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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • chewie5chewie5 Posts: 61

    Where in Paso Robles did you stay? My wife and I are looking to take a trip down to Hearst Castle as well. Are there any tours of Hearst Castle that you recommend?

    For the poll: Both my wife and I are 27. We (she) has a 2002 325i (silver, black leather, SP, PP, xenon, heated seats, step)
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    I'm 36, but I'll be 37 in May, so I straddle demographics.

    Plan to order in May: 2002 325i, Electric Red w/Black Leatherette, with SP, Power Seats, Xenon, HK, Steptronic, and either buy the armrest and install it myself, or work out a deal with the dealer for the parts and install, or some combination of the above. I estimate a lease payment of $458/mo, according to BMWNA, with $1,200 off MSRP and another $1,800 down. 36mo, 12,000 mi/year. If I drop the power seats, I can save $14/mo. Haven't decided on that one yet. I have this complicated matrix with the car configured about seven different ways. It's bizarre, but that's the only way I can make the decision. Everything is on the table at this point, except colors and Step.

    Question: How late in the year can you order 2002 models, before they stop production and make you wait for a 2003? Will I be OK in late May? Do you guys think it might affect price/negotiating power for better or worse?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    32 (wife 36)

    2002 325xi Oxford Green Metallic
    SP, CWP, wood, leather (natural brown), window tint, xenon, 5sp

    As for Paso Robles, I have stayed at Paso Robles Inn (with hot tubs in the rooms - nice) and the Adelaide Inn. Both are near the downtown area with some nice restaurants (like McLintock's). Paso has a very small quaint feel to it. I like it.

    As for Hearst Castle, if you haven't been, take Tour #1. It is fairly comprehensive. There are 3 others you can take, and if you schedule them right, you can take several in one day, but you have to pay for each. Book your reservations in advance, especially if you are planning on going on ANY holiday/extended weekend.

    If you want more info, email me at or

  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    You can order 2002 till pretty late in the year. They will sale them until the '03 arrives in Sept or October.

    I didn't know the wife's age was included. My wife is 32 and I have a 10mo old girl.

    Drove to San Antonio this weekend by myself in my '95 325 with 91k miles on it and once again, I fell in love with the car. Straight shot, no twisties like the PCH. Would love to live in CA.
    Set the cruise on about 90mph and no police to be seen for the 200mile drive. Smooth ride. The car just starts to bloom from 70mph to 95mph. It is effortless. Went about 120mph for 3-4 miles with an infinity I30. She had some trouble keeping up, but we drove 100mph for about 50 miles. The car was solid and I just can't get over how responsive it is even at those speeds. I hope you are not offended. I think 120 is way too fast, but it is fun to test the limit occasionally. The road is straight and relatively empty so I do not think I was putting anyone else at risk.

    Sunday went to the Houston Auto show. Not much to talk about there. BMW had a good presence and there were crowds of people looking at them. The G35 got some lookers, but the BMW area was packed. Bottom line is that everyone wants a bimmer.

    G35 is still good for the money.

    BTW, I agree with bbell4 - get the options. A year down the line you won't remember the extra cost and will continually thank yourself that you went the extra mile and got what you really wanted. Dont spend 35-40k and walk away thinking that you should have gotten the xenons or something. You would hate to spend that much and not be in hog heaven. Treat yourself.

    So should I go ahead and get the SP after all this talk? Do you think it will improve the 330i performance since the 330 comes with the sport suspension anyway--it comes down to the tires--will they make the car tighter?
  • rdl40rdl40 Posts: 60
    I turn 42 this year, my wife will be 40 (and yah she drives a stick).
    I've had my steel blue 330i with sport pkg. , 18" style 72 wheels and leather for two weeks now. This is my first BMW, I don't know why I waited so long!

    And yes I would highly recommend the sp with the larger wheels. Ride comfort is still good. Handling is awesome.
  • chewie5chewie5 Posts: 61
    I don't have a 330, but I would think that the sport package for a 330 would be more about personal preferences rather than performance--you could always swap out the tires. Personally, if I had gotten the 330, I would still opt for the sports package b/c I like the goodies that you get (steering wheel, rims, etc) on the SP better than the stock ones, not to mention that many have said that the sports seats alone are worth the price. If $$$ is tight, I would sacrifice elsewhere (PP for example) to get the SP.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    Thanks for the opinions. I am sitting here screwing around with the numbers. As I have said before, I am trying to wait to get an '03 if I can.

