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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • That is very good advice. I can't get my wife to use it, she always adjusts them way too far in. The way I adjust them is to do it at a stop light. I adjust the mirrors so that the car behind the car next to me is square in the mirror. It works for me. It takes A LOT of getting used to; but, the first time you think there is no car off your rear quarter panel and then you glance your mirror and see that there is, you know it's the only way to go.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Most people (including me) love the sports seats but some owners have complained about them. I think the bolsters are spaced a tad too far and ideally, they should have been closer at the rear for a more snug fit. A lot of it depends on how your body is shaped. The longest I've driven my 325i SP without getting out of the seat is about 4 hours. I felt no fatigue whatsoever and I felt that I could go on for at least another 3-4 hours. If you like to slouch in the seat, though, they would not be very comfortable. The seats are firm and contoured in a way that forces you to sit straight. The bolsters could have had a bit more padding but they do get the job done fine under aggressive driving. At cruising speed, there is a slight wind noise which I don't typically notice. Overall, the car is very comfortable for long trips - designed to cover a lot of ground fast without tiring the driver.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    Brave:Don't you still think that sport seats and sports cars in general are created for a certain size and height. I used to subscribe to Automobile Magazine, Motor Trend and Autoweek, and seem as though when Italian and British cars are tested by people over 6 ft, there tends to be complaints of room. Now given the Sport seats don't fit you like a Sparco seat, but I have developed a middle age spread at 33 years old. At 27 years old, I might have said I need more padding but I think body shape dictates the comfort of the seats. The sports seats in the 3er are quite good and if I were the only driver that would be fine.

    I have had dreams of owning a Lotus Elise Exige (177 BHP, 124 lb-ft, 0-60 in 4.7 mph and more than 30 mpg). I would not buy a U.S. specs if it ever happened and I know that most of the people that I know would not fit well in it. So, who are these European sports cars made for anyway? I'm 5'8", 190 lbs to 200 ibs and can fit in just about anything as long as my soccer leg does not give (Corvettes are out because I have a problem crawling out.) But really who are these cars for. I could never make sense of the 6'8" basketball player that is forced to buy a targa top Ferrari that he cannot drive on a rainy day.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Brave, you don't believe everything you read on roadfly do you? The site below (I hope I copied the link right, if not it's shows the the 7 series sold 8,888 vehicles thru May of 2002 versus 5,801 for the prior year - a 53% increase! In fact, I thought you were the person that originally turned me on to the autosite web site.

  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Just wondered if they matched or beat the Temple dealer ?

    Sportseats: i agree with brave on this, i just had 2 different 2001 325i Non sport loaners and i tell you my bum was killing me , i was so thankful to get my Sport back!!! The only negative i mentioned before is a little wear on side bolster entering and exiting..

  • I love my sport seats. They are very comfortable, and one of my favorite features on the car. Agree w/brave1heart, slight wind noise is audible if you turn the radio down but who drives with the radio off?
    it should be noted that i have the smaller 2.5L engine.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    You are right that YTD sales would be a better indicator than monthly sales. Based on YTD sales, the 7-series is selling vey well. I'd have to wonder if the June sales slump was a fluke or the beginning of a trend, though. And to be fair, the economic slowdown should somehow be factored into this too...

    Autosite's numbers seem to be behind by a month or so. They just published the May numbers at the end of June. As far as the other board, there is a lot of junk there but there are a few posters that are very knowledgeable and the poster from the link is one of them.
  • kyyuankyyuan Posts: 12

    I never did initiate contact with the dealer in Temple; however, I did talk to Dave at Mike Pile's BMW in Tyler. (I may have mis-typed in my earlier posting) Are you ready? The deal I got was ED invoice plus $1,250. For my specs, a loaded 330i, the price comes out to about $36,000. I think I got a little bit of a special treatment from the salesperson in that he forgot to return my drivers license and insurance card after my test drive; I was already half way back to Dallas.

    Well, as soon as my career situation settles down a bit, I'll pull the trigger on that 330i, with orient blue and natural brown interior.

  • kyyuankyyuan Posts: 12
    Thanks for your inputs. I think all of you are right in that if there were any rigidity difference, I probably won't appreciably notice it. As idletask mentioned, it has to be the chasis.

    I thought about not ordering fold-down rears; however, as a single guy with one car, the additional cargo room from the fold-downs might come handy.

