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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    Don't you just love the brown leather. I think this is the most attractive interior scheme for 325's. Unfortunately its not available with leatherette.

    I saw an orient blue with brown leather, and what I liked is that the carpet and parts of the door that you touch were still black - so they wouldn't show the dirt. It had a two-tone quality. If I could afford leather, I'd definitely get brown, with Electric red paint.

    PS: I agree that the titanium looks awful with any color interior except black. I saw a tan interior with titanium on the lot, and it just looked weird. It looks really sporty with black, though. I saw a CPO bright red 323i w/black interior and black trim, and it didn't look nearly as nice as the titanium or the wood.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Welcome aboard!! Great options, you must be in heaven. What tires did your SP come with?
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    You'll need your VIN. Shipo sent me this link & instructions for tracking car. Am glad to hear your steel blue/tan looks good, cuz that's what i'm getting. I had to edit out some gibberish codes, good luck.

    Get your VIN handy, follow this link:, select Auto in the Drop Down List Box (the one that has a drop down arrow Track By Auto), enter your VIN, (cargo i.d.? ) click the "Track" link, and wait for something like two minutes. The system will then give you a full report about the voyage that your car is on.

  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    William: thanks for the tip on the armrest.

    1pierce: if your limited on options, i would pass on Xenon , the standard lamps are VERY good.I know most are buying them but if its between that and gettting the Color you want or real Leather... you see my point.

    wheels: my V spoke style 54 wheels due to the small spokes are sooo hard to clean. my favorite wheel right now for ease of cleaning is the standard 325CI star spoke style 43 wheel, but alas its not a option on the sedan.

  • jagzbimmerjagzbimmer Posts: 17
    I'm new to this board. I just put an order in for a 2003 330xi on 5/18. Order won't go in until late June, but I wanted to get mine in. These cars will be hot in my part of the country come August/September. I know the wait is long (dealer says late Sept. delivery), but I'd rather wait 4 months NOW than 6 months LATER!

    I'm glad to hear so many people like the Topaz Blue b/c I ordered:

    Topaz Blue/Sand Leather
    Run Flat Tires (Rims w/ Run flats seem nicer
    than stock rims
    Heated Seats
    No Packages (330 comes very well equipped

    Read a post about titanium not looking good with interior colors other than black. I have an '02 X5 with Sand Leather that has titanium. It looks great.

    kp40m: I wouldn't wait too long to order your car (of course, it all depends on where you are and how demand is). I, too, was going to wait until late summer. But, in talking with the dealer, I decided to put my order in early. Salesman used 02 figures, which is ok b/c residuals will only be higher on '03s, and money factors should not fluctuate too much.

    My deal is basically $425/mo. with $3000 TOP (includes prepaid sales tax).

    I'm looking forward to getting my 2nd Bimmer, and being a member of the board!

    P.S. I'm the classic example of once you go Bimmer, you never go back!!!!!!!
  • I believe they are the ContiSport tires. I know they are 225/45 r17 all the way around. They look really good on the car--very sporty--especially with the black leather and silver trim. Anybody have any good suggestions how to keep it cool when its been sitting in the sun? The Texas sun is brutal and its only May.
  • On Saturday I took delivery of a new 2002 325i sedan--orient blue metallic, moonroof, 5 speed, sports package, cold weather package, upgraded sound system, and paint protection. It's my first BMW and well worth the 9-week wait. I've lusted after the 3-series since I drove a new 320i in the late 1970s. (Quite an upgrade from my 1987 Honda Prelude that I had owned for 15 years!)

    My questions: (1) should I purchase the 1 additional year of BMW service protection for $750(extending the service coverage from 3 years to 4 years)? The salesman advised me that, after 3 years I'll probably need a brake job that costs $1000 dollars! Is it really likely that I'll need a $1000 brake job (new rotors??) at that time? If so, the $750 investment now probably IS worth it!

    2) I'm considering getting LoJack for the car. I live in northern California and I see from LoJack's statistics that the statistics for stolen BMWs is really low when compared with Southern California. Is the $700 for LoJack the best protection against theft? (I won't buy a typical alarm because they're always going off at the wrong time and no one pays attention to them anyway!).

