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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • hpmanhpman Posts: 33
    One of these days I might learn to spell, or use the spell check... STEER, sorry about that.

  • zer2zer2 Posts: 11
    that makes sense logically, thanks for the info. but since some cars are designed with the lower profile tires in back, do you think they are purposefully going for understeer? it just doesn't make sense. Any thoughts? or anyone out there know?
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    While I don't know the specifics of your deal, if it was on a 325, it sounds like you got ripped. I don't know if the acquisition fee changes based on the cost of the lease (or car). I would think not, within the same model line, but that is a guess. They quoted me about $550 for acquisition. Not the first, or only acqu. fee I've ever payed, but certainly the most expensive (on my 1999 Maxima it was $350).

    What else was in the $2,300 you paid up front? My dealer (actually all three I went to) assured me that the only three things I had to pay were first month, acqu. fee, and security deposit. All three dealers computed this total very consistently, too. Your monthly payment must be pretty high (thus bumping up first month and security deposit) to get to $2,300, or else they slipped something else in there. What year is your car? Regardless, $775 seems outrageous.

    That said, I'm not sure what you can do, if you've already taken delivery,...other than appeal to their good nature, and ask for a partial refund. Wanna bet how far that will get you?
  • chewie5chewie5 Posts: 61
    Being another non-expert chiming in on the subject, I think that what hpman posted is correct. That being said, to answer your question, zer2, about purposefully going for understeer, you would be sort-of correct. A lot of the car's behavior also depends on the chassis/suspension. If the car has a really loose back end (lots of oversteer), having wider tires in the back would help correct this and make the car more neutral.

    As for our BMWs, it doesn't seem that excessive oversteer is a problem, which leads me to believe that the staggered tires are really just for looks, since they would be considered "more aggressive".

    Just my very un-expert opinion. ;-)
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Jingle, Where were you during the 2 months you were referring to? Did you fall into another car for a while? :)
  • hpmanhpman Posts: 33
    The reason BMW choose to stagger the tires on the 330 and not on the 325 is mainly for cornering purposes IMHO (and possibly looks too, the wide tires in back of, say, a Viper, look incredible). If I am in a tight bend driving my 330 near the limit and I give it full throttle, the DSC is usually there to slap my hand and keep the car neutral or in understeer, preventing oversteer. If I had the narrower 225 width tires on the back instead of the stock 245's, my guess is that the car would be even more tail-happy in a similar situation and the DSC would have to limit the exit speed and wheel spin even more, simply because the power could more easily over overcome the traction of the narrower rear tires.

    To avoid this tail-happy scenario, BMW increased the rear grip of the 330 by widening the tires to 245 to compensate for the added power being applied.

    Some more rubbish for a amateur...
  • mr323mr323 Posts: 30
    Let me second ubrsf's endorsement of Cutter Motors and Franco Karzag. Questions and quotes are handled promptly by email, then a call and credit card to place the order and deposit. A good price and a warm and professional delivery. In all. a "buying experience" that suits the car. (Boy does that sound dumb! Thought I'd say it before someone else did.)

    Best wishes,

  • JingleJillJingleJill Posts: 120
    Yeah, I fell into an '03 Acura TL-Type S.

    I've dug myself out of that hole and now I am driving a little Miata until I get myself in another BMW.

    I have returned and I will never leave again. ;o)

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I am very enthusiastic about learning but by no means am I an expert on cars. Although I am learning bits and pieces as I go along, my general technical foundation and hands-on experience can't even begin to compare to Shipo's. There is really only one dean here and that's Shipo. The rest of us (me including) are hackers that have a passion for cars and want to share, learn, and have fun.

    What hpman said about staggered tires sounds right to me. I took his example to an extreme (think bicycle tires vs. very wide tires) and the oversteer/understeer impact became more apparent. I think staggered tires would make a lot of sense in a car with a very short wheelbase that has initial oversteer like the 911. The much wider rear tires help overcome the initial oversteer and convert the oversteer to understeer when you get on the gas. I am not that certain about the advantages of staggered tires in a car with a much longer wheelbase and perfect weight distribution, though. From the boards that I've been reading, it seems that 330 owners have been having a lot more oversteer issues with their staggered tires and it is common for them to bump up the fronts' tire pressure 3-4 psi above the rears' for track events to achieve a more neutral feel...
  • I have the Nav system in my 330i. I've only had it for a couple glorious weeks (94 miles til break-in period over, but who's counting), but it seems mostly fine. It is CD based and not DVD based so you only get a few states included with each map CD. It's also slower, I think, than a DVD based system. I think of it as almost as much an aesthetic addition as much as a useful tool because, if nothing else, it sure looks cool.

    I found a used 3-series with Nav to test drive before I bought just to try it out. I think it is mostly acknowledged that the German car makers (BMW and Audi anyway) lag significantly behind their Lexus and Acura rivals in the Nav system business.