    Here are the calculations:

    Bi xenons
    18" wheels
    Metallic paint

    MSRP 42,085.

    Add tax, title and license and here in Houston it is going to be $45000 out the door.

    I don't have a problem with it, but my wife will probably kick me out of the house. She is ok with everything, but will have a lot of trouble understanding the rationalle behind 18" tires.

    I better start being real sweet now, so come the fall I can drop this bomb on her.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? Do I need the 18" wheels? I sure would like them.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    "...she drives a stick, just like Mrs. Brave1heart..." Shipo, that was the one and only skill that I required from my wife and she passed the test with flying honors :o) The knowledge that she can borrow my car to go pick up a pizza (I said ONE skill) gives me a peace of mind :o)
  • chewie5chewie5 Posts: 61
    "Do I need the 18" wheels?"

    Don't even go there :-)
    If it is ever a question of "need", you will always lose out in the end. Buying a BMW is never about needs, it is about wants and desires. Needs are what result in a Honda or Toyota.

    As far as the 18's go, my boss recently went through the same thing and opted not to go with them. He didn't feel a big difference between the 18" and 17" wheels, and liked the styling of the SP rims--it wasn't worth the $$$ to him. One other thing to keep in mind is that the replacement tires for the 18's are probably more expensive than for the 17's.
  • jluftigjluftig Posts: 20
    I opted for 17" as 18" wheels are heavier they in theory result in more unsprung wheight and make the car slower, like I said in theory. In addition there is less cushion, so when you do hit a pot hole, you will wish you had 17", actually 15" would be nice with some pot holes I have barely avoided. So why 18", well the reduced side walls mean less flex when cornering. 18" wheels look great, but the M series 17" rims on the 330i SP are my favorite BMW wheels and that is what I choose. Just my two cents.
  • bbell4bbell4 Posts: 34
    How much comfort do you give up by going with the SP and the 17" wheels? (In either the 325i or the 330i) Most people seem to say the ride is noticably rougher....

    God, there's SOOOO much to consider!!
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I wanted to try out a Bell M2 helmet and I called 3-4 motorcyle shops but unfortunately none of them carry Bell helmets. Then I went into one of the largest motorcycle shops thinking they'll have the best selection so I could try out different type helmets for the best fit. I tried an HJC and a Shoei (both Snell m2000) compliant but I was extremely uncomfortable in the driver's seat of my car because they didn't have enough clearance. I am 6'1 and I think I have about 1/2 inch of clearance when sitting straight without a helmet (my 325 has a sunroof). So here's what I am trying to find out:
    1. Would helmets designed for car racing have better clearance than motorcycle helmets? If they do, what brand should I look for? Is snell m2000 compliance same as snell 2000?!? I'd think that motorcycle helmets are designed to protect you better in a slide as opposed to bumping your head against the roof of a car.
    2. Would open-face helmets offer more clearance than full-face helmets?

    Thanks. First autocross is on Saturday and the anticipation is building up fast!!
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I'm 45 with 2000 323i, 5 speed, SP, sand leather, wood, jet black.

    My car has 16" wheels and I was sure I would upgrade to 17". Now I think I'll stay with 16's. The larger wheels will improve handling, degrade ride, allow for pot hole damage, weigh more and cost more. However, I can rotate the 16's and get at least 5,000 extra miles on the set. One more consideration - I had a flat tire a few months ago, and even with 225/50's I had a hard time feeling the flat. Would be worse with 40 or 45 aspect ratio 17's. Although the 17" rims on the 330 SP are awesome looking.
  • gwunjgwunj Posts: 26
    You'll get different answers depending on who you ask. I wondered the same thing two months ago. My answer? Take a test drive with the sport package and see what your butt tells you. I found the ride with the SP to be just fine. Compared to my old '93 Sentra with dying struts, the ride was smooth as silk! =)

    Just decide before you go whether you want to buy now or not. As the service advisor mentioned... they just wait for the test drive to push the fence-sitters over the edge. It sure threw a wrench into my grand plans about how I was going to work all the dealers.