    I look forward to your feedback!
  • Help!! I ran across a 325xi that is configured in my price range; steptronic, leatherette, moonroof, heated seats. These are hard to come by in my area. Meanwhile, the A4 3.0 w/o any options is in the same price range, although I would have to special order it. Any thoughts??
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Please keep in mind; the following is only my opinion. That said, who ever told you that a 4-wheel brake job would cost $1,000 was blowing sunshine up your skirt, and I'm betting that the last time you wore a skirt was at a costume party, if ever. ;-)

    I just turned in my 1999 328i (which has exactly the same brakes as your 2002 325i), and yes, it did need brakes after three years. That said, I did all four wheels for less than $250, and much to my delight, BMW brakes are REAL EASY to replace. Under the assumption that you are like most folks, and have no desire to "Roll your own", my dealer presented me with a bid for about $650 for the same job, which means that any decent repair shop that specialized in BMWs should be able to do the work for somewhere in the middle, roughly $450.

    Given how reliable the E46 has turned out to be, it is unlikely that you will have another covered expense occur to justify the $750, which to me means a fair amount of money down the drain. So, obviously, if I were in your shoes, I would pass on the extended maintenance contract.

    Similarly, I would also pass on the LoJack for a couple of reasons:

    1) The standard Anti-Theft systems built into the E46 are pretty damn good, enough so that my insurance company gave me a discount on my insurance for that car. In addition, BMW has also designed an add-on alarm package that is integrated into your car and works from the standard factory key. That package can be had for $232.05 at in kit form if you want to do it yourself (between 2 to 3 hours of work). If you want it done, many folks have been able to negotiate with their selling dealership to install the alarm system prior to vehicle pick-up, or shortly thereafter for between $300 and $400.

    2) Of late, the car thieves have developed new techniques to steal LoJack equipped cars, so, the old adage still seems to be in effect, "If they want the car, they will take the car."

    Last but not least, congratulations on your new car.

    Best Regards,
  • smc2103smc2103 Posts: 3
    I got my 325Xi in Feb and it has been with the dealer for last 3 weeks. There is some sort of vibration coming from the back when you accelerate on highway. My recommendation is to stay away from 325Xi ... Go for 325i. BMW has just started making this new model and there are always problems in the begining of a new model. They don't have a clue about all wheel drive at this point.

    Furthermore, the dealer has engineers over from Germany to fix the problem but no luck so far. Thank God the car was under warranty or I was gonna be screwed. They are talking about giving me a new car. I will go with 330i for sure. No more pushing my luck. Rest is up to you.

    As far as the Xeon lights are concerned, yes they are worth the 900 bucks. You will get to love them. See my post # 16662 for this problem on edmunds forum.
  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    To everyone here: Hello! Great info on these boards. Thanks. I held out for a decent deal and last week I got the car I was looking for: 2001 325iT (lightly used) wagon, orient blue/sand sprt/prem, HK, good ole fashioned stickshift! Man am I happy! Not a squeek, rattle, or groan. Pure fun! This car is a kick in the twisty roads here in N. Calif. What a blast to drive it with nowhere to go! I can't say enough good things about this wagon, even on a sedan board. Thanks; later!
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    My salesman suggested choosing black floor mats with my sand leather interior - something I never would have thought of. It looks great with all of the other black trim pieces in the interior. I suspect it would look nice with the natural brown interior as well. If you get free mats with the car, just ask the sales person to put a black mat on one side and the matching color on the other and you will see what I mean.
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    Since no one else has stated this opinion...

    If you drive in the mountains, AWD is great. Otherwise, you will be better served (and save some cash) by getting a set of winter tires for the white stuff. See:

    Four-wheel drive helps get cars going. When it comes time to brake or change direction on low-traction surfaces, the extra mass of the driveline becomes more of a detriment. Folks who live in hilly places that get snow may need the climbing capability of four-wheel drive. If it snows a lot in those hilly places, they should probably invest in winter tires, too. Even flat-landers who happen to have steep driveways may wish to consider a four-wheel-driver.

    Almost everyone else will most likely be better served by using winter tires. Acceleration takes longer, but in an emergency, the handling behavior and improved lateral grip of two-wheel drive and winter tires -- in the slippery stuff -- are the safer bets.


  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    Visited the dealer today, and saw a white 325i w/out the front lisence plate bracket in the showroom. You can't believe how much better it looks without that stupid bracket. There was also a red coupe there w/the bracket. The sedan has a three piece front trim. The coupe has a one piece bumper, with a bracket that just hangs onto the bumper, and is not integrated like the sedan. The white sedan w/out the bracket had only a small (less than 1/16") seam where the central insert meets the side pieces of trim. There was no gap to speak of. It looked good. You guys who have a gap,...either you got a bum part, or you messed up the install because you didn't know something the dealer knows.

