, not fun. Enjoyed the higher view. Missed the performance.

    Third Car - Mustang GT 5.0 Convertible, Fast, Fun, Better handeling than my prior cars, Bright Yellow (What was I thinking) - not very refined, but fun.

    4th car, BMW 300i, to me the ultimate driving machine. Reliable, Great performance, Luxury, Quality,... This would not have been anything I wanted when I bought my Camero, funy how the what is our Ultimate Driving Machine changes over time.

    Next car ? I bet another Bimmer.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,265
    To me it isn't about the "hard numbers" (0-60, Skidpad, 1/4 mile). Although I use these numbers as a basis for comparison, I always use fun to drive, the infamous "butt dyno," & how fast I can take exit ramps as my basis for analyzing performance (driving dynamics). Handling is more important than speed for me. Build quality as well as fit & finish are higher on my list than speed. Timeless styling. I like weighted (read communicative) steering. BMW does all these things really well. That's why I think they truly make The Ultimate Driving Machine. Other manufactures make great cars too, just in my mind nobody makes a Sport Sedan like BMW (just my opinion, I'm not saying BMW is better than Brand X).

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • rshaw11rshaw11 Posts: 52
    If I might add my two cents to the discussion, I think it get downs to maturity and experience. When we're young different things are important, fast cars, fast woman, etc. As we grow up (older) we become more sophisticated, we learn that there's more pleasure below the surface. Driving is like that, first, just want to go fast, and later you want to appreciate the "driving" experience. It's easy to build a fast car, but much more difficult to build a great driving car.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    IMO, I think Huntzinger hit it on the head, at least for me. Customer preference. In the U.S., we are the largest customers of automobile, so I think most manufactors listen to our opinions at the dismay of the rest of the world. We, as a nation, drive automatics while the rest of the world drive manuals. Purist drive manual, lazy folks like myself drive automatics (my truck is manual). The fact is that automatic is standard in most luxury cars in the U.S., while econoboxes are manuals (Europeans drive econoboxes which are manual). Automatic can also be a costly option but most dealers will carry a lot full of automatics. At what point did we got from driving to riding(automatic tranny, t.v.,high-end stereo, air con, damped ride, quiet engines, lack of steering response,etc...)
  • nobeenobee Posts: 194
    Great topic. Just like most people on this board I believe the ultimate driving machine isn't determined on how fast it runs the quarter mile or how many G's it can pull around the track, but rather, how much satisfaction you gain from your machine. Base price of a stock 3-series BMW for me would be 24,100 plus 265 for destination. A car with no options but hell of a lot more fun than a Honda Accord V-6 with all the trimmings. BMW sets the standard and everyone else sitting in their fully loaded Camry's can watch me drive away enjoying life! Go BMW!

  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Has anyone played around with their tire pressure? I've recently increased my front from 32 to 33 psi. The initial impression is that understeer's been lessened, but ride quality has gone down.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    As many others have already expressed, to me it's about handling and feedback, not 0-60 or skidpad numbers. The limiting factor in my BMW isn't the car, but me. I attend BMW CCA events because they're fun, and to improve my driving skills. Some day, I hope to fully utilize this beautifully engineered car.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I use 32/34 F/R. I played with the pressure up to 35 for the fronts but just like you, I thought that ride quality suffered above 32 psi for the fronts and I left it at that...
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    What's the recommended psi for your car?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    ...but only as part of the whole package. If size or HP is all that mattered, Anna Nicole Smith would have been the sexiest woman alive...The Ultimate Driving Machine is about balance and versatility. Ultimately, it is the feeling you get while driving it. When I drive my car while listening to certain songs (esp. Let's Go Out Tonight from John Lee Hooker), I feel like we're dancing gracefully - it makes me want to switch lanes endlessly - step, step left step, step right step... Haven't felt that way about any other car I've ever driven regardless of the car's horsepower.
  • eoseos Posts: 27
    I'm sure this topic has been explored before, but can any of the regulars summarize the pros and cons of buying or avoiding SA-built cars?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,265
    It doesn't make a difference. Actually the plant in SA is newer. But it doesn't make a difference.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • eoseos Posts: 27
    I'm sure this topic has been explored before, but can any of the regulars summarize the pros and cons of buying or avoiding SA-built cars?

  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    My route took me thru a...
    '77 VW Rabbit--fond memories of college days
    '74 Opel Manta--sister's car, very fun to drive
    '85 Prelude--my fave, everyone else's too as it was stolen 3 times
    '91 Vigor--foray into luxury-land that did not work out for me
    '95 Nissan SE-R--my current baby is old but it's been reliable & fun.
    My first awareness of BMW was in the 8th grade, math teacher Mrs. Tom had an orange 2002 & it was very cool. She was a trendsetter. As for me, I think the 325i says lasting quality, great handling & balance, plenty of amenities & safety features and plenty of HP, esp. compared to what I have now. Expensive yes, but $1200 over invoice seems to be a good price. If I order this week, dealer said I should get it mid-June.
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