    To make a way long post short(er), you dial in the information and it gets you where you want to go. Guess that's the whole purpose.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152

    Hmmm, $25 per thousand? Maybe I am missing something, however, the houses we have looked at have been more in the $12 per thousand category, which to be quite honest, I found a little funny in light of the fact that the agents were apologizing for how high the taxes were. Do you know of the $25 rate is for all of NH, or just specific areas? The good news is that we came to an agreement with the builder of the house we wanted in Windham today, and we are set for a 31-July closing. ;-) That said, as this is a new house, the specific tax bill has not yet been calculated.


    While I am not saying it is impossible, I have NEVER heard of what amounts to “Self Bleeding Brakes”. I think somebody was feeding you a line of HoooHaaa. ;-)


    Wow, I think I am blushing. ;-)


    Hmmm, Michelin Pilots. Ok, next question. Which of the following version of the truth are they?

    Michelin Pilot Sport
    Michelin Pilot SX MXX3
    Michelin Pilot Sport A/S
    Michelin Pilot HX MXM
    Michelin Pilot Primacy (which came on my 530i SP)
    Michelin Pilot Sport Cup


    Hmmm, a $775 acquisition fee? I think you got ripped, I only paid $500, which as I understand it, is the basic BMWFS fee. So, unless you financed via an alternative source, somebody (you dealer?) put some padding in there.


    Yup, now I really am blushing. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    Perhaps BMW put wider tires on the 330 so they would wear at the same rate as the fronts.

  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I've had my car (with 225/50's on all four corners) on a wet skidpad several times. It's a perfect way to know how to get your car to understeer and oversteer. With my 323 sport, it was difficult to get the car's rear end to come around by just using the throttle in second gear (not enough ponies, I'm afraid). The front just kept sliding. Had to use the steering and get a little aggressive with the throttle. They definately build these cars to UNDERsteer, which is by far the safest, since the natural tendency to brake will help you get back in control during understeer situations.

    On a non-M 3-series, I think the larger rear tires are mostly for looks (and to assure understeer). With more HP, fatter rear tires will keep you hooked up in the hard corners (Viper, Vette, Porsche). I'm not an expert either, but it's fun to try to become one.
  • In 2003, BMW will introduce the X3, but I have not heard about updates to the 3-series cars.
  • orkwisorkwis Posts: 82
    Okay, so I didn't think the waiting would get to me...but, I dropped my ride off on June 7th, understood from Willenius that it got on the boat June 10th and made port on the 21st. I'm now starting to get real anxious about delivery. From the ED-ofiles out there, how long from port to driveway? Was the Owners Circle information timely? If so, it must be sitting on a dock somewhere instead of in the parking lot of the prep center. Waiting, waiting...
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    correct on why you stagger (i.e. to modulate over/under steer)...

    now, why does it work?

    2 hints..

    1) think circumference, not width...

    2) what do you do to your front tires when you autocross?

  • 530bmw530bmw Posts: 130
    Can you tell me where you bought your car from? If they really waived the fee, lucky you. It is possible, they have already included MACO in the negotiated price, instead of charging you $1700 over invoice they will tag on additional $200 MACO and say that it is $1900 over invoice. This is a true cost to the dealer that they can pass it on to buyers or to absorb it themself. It boils down to how they want to manipulate it. When I bought my car from Passport I asked them up front what the MACO fee was before I negotiated the price of the car. I did that so I knew how much the mark up was. I even asked them to show me the invoice for the car that they recieved from BMW which showed MACO.

    I am not suggesting anything here so please do take it the wrong way. If they really waived the fee, I will check them out when I am ready to buy the next BMW.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    My hard driving experience is more limited than some of you guys, but I find this whole discussion of tire stagger and over/understeer interesting.

    Question: Is understeer the same as having a "tight" racing condition - i.e. the front tires want to push up the race track on turns? And conversely, is oversteer the classic "loose" condition, where the rear wheels want to swing around? I understand "tight" and "loose" from watching alot of Winston Cup racing. If this is the case, then my Maxima definitely suffers from an understeer condition in hard driving, where my old Grand Prix GTP w/Goodyear Eagle GT's was always loose at the limit, or oversteering.

    My understanding is that the fastest handling race car is one that is slightly (controllable) loose. I guess a "neutral" car would be next fastest, and a tight car is the slowest through turns.

    Do I have a handle on this, or can someone set me straight?
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    bingo. you hit it on the head... (you might have been experiencing some snap oversteer in the gtp, you'd know better than i, but from reading a lot of posts in edmunds, people complained of understeer in the gtp)...

    stagger is really important in nascar (as with all racing, it's just more easily "noticeable" with oval track racing)... why? because you turn left all the time... it's more important on short tracks than superspeedways... they will stagger the tires so that the inside tire is smaller in cirumference than the outside tire... this means that the car when pointed "straight", wants to turn to the inside (think about why a bowling ball curves)... this allows them to get through the corners better... the reason you don't want too much stagger on a superspeedway is that you have to "turn" the car to get it to go straight and you would cook the tires if you had to "turn" it constantly down the straights... somewhere like martinsville (for instance) you'd run a considerable amount of stagger... somewhere like michigan, you'd run a lot less... you can then fine-tune by adjusting air pressures (i.e. up a pound, down a pound) to reach a neutral condition...

