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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I think that the storage argument is a valid one. Look at it this way, though. Going from a Honda Accord (or any other car with more storage room)to the 3 makes you realize how much superflous crap you actually had in your car. Radio issues are not really valid, I think. Heck, I didn't even turn on the radio for the first two months b/c I wanted to hear the engine. It's been a year, and I still shut off the radio just to hear the sweet sound of BMW.

    All in all, how many of us die-hard, driving nuts really care all that much about sacrificing a few creature comforts so that we can have driving nirvana? Not I, say me...even if I can't get my CD track repeat function.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Per leenelsonmd's post above, is it really safe to assume the 2003 3-series will have a 6-speed manual gearbox just because it will be provided in the Z4? Has anybody read or heard anything specifically regarding an introduction of a 6spd in next year's 330i?
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    I am happy with the Dunlops that came on my 330ci

    Although cannot compare to the Contis, based on prior experience, they are at least better than Dunlops 8000 (also summer tire) and Yokohoma Avid V4 (no contest since this are all seasons).

    Enjoy them!
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    <<The engines that a six speed helps the least are those that make a ton of torque. Funny that, given that the Corvette and Viper have had them about the longest and need them the least, offering massive overdrive ratios and wide spacing.>>

    I disagree. The reason why it is a benefit on big torquey engines is so that the vehicle can get 30mpg on the highway turning 1200-1500rpm. If a Corvette were spinning at 3500rpm like some cars do at 80mph, it would use a lot more gas, maybe 18-20mpg. Yet the engine has enough torque to accelerate at that engine speed on the highway.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    where you been???

    true, aaron, but that would be just as easily accomplished with a 5 speed gearbox... plus be cheaper and have *some* weight savings...

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,322
    I agree with Brave1heart that a 6th gear is made pretty much by most manufacturers as an overdrive for fuel economy & noise reduction purposes. On paper I would say that a car with a smaller displacement engine would benefit more from an extra gear (325 vs. 330). My Prelude's 2.2L I-4 spins at 4000 RPM @ 80mph in 5th gear. it could definitely benefit from a 6th gear.

    Aaron, I will agree with you that mega hp cars don't even need the 6th or even 5th gears. I remember test driving a 1994 Z28 Camaro with a 6 speed and 100mph in 4th gear and the engine was spinning at a relatively low 2000 (or maybe less) RPM. Editors of one magazine stated that you could drive a 911 Turbo around all day and not even need the 5th or 6th gear.

    Many manufacturers offer 6 speed transmissions almost as a marketing gimmick more than anything else. I was almost shocked to see that lexus put a 5 speed manual into the IS300 instead of a 6 speed.

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

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    haha Chris, I've been here at Edmunds the whole time, I just don't read many Sportscars or News & Views topics any more.

    I've followed this discussion for a while and just felt like that was a good time to chime in. Good to "see" you after a few years!

  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    Anyone know how to do this on an E46?
  • I guess the benefit of the 6th gear depends on the reason for it. In some cases, it seems the first five gear ratios are adjusted down into tighter bands and the 6th ratio is actually the same as the old fifth ratio, so no change on highway cruising RPMs. In others, the 6th gear becomes a true over drive gear, for low RPM cruising, with limited ability to acelerate and pass.

    My 2 cents, unless you are tracking your car (racing), the overdrive 6th is the one to want. Anyone else with more info, or just better info have any insight on this?
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    ah, been travelling incognito, i see! yes, good to have a "voice of reason" back over in the land of "interesting" claims... :)

    HEY!!! when'd you trade the impreza on a m3? good deal!! i'm assuming you are still autocrossing every spare minute of the day?

  • ok, this is a slowly building concern of mine. My 318ti has been losing power. It needs to have it's 70k service done (plugs, oil, tranny fluid exchange, etc.) and I am hoping this will help some but...

    Over the last 9 months, since moving to AZ from MN, the RPM band has been falling during normal driving. This time last year, 40 mph in 4th gear would pull around 3800 rpm, now I pull around 3200 (just approximations - I don't document these numbers or anything). Last year, 75mph in 5th would pull almost 4000, this year, closer to 3400. Is my tranny going south?

    Last input: I recently replaced the clutch. They said the dual-mass pressure plate didn't need to be replaced, so I didn't do it ($650 part I really couldn't afford on top of the clutch), and the first few days after the repair, the car felt a bit tighter and more like its old self. Now however, it seems like the same lack of grunt is there and the same loss of power. Anyone have any insights? Will a tune-up have a profound impact? It has needed one for a while, but only recently eclipsed 70k (not past 71k yet) so I was saving for the scheduled service.

    I don't abuse the car, use 89 octane and once in a while splurge for the 91. I do tend to short shift, staying under 4000 rpm, and other then the loss of power - which sucks! - the lower engine noise is welcome on the highway.