    I asked if the car can be ordered that way, and the salesman said no,...but he said they do it in house upon request, and would change out the bracket/trim for me for free if I bought a car there. This is good to know, because I really didn't want a front lisence plate of any kind.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    I test drove another 325 tonight. The dealer was busy, so he let me take it for a half hour by myself. It was an orient blue 325xi, and I definitely noticed the extra weight on launch from the 325i I drove last Friday. It did not seam under-powered, though, and actually felt equally fast once it got going. It seams to me that the 330i might be better suited to AWD. But, I am a fan of low-end torque.

    Had my heart set on Topaz Blue. They had a slightly dirty 330i in Topaz Blue on the lot. I tried to take the dirt into account, but then thought "hey, my car will usually be slightly dirty!" While the photos I've seen of cars this color look great, Topaz Blue did nothing for me when viewed in person.

    They had an orient blue, one black, and several silvers, plus the red coupe and white sedan in the showroom. The white was really sharp w/black leather, and a red coupe,...well that pretty much is the come all and be all of BMW's.

    Bottom line, I saved myself $475. I'm down to white or red. I plan to decide this week, and make my offers this weekend. The dealer said if I order next week, I can expect delivery in late July. He also showed me his leasing book, that indicated they are using the following residuals for 325i's:

    36 mo, 15,000: 58%
    36 mo, 12,000: 60%
    36 mo, 10,000: 61%

    Financing is running at 6.25% for a 5-year buy, and at 6.15% on a 3-year lease. I'll be required to put down first month's payment, security deposit (equal to one month's payment rounded to the next $50.00), an acquisition fee of $525, plus plate and title. That's $1,500 out of pocket, before I reduce the cost of the vehicle by a penny. I'm going to shop around for some alternative financing (maybe at my credit union or at AAA.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    If it is truly between white & red, get white and paint it. whoa, there's a way to blow a few grand. $475 is bargain in that case! ;-)

    Front license brackets/molding--I really don't know what this about, maybe I should check it out. I will have a front license for sure & was planning to just have a simple black frame.

    I kinda like the idea of black floor mats with tan interior. Dirt won't show as much, that's a plus. Nice tip, David!
  • butmywifebutmywife Posts: 81
    Soverypoornow: I didn't realize the ship was delayed. Do you think they'll gun it through the Canal to make up time?

    Shipo: So that's what the Wallenius looks like.

    Did you recently receive a packet of info. including Roadside Assistance Card/Owner's Circle card and a CD? I thought it was interesting to see (on the CD) the thought processes behind the safety technology and production techniques. The CD is another "cool" thing I've received from BMW throughout this process. To wit, here's my current order of cool things received:
    1. Glow pen
    2. Euro License Plate
    3. First Aid Kit
    4. Aforementioned CD
    5. Hazard Triangle

    p.s. I left a 1 cent Euro coin in the coin holder device to see if it makes it back. It's a test to see how thoroughly they go over my car before it gets back to me.

    Thanks, ButMyWife
  • sunnybrooksunnybrook Posts: 74
    When dropping off at Harms, was it necessary to remove the four drivers manuals?
  • derprofiderprofi Posts: 250
    p.s. I left a 1 cent Euro coin in the coin holder device to see if it makes it back. It's a test to see how thoroughly they go over my car before it gets back to me.

    Well, I left a half-eaten Ritter Sport chocolate bar in my armrest when I dropped it off at Harms. It was intact (and yummy) when I picked it up a month later at the dealer. I was actually a bit disappointed that they didn't take more care in cleaning out the car for re-delivery. Also, the crack in the driver side sport seat was still full of Butterbrezel crumbs, which was my driving food of choice :)

    sunnybrook, I removed all the manuals when I dropped the car off at Harms. Now I have 2 sets. I actually like the ED "binder" for the manual better than the one I got when I took delivery at the dealer. It's slimmer, so it fits better in the passenger door, and it has a cool little roundel on it.
  • 1Pierce - Where did you see the white 325i w/o the front license plate bracket? I want to check it out, tape measure in hand. You're sure, of course, that it was on an '02 sedan? Could I have messed up the install? That's always a possibility, but it seemed pretty simple. Wrong part? I got what I ordered (p/n 51-11-7-030--611), which I had heard was specifically for cars built post 9/1/01.