  • rjg96rjg96 Posts: 58
    on the 3 vs 5 issue. I'm still undecided as to whether I want to spend atleast $6k to upgrade to a slower car. I'm not looking for Lexus levels of noiselessness- I like engine noise, road noise, and don't mind tire noise and wind noise too much. In fact, the reason I notice all of these sounds is that I like to drive w/ the radio off just to listen to engine. Its just clicks, rattles and squeaks that I have a problem with. Although, if Lexus cold get their act together and produce a less cheesy version of the IS, I'd strongly consider it.

    I also don't think you need to buy a Lexus or even a luxury car to achieve these things. A friend of mine has a diesel VW beetle-- and i was riding w/ him the other night over rough roads (the kind that turn my car into a rattle symphony). The only noise I heard in his car was a solid "thump" as we went over bumps. I noticed that I couldn't actually make any of the interior trim squeak by pressing on it and everything actually seemed more tightly constructed than on my car. His car had 60k miles on it btw.

    Unfortunately, I hate nearly everthing else about the car, so I guess its not a real option. But if VW can mass-produce a 17k diesel car that feels solid-- I don't know why BMW can't do this for 30k+. I guess this also confirmed to me that my standards aren't unrealistic in the automotive world. I think if I decide to replace my car, I'm going to get a car with cloth (not leather or vinyl). I think this goes go a long way to quieting down any interior.

    Shipo-- thanks for the offer to let me drive your 530-- that's very generous of you. I'll think about it. If I do decide to move forward w/ a 5- i'll probably just ask my dealer to loan me one over a weekend to see if it is as rattle-free as I hope.


    I think there really might be something to your comment that the 99 and 00 3 series were better constructed. I had a 99 323 loaner a while ago and it made less noises than my 01. This could've also been due to lack of the tighter sp suspension though.

    I had another "pleasant" experience w/ my friendly neighborhood BMW dealer on Friday. I took it in to have a the shop foreman try and diagnose the loose on-center feel (its been like this since they did the retrofit a few months ago). He couldn't feel anything (of course) , but said that he'd take a look to see if "everything was tight". Then, the service write told me that she'd have to charge me $88 for the tech's time to look at it! Needless to say I walked out. This reminded me of how much I hate all of the BMW dealers I've been to, and why I should really try and like another brand/model. Unfortunately, I can't really warm up to anything else-- except maybe a Passat or an A4. But, I really don't like the driving experience too much in Audi/VW products. Oh well. Alhough, the hopeless, angry and frustrated feeling I get when I drive my car doesn't do much for the driving experience either.
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    But if VW can mass-produce a 17k diesel car that feels solid-- I don't know why BMW can't do this for 30k+

    My '02 325i from South Africa feels very solid, more so than our 5 year old Volvo. Granted, it only has 4k miles on it, but I can't seem to find any of your concerns on my car. Perhaps I just have lower standards :-)

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    The latest Roundel published data from JD Power & Associates' Initial Quality Survey, which measures problems reported per 100 units sold in the first 90 days of ownership. Key points:
    - BMW is ranked third overall manufacturing conglomerate behind Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura. Volvo (part of GM) is also ahead of it, which puts BMW in 5-th spot in the ranking for best brand in terms of initial quality.
    - The 3-series is ahead of the 5-series
    - the Rosslyn factory in South Africa and the Munich plant are the second and third best IN THE WORLD behind only a Toyota plant in Japan. So if your 3-series was made in one of these two factories, it's likely to have some of the best qualilty.
    - The Rosslyn factory in South Africa is slightly ahead of the factory in Munich with 85 problems reported vs. 87 for the Munich plant. Anyone concerned about S.A. build quality, take note.
    - BMW ranked highest of any European brand. It was ahead of Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, and Jaguar (in the same order). Interestingly enough, Jaguar fell from 2-nd spot to 19-th with a little help from Ford.
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    Here is a link to some of the data Brave mentioned:

    As I've said before, I'm not as concerned about initial quality as long term reliablility. To that note, how many 30 year old Japanese (vs. European & American) sedans do you see on the road?

    Thanks for the news Brave. Makes me feel better about my SA 325


  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mschukar... AS regards 30 years ago, keep in mind how few Japanese-marque dealers there were ack then and how few Japanese-built cars were sold in USA, esp. outside West and East coasts, back then.