  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I'm 32 with a 2001 325Ci, Steel Grey Metallic, 5 Spd, SP, HK, MR, lthr, Xenon.

    Brave---I just completed my first autocross school on Sunday at Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland. I did three auto-xs in the fall, and just had a blast. The school taught me a lot of new skills and helped me gain confidence in pushing my car hard. It's amazing what a 3 can do. You'll have a great time, and everyone is very helpful (not many overblown egos to contend with). Talk to people and find out as much as you can--I thought I was a car geek/autophile, but I can't hold a candle to some of these guys. When you drive the course, make sure to look to the two or three gates ahead of you, not just the one you're about to drive through. This is the one thing I learned yesterday that made a difference in my ability to drive the course well. It will keep you smooth and help you drive the right line. Have a blast!!
  • rdl40rdl40 Posts: 60
    My advice to you is go to your dealer and drive
    a 330i with 17" then drive one with the 18"s.
    You'll probably won't feel much difference in ride quality. but push it the corners and the larger wheels make you feel more connected to the road.

    Just remember, its only $800 more to opt for the 18s. If you wait and later down the road decide to upgrade, you'll be looking at $3000
    for a wheel and tire pkg. from tirerack.
    Plus over the course of financing your car the additional $800 isn't much per month.

    Another factor for opting for the 18s is where
    you live. I live in Cali. and the roads and weather are always are good all year.
    But if your in the northeast or midwest then I might take the other peoples advice on this board and go with the 17s.

    good luck
  • skobolaskobola Miami, FLPosts: 207
    I have just leased my 2002 325i, TSilver, no options for $355/month for 36 months/30k miles + $600 out-of-pocket + $3,600 nine fully-refundable security deposits. The price w/o security deposit would be $395+tax. Although this is a done deal, I am just trying to find if I did good or could have done better, and for the car that was ordered and delivered here in the US. I know that I could have done better with ED, but I hate paying for the lease while not having the car (i.e., while it is in transport). Still, I am a little bit disappointed because the dealer did not want to get me the car with clear lenses and armrest for which I would pay (per my estimate) not more than +$10/month.
    Thanks in advance.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Gotta admit, you've got me stumped with nearly all of your questions...

    * There are different snell ratings for different sports. If you go to this snell webpage and click on a given certification, they give a listing of various helmets (brand and model) that have that certification. They might also explain what the differences are in certification, but I didn't look that hard.

    * I have no experience with auto racing helmets so I cannot answer the height/clearance question other than to say I think they will be very close to the same height as m-c helmets. I would also expect full face and open face helmets to be very close in height.

    * While looking around, I found Bell has a pretty good page on finding the proper helmet fit.

  • roc50mgroc50mg Posts: 102
    32y/o. 2001 jet black 330xi PP/SP/CWP/5sp/xenon. Single and cruising.

    What exactly is the purpose of this poll?
  • heatmiser1heatmiser1 Posts: 122
    Edmunds lists what seems to be a pretty good lease deal on the 2002 330i under "incentives & rebates". It states that for right around $3,000 down you can lease a 330i for 36 months at $399 (plus tax) per month. The rub is that it is only for 10,000 miles annually. I would easily put 16K to 18K miles per year which could leave me as high as 24K miles over the limit at lease end.

    Anyone know how much BMW (or the bank) charges per mile if paid up front before the lease begins? How much do they charge per mile for over-mileage at lease end? Does anyone know if BMW is willing to look the other way (or partially look the other way) when trading in a BMW lease that is way over-mileage for another BMW once the lease is over?

    I was going to purchase a different sedan for the next 3-4 years which would give BMW time to implement the valvetronic technology in the 3 series. This lease deal has me rethinking that program especially if they would be "forgiving" for return lease customers who are over mileage...
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,325
    I have no direct experience with BMW, but when you lease a car and go over the mileage, you're going to pay for the excess mileage one way or the other. (Getting people who go over lease mileage is a great way for them to make money). You have a few options: Buying the mileage upfront is always cheaper. If say you only get a 10,000 mile per year lease (not too smart on your part), you can call BMW 6-9 months before your lease ends and tell them. They will roll the excess mileage into your lease payments at I believe $.15 per mile instead of $.20. Here's what you're looking at though:

    $3000 Down Payment: $ 83.30
    24,000 extra miles (@ $.15): $100.00
    Total: $582.30

    An I'm not sure what options you want. You shouldn't walk into the dealer shopping for payments. They love that. You should research the price here on edmunds and other sites ( Many people here are paying in the $1200-$1500 over invoice range for their cars (depending on what region they're in).