    Vkwheels - Shhhhh...don't tell 1Pierce about steel blue. We live in the same metro area and I've already seen a couple of others ;o) I've never seen or thought of a steel blue 325i with sand interior. Can't quite picture that. My second choice would have been steel gray. Hven't seen any of those locally. Another color combo I like is the oxford green with the sand, or, better yet if you're willing to spring for leather, the natural brown interior.
  • kimj1kimj1 Posts: 32
    I picked up my new 325i on Monday afternoon and the price that I was given to extend the service contract was $549. The price was listed as $599 on the price sheet, but our financial person told us that the price had been lowered. We told her that we didn't want to purchase it at this time, but may do so later. There was absolutely no pressure what so ever to purchase the contract now. She just made sure that we understood that it must be done before the orginal contract expires. We asked her if they would still honor the $549 price if we decide to this later. She said yes and even put it in writing. So, if you are interested in extending your service contract I would definately get a better price. Good luck. Kim
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Use the key remote to roll the windows down and the moonroof back before you enter the car. It gets pretty toasty here in NoCal as well, and that trick helps out a lot.
  • planomlplanoml Posts: 244
    My '95 325i is starting to show some signs of age, or so my wife would lead me to believe. We've been through a lot in the last seven years. Other than regular maintenance, my total expenses were not more than $1,000. I'm testament to the fact that you can grow emotionally attached to a car. She's like part of the family. Thanks to my waxing every other weekend, the paint still shines like new. In fact, it looks so good that the Jag sales man called his manager to show my car. I finally convinced him I wasn't trading in anything.

    No I didn't get the Jag. I'm a bimmer man for life. I'd like to keep the 325i for say another 20 years or until I die. But, at the rate the wife is going, I'll probably have to get the new body style. Question for the board-which year did the steptronic option start becoming available? She want's to understand this BMW thing, & can't drive a stick. I really don't want to share, but I'm growing old. How well does the step rate with a stick.

    Sorry for the long post, but thought you might find a bit of historical perspective entertaining.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    To add to derprofi: You can leave the manuals in the car but take the binder. I left mine and it got changed at the VPC. If you want two sets of manuals, take those too! Don't forget to take the first aid kit out of the box and take your safety triangle with you. VPC will take those too! Take the front plate off at E.H.Harms. When you return to the states, strongly suggest to your dealer that you want your rear plate. That way, he will meet the truck upon arrival. VPC does not clean your car but your dealership should. Also, if your dealer in the U.S. is going to provide you with floor mats. Take them out of your car at E.H.Harms, that way, you will have two sets. The set you receive at ED are not that great but they will do for your time in Europe.

    All you need to leave in the car is the tool set, the manuals sans binder, flashlight, first aid box sans first aid kit and rear plate.

    I hope this helps.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I driven the stick and the step. I own a step but I like the stick(in my case, mother-in-law cannot drive a stick). The stick is better. The step is smoother than most automatics. I use the manual mode or the sport mode. The regular mode is a dog, the shift points are too early. Drive both and go from there, but if your wife is willing to learn a manual,great. The manual on the BMW is not bad. I drive a truck with a manual and it is harder to use than the BMW manual.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    I found the Step 330i about as exciting as a Camry. Others found it quite thrilling. I think the best thing to do is teach your wife how to drive a stick. It isn't that hard. ;)
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    Take a drive over to P&W on Baum Boulevard in East Liberty. They had the white 325i in the showroom last night (Tuesday). The cars in the showroom didn't have window stickers (unless they were on a window that was down - I didn't check). The placard displayed beside the car said 2002 (I checked because I remember somebody saying the '01's were different). Also, this car had the new headlights, so it had to be a 2002.

    Based on your posts, you'll be shocked at how nice this installation looks. I'm definitely having mine done without the bracket - it changes the whole look of the front end. Let me know what you find out.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    My wife refuses to learn to drive a stick. She thinks its a needless inconvenience. That said, I have taught several past girlfriends to drive a stick. My experience is that if a person (any person) doesn't drive a stick everyday, or at least as their primary car, they will never learn to drive it smoothly and efficiently. They'll be hell on your clutch everytime they take the car.

    Guys, please stop trying to make everybody on this board into a Euro-racer. I learned to drive a stick in high school and actually had one in college for a while (1979 RX7). I also drove a manual pick-up on the weekends for a few years. That said, I haven't driven a stick regularly in over 10 years.

    I test drove a 323 w/manual a few years ago, and it was fairly easy to drive. That said, I know I cannot shift the 325i smoother, faster, or as efficiently as the steptronic can. I'd wager a guess that 95% of the people who buy BMW's couldn't outshift the step, either, which is why those performance 0-60 numbers showing the car w/a 1 second advantage w/manual are bogus. Maybe w/a professional race driver they're legit, but not for most of us.

    My advice is, if you're on the fence (which says something right there), and you can afford the step (which is steep at $1,275), you won't be the least bit dissappointed with the step. And, can now use your cell phone to make those long commutes semi-productive.
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