    The European marques were seemingly firmly entrenched back then. Is amazing how many VWs were sold annually in USA pre-1975. Not to mention fact there were tons of established European marques now long gone from our shores: Fiat, Peugoet (can't remember how to spell this marque), Triumph, MG, British Leyland, Rover, Lancia, Alfa, Austin, Jensen, Healey, and more.

    But notice that all the then bigger Japanese marques--Toyota, Datsun, and Honda--survived and pretty much prospered. And we added new ones like Suzuki and Mitsubishi. Thinking Daihatsu is the only marque that ended up failing in USA.

    And keep in mind that a ton of American cars were sold back then but most weren't worth putting on the road when they came new from factory. Very few 30-yr-old American cars still on road really worth keeping on road. I see beaten up Novas spewing clouds of smoke. Old Mavericks and Pintos rusted badly and losing parts. Lowly Valiants, Gremlins, and Hornets in poor shape. The odd LTD, Impala, or Monaco. Some Monte Carlos, Grand Prixs, Cutlasses, and Cordobas. Few worth a darn then and not many worth anything today. The only American cars back then worth keeping on road today are a few muscle cars and convertibles.
  • I don't think you can fault all of the American Cars. The early Japanese models in the 60's and 70's were Very prone to rust.

    I still have the plymouth valiant I bought used 25 years ago for $800. All I do is change the oil every 2500 miles and I replaced a $40 timing chain and $45 water pump once. It has room for 6 and can tow my trailer without any trouble. The only thing I can fault it for is the amount of gas it uses. For that matter I still have my 1931 Ford Pick up for the last 30 years. I guess it is all how you look at things and what your expectations are.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Thats awsome you got a great deal. I was about to give up hope on our local dealers opps BMW Centers. If theres someone your working with that ud like to refer maybe you can get a finders fee lol, you can Email me direct if you prefer at

    take care,
  • butmywifebutmywife Posts: 81
    Had a Pioneer 12 cd changer installed yesterday. I have no idea how to get to cds 7-12 as the display buttons stop at number six! The audio manual has no information on this problem so I was wondering if anyone has a suggestion?

    Thanks, ButMyWife
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I don't believe the BMW head unit is set up for a six disc changer. You will probably have to buy a remote. You might want to pose this question on or
  • kbhockeykbhockey Posts: 29
    I stopped by 3 rivers BMV today to peruse their inventory of 3s-not much, but they do have a preponderance of xi's-mostly 330s. Question is do you think they will deal since it is mid/late 02 and these look to be ordered in winter-or for a forecast of a bad winter, one that never happened, BTW.

  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    I had this come up with my car regarding a B-pillar rattle that they were having trouble hearing.

    I agreed to the examination charge; they found a piece that was broken and I was not charged anything at all -everything was then covered under warranty.

    I think that you would have gotten the same deal.. If they'd found any problem that was covered under warranty, you would not have been charged. You might want to ask your service rep if that's the situation with your car . I have to say that I've been pretty pleased with my BMWs - there have been a few small things that I've had done under warranty, but there's also been a determination (for lack of a better word) from BMW to make me a happy customer.

    At this point, however, I don't think that you'd be happy with another BMW - you'd always have some hard feelings or suspicions in the back of your mind. The point of driving a BMW is the pleasure it gives you to drive one. You don't have that anymore, for whatever reason. I suggest that you consider another make.
  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    (mind you, I'm only talking about EU cars sold in the US. I've no idea, except for Chrysler EU-made, about US cars build quality)

    From what I see, many of you have problems wrt building quality of cars. For some reason, we on the Old Continent have no such problems. Never will you see here a BMW with a deficient build quality. They are probably all built in the Munich factory which rjg96 mentioned though...

    Also, VW is renowned here for its very good build quality. Never would you see here a VW that doesn't feel solid! In fact, the only manufacturer which has to face a decreasing build quality here nowadays is... Mercedes. How strange, problems have started to appear from the day (well, not exactly, but you get the picture) where Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler!