  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    On the plastic trim, I use a Mother's product called Back to Black. It works well to hide wax that gets on the black trim molding, but I have to re-apply it every few months like wax. So, I don't think it removes wax, just covers it up.
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    I purchased from BMW of Arlington and did not pay a MACO fee. I really did my homework so I know that I paid over dealer invoice and not over some manipulated number. The only unexpected charge was a local dealer license fee (a tiny % of selling price) that was already a line item on the dealer Bill of Sale and was something like $95. I can look it up if you are interested.

    I was unimpressed by Passport because their service wasn't quite as good and they were proced higher.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    “Was the Owners Circle information timely?” Ummmmmmm, NO! I took delivery of my car on 23-May-2002, however, Owners’ Circle STILL to this day shows my car at the VPC!

    In my case, my car hit the port on 15-May-2002, made it to my dealership on 22-May-2002 and I took delivery a day later. In my book, that means that your delivery is imminent. Keep us posted. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Well, young padawan, you've been to the "dark side" but the power of the BMW Jedi overcame. :)

    Yes, I saw Star Wars. :) hehehe

  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Are you awaiting Germany to order a car ?or conceed to a TX dealer ? Sorry the S didnt work out.

    Dale: i dont buy it either, and due to said "coverups" i would not recommend Moritz in Arlington.The customer service is good , but not sure where the mechanics come from.

  • JingleJillJingleJill Posts: 120
    Yeah, we are still awaiting word on a possible transfer to Germany. If I am patient, I can get a GREAT deal once in Germany.

    Thus, there is my problem. I'm not patient. "I want it now!!!" (Remember the famous line from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory?)

    I called Garyln Shelton in Bryan (I originally bought there when it was Fred Brown) and they offered me $400 off MSRP. I laughed. Then he said to call him back with an offer. I haven't done that yet.

    I then contacted Park Avenue in NJ (all via e-mail) and their prices are very fair.

    I then sent a "match-it or beat-it" to one of the dealerships in Houston. The "internet sales manager" wished he could match it, but the car I want doesn't exist. Yada yada yada...I replied that of course it does, you ORDER it. (It really shouldn't surprise me...I haven't heard good things about the Houston dealerships.

    I haven't even tried the BMW Center in SA. (I still cringe just thinking about them.) I had a nice test drive experience at JR in Austin. No pressure what so ever.

    I just wish some of the dealerships had what I want to drive.

    So, there I am...will my lack of patience get the better of me? Hmmm, time will tell...

    (Here I am typing this and thinking what can I do this weekend? Maybe go drive some BMWs...sheesh, I'm addicted. SAVE ME!!!)

    You're in Austin, right? Refresh my memory.

  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    I purchased from Dave Fristch at Shelly BMW in Buena Park and recommend him highly. But I compiled this list from recommendations on this board:
    Cutter - Santa Barb
    Riverside - Chris Johnson
    Alhambra - Eddie Yeh
    Sterling - Newport Beach, Tina
    Pacific - Glendale
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    To shed some additional darkness on the subject . . .

    In understeer condition, you go wide of intended line due to fronts losing traction; in oversteer, your line tightens due to rears losing traction. Factors affecting include weight distribution, chassis/suspension tuning, and amount of rubber on the road. Rubber on road = contact patch, determined by tire circumference and tread width (also tire construction). For platforms employing both equal and staggered configurations (like 3 and 5 series), manufacturing economies dictate equal circumference at all four corners. Therefore, circumference is eliminated as a variable, leaving tread width. So, naturally oversteering cars might run wider rears to neutralize the oversteer to some desired degree.

    The first production car with wider rear tires tires I ever saw was the original Porsche 930 Turbo of the mid-70s. Made sense -- big rear weight bias + big torque = big tendency to swap ends for drivers with more bucks than brains.

    So why are front-engined cars like 330i SPs, 540i6s, and M cars staggered? Even front-engined cars can be made to oversteer, and maybe BMW figures that buyers of these variants would be the most likely to get into such situations.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Im in Dallas, i wish i could recommend a dealer here but i cant right now.Classic has one of the largest inventories in the USA , but only had a couple of manuals sheesh...

    Anyways i just had a thought , how long is your assigment in Germany ? The 2006 World cup is there. im thinking a great time for a ED ;) we might have to rent a room from yall.

  • John Roberts in Austin is not high pressure but they won't deal. They took $500 off MSRP on my 325i and that was it. I probably could have done better by going to Temple, but I didn't want the hassle of driving 50 miles out of my way to save 500 bucks on a 30+k car. I've had my car a month now and I would happily have paid over MSRP for it. I love my baby!
  • JingleJillJingleJill Posts: 120

    What did you end up with, options, etc...?

    Assignment in Germany is anywhere from 3 to 5 years. If we go, we sign on for 3 with a possible extension for an additional 2 years. (This is all speculative...I'm still waiting word.)

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