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

  • I am doing ED in about a month and am planning on flying into frankfurt rather than munich due to lower fares. Have any of you taken the train that runs between these two cities or are aware of the frequency that trains run in germany on the whole? I have seen a few sites out there that try to list times/fares out but nothing too solid. Also, is there much worth doing in frankfurt or is time better spent seeing the rest of the country?
  • derprofiderprofi Posts: 250
    I've got some Frankfurt-Munich train info in my write-up. Check the Frankfurt section on 11/25.

    Personally, the only reason I stayed in Frankfurt at all was to visit relatives. IMHO, your time is better spent touring around elsewhere.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I would hope she has more than one skill. I know mine has at least two: driving a manual, and putting up with me. :)

    When we looked at BMW, she was the one to insist we got a manual. Gotta love that! :) That has the added bonus of me knowing my soon-to-be 16 year old daughter can't drive it. :)

  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    17 vs. 18: I would go with 17. 18 will increase contact patch (which helps in cornering), but it also increases unsprung weight (decrease in acceleration). 18 will cost more initially, more to replace, and easier to damage. Plus, does a sedan really need this much rubber?

    Helmet: Brave, I believe the `m' stands for motorcycle. I'm pretty sure you'll need to go to a racing store to get Bell helmets. I don't know if racing helmet will give you better clearance or not.

    I'm 6'1" as well, so I have similar problem fitting into my car with helmet on. Couple things to try. Obviously, lower the seat as much as possible, slide the plastic moonroof cover, and play around with your sitting position. If none of these help, just remember that you won't be driving very long with the helmet on.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    To add to what Dave said, one additional disadvantage to the increase in unsprung weight is that suspension action will be affected. It is easier for a lower weight tire/wheel to change direction which will help it maintain contact with the road. As a caveat, most of my suspension set-up knowledge is based on motorcycles and when your contact patch is roughly the size of your thumb, this stuff probably becomes a lot more critical.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    I have also been researching and debating the leasing issue, as I now work 35 miles from home instead of 15 miles. In the past, 12,000mi/year was plenty, but now I need more like 15,000.

    I can't stomach the payment of a buy: +/-$600/mo as opposed to $460/mo lease. I also don't want to buy my miles up front, since I could get transferred back to the home office and be back to the shorter commute.

    My solution: lease for 12,000 mi/year and take my chances. If my lifestyle changes, I'll be fine on miles. If I exceed my miles, I'll try to negotiate with the dealer to forgive the miles when I re-lease. If he won't budge, I'll buy the three year old 325i out of the lease, getting a great deal on a used BMW, with a year of warranty left +/-, on which I know the history of every mile. I can then keep the car and pay it off, or sell/trade it in the last warranty year - probably for more or at least as much as the residual.

    That's my strategy today,...feel free to show me where the holes are in it, gentlemen.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Advantage program for car prices. I never would have thought about doing this except for people writing about it on another board. I already have my car on order, but thought I'd just compare. They put me in touch with a local dealer who would sell me what I want $1300 over dlr invoice. That's the pretty much the same deal as the corporate buyers service Redbooks.

    Sometime I'm o.k. with waiting, being patient, sometimes it's like " I want it NOW ".
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    18 will increase contact patch (which helps in cornering)

    Unless the 18" rims and tires take a lower air pressure, the contact patch area should be the same, only the shape of the patch will change with the width of the tire.

    Air pressure in the tires, not the sidewalls, supports the majority of the weight. The contact patch area is more a function of the pressure in the tire, not the rim diameter. In fact, I would think a larger rim would allow the sidewall to support more weight and slightly decrease the contact patch area for a given air pressure.

    The larger rim helps cornering by reducing the side deflection of the tire and keeping the tire in more even contact with the road.

  • rshaw11rshaw11 Posts: 52
    When people refer to "clear lenses" are they talking about the headlight lenses? What are the advantages of clear lenses, and how much extra do they cost? Thanks.
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