    Lastly, and strangely enough, the defects in build quality, which I see Edmunds reporting about, regarding the Ford Focus are not to be seen hereabouts! Strange, isn't it?

    rjg96, BMW *does* make Diesel powered cars above $30k, but AFAICS they're not on sale in the US. I personally own a 330d, but there is also 318d, 320d, 520d, 525d, 530d, 730d, 740d. Maybe you can ask your dealer about them... 330d is the best IMHO, but if you seek comfort above all then I'd recommend 530d.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    >I suggest that you consider another make<
    Maybe a KIA? They have a TEN year warranty...:)
  • Soverypoor wife has a '99 318ti. She's now decided to forego the MINI for awhile and keep her ti. Something about practicality, logic and many other things I don't understand. Anyway, she at least wants to add some accessories to the ti and we've found while shopping for add-ons it sure does help to know if she has an E36 or E46. How can I tell? Thanks.
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    My understanding is that the 318ti was only available in the prior generation of 3s, making it an E36.
  • rjg96rjg96 Posts: 58
    I'm very aware of BMW's diesel offereings-- unfortunately, we don't get those in the states. I'm curious though--what did I say in my post to make you think I was interested in a diesel BMW?

    Its funny that you mention that in the EU it seems like all VWs and BMWs are solidly built. I lived in Germany for a year, and often rented cars on the weekend. I never heard a squeak or rattle in any of the cars-- including several BMW 3s and 5s, VWs, Ford Focuses, Opels, etc. My 325 was built in the same Munich factory as several of the 318s I used to rent. What could it be? I think that it has a lot to do w/ 2 things: road quality and cloth seats. The roads are much, much better in europe which means that cars never have a chance to exhibit the rattles and squeaks that they can on terrible US roads. And, the cloth seats that are found in almost every european car, do a much better job of deadening any other noises than the vinyl and leather choices we get in the US. I know that VWs are held in high esteem throughout much of europe-- they're always praised by the press there as being reliable and solidly built. In US reliability studies like the JD Power survey and Consumer Reports they rank about mid pack in terms of quality-- well below all Japanese makes, some American and most European makes. Regardless, i do think that VW/Audi does the best job of selecting materials and putting a car together of any maker.

    I think the quality perception of Mercedes is decreasing in both the US and europe. The interiors on most modern Mercedes are pretty poorly built with surprisingly bad plastics.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    Happy 4th to everybody. I haven't turned on a computer since Wed afternoon, so I had a great outdoor weekend.

    P6 vs Contis: schumaker: I test drove two 3-series, one with the Continentals and one with the P6's. Initially, I wanted the contis, because they look a little better and are what most BMWs come with. However, I think the P6's had a slightly sportier feel to them, so I'm kind of hoping mine comes with the P6's. Incidentally, all of the A4's and A6's (except the SP A4) that I drove had P6's on them.

    Brave: Thanks for the stat on SA built 325's. Nice to know, but I'm totally NOT sweating the SA thing. I just wish they would get off their butts down there in SA and load my car on a boat already!!! Still "awaiting transport".

    Sport Seats: My brother's 323 SP has them. I agree w/Brave, they are really comfortable is you sit up straight. They are less comfy if you slouch, which I do, especially after a hard day at work. I also had a bolster wear issue on my Grand Prix (excellent seats, shaped like the SP seats) getting in and out. I didn't get SP on my BMW (for a variety of reasons that don't need to ignite a flame war). I was satisfied with the base seats for everyday driving.

    rjg96: While the BMW's I've driven, including my brother's w/25,000 miles on it, have had no unusual rattles or squeaks, it sounds like you are VERY discriminating (and somewhat unrealistic). All cars develop some noises as they age, but I'd recommend a used MB E-Class. Talk about built-like-a-tank. To me, that car feels much more "solid" and carved from granite than a 3 or 5. And, it ain't no Lexus.

    Question: Its been 5 weeks since I ordered my car. Owner's Circle is still saying "Awaiting Transport". Can I get more up-to-date info from the dealer, or will they just tell me not to be a pest?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    All US Compacts are E36 cars. There is an E46 Compact available in Eyrope and elsewhere, but there are currently no plans to market it in the US. In any event, the E36 Compact is MUCH better looking- the E46 looks like it was customized by "Long Grain Rydes Boyzs", if you get my drift...
  • john01john01 Posts: 246
    My sister had a New Beetle and a friend of mine had a Jetta (not the current model), both of which are built in Mexico. Both of them had so many little problems with the car, they will never buy VW again. Worse still, the dealers could not fix them, or they would and the things will keep on breaking. German built VWs like Golf, Passat seem to hold up better.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    Do not rely on Owners Circle. It is notoriously unreliable as far as tracking your car. The only way you can track your car that I know of is by contacting your sales agent. I don't know if BMW customer service can even give you that information. I wish they would fix the Owners Circle tracking process :(
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