    My last thought is that it could be muffler related. The muffler tends to "buzz" under heavy accelleration, creating a high pitched harmonic that while not extremely loud, is louder than the engine itself.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  • allanoallano Posts: 175
    If I understand you correctly, you can go either 40 or 75 mph at slower engine speeds now than when you previously noted engine speeds?
    I think you have installed new tires which are larger in diameter than your previous tires (or BMW-recommended tire size for your car). (Significantly) Larger-diameter tires would lower engine speed for a given car speed and also give you less acceleration -- the another symptom you mentioned. A slipping clutch would raise engine speed for any car speed and probably cause an engine speed surge in higher gears when accelerating, like an automatic transmission.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    the only way a manual transmission can ever offer differing RPMs in a given gear, at a given speed, is for the drive wheels or clutch to be slipping. since it is obvious that your 318 would not be spinning the rear tires on dry ground at 40mph and you've just replaced the clutch, what seems most likely is that your clutch was slipping last year... thus you saw higher rpm. there is also the possibility you've changed tire diameter.

    there is nothing wrong with your transmission itself judging by these symptoms. gears do not slip, when they chip or otherwise mis-match they tend to seize in short order.

    funny you should mention a luck of grunt though, when the clutch slips you are significantly reducing power to the wheels, so it should have more grunt now assuming nothing else changed.

    a tune-up can often do wonders, yes. when you have the exhaust noise investigated, check the catalysts as well especially if you've ever smelled sulfur. they could be clogged which would certainly impact performance and economy.

  • dan__2dan__2 Posts: 13
    I disagree. To say the quality of the stereo/radio is not valid is a little misguided, particularly at this price point. If you step down to <$20k range, you get what you pay for. In this price range, the stereo system should at least compete with audi, lexus, etc. That's not too much to ask for. As far as the noise of the engine, i love it. But my 40 minute highway commute is boring and the stereo quality becomes important.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    actually no I don't autocross much any more. I've done a few track days and between that and riding motorcycles, I can't often find the value in $20 for <5 min seat time plus spending nearly the whole day Sunday in autocross.

    I've had the M3 since 5/1. I like it quite a lot, but haven't had a chance to autocross it yet-- I'd like to just to know what it will do.

    how 'bout you? last I knew, you had a ... 328?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,322
    After reading edmunds' history on the 3 series, I guess I had BMWs on the brain (for a change) last night when I went to sleep. I had a strange dream that I was driving around in a 1997 E36 318ti that had the 16" SP wheels & suspension from the E36 328i and the motor from an E30 M3. I need to seek help!

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

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    It's easy to have a dream tooling down the highway in your '02 M5
  • it isn't tires, the car is riding on the same pirellis as when I bought it. It does have a habit of kinda "chunking" into gear, but no unusual noises after, it just doesn't click-click into gear like a new car does. I have owned the car for almost 2 years and about 21k miles. I am not a great manual shifter, but I am no slouch either, most of my cars over the last 14 years have been manuals. I could be hallucinating about the RPMs, but I swear the numbers are lower, and that the decrease has been gradual over time. I hoped that the clutch replacement would fix it, but it didn't. I now wonder if the dual-mass pressure plate might be a culprit, or if the tranny itself may not be operating correctly. In non-specific terms (all I am capable of, sorry) I would describe the problem akin to stretching the gearing out a bit. It just seems that the car doesn't pull like it should, and that the car is running in lower RPMs at the same speeds. I never used to be able to cruise a city street in 4th at would just be too much, now I cruise at 50 in 4th and forget to upshift because I am only turning 35-3600 RPM. It has me baffled.

    I have said elsewhere that I am not very handy under a hood. So the whole affair has me a bit baffled as well.

    My clutch went out because I was out of practice when I got the car. Not shifting, but just the simple things you need to know about manuals. Specifically, I was going to a game downtown. I was stuck at a garage parking entrance, the ramp was on a steep incline, and the jack off behind me decided he needed to ride my bumper the whole time, giving me just a few inches of he knew I was clutching and hoping I would hit him. Well, my solution (adle-brained and short-sighted) was to basically ride the clutch in first gear for about 8 minutes while we climbed the hill to the ticket booth. That was an aggrevating moment of complete embarassment in my life! (Laughs at himself now, $800 later) When I got on level ground, a nice strong odor was coming from the car, and the clutch was almost to the floor. It did return to service over the next few days, never failing to shift, just feeling weak and soft. The damage had been done though, and now, 15k miles later, the clutch finally started to give.

    This, as well as some physical restrictions that makes a 5spd in commuting traffic a no-go is why my next car will be an auto. I like sticks but I just don't need the hassles in the everyday driving situations. I swear the guy behind me was laughing, sitting just a few inches off my bumper and hoping I would hit him. And me? Well, my lack of familiarity with my own car made the situation worse. Should have just gave him a love tag.

    Sorry for the long post.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    yea, i hear you there.

    nope, still got the 325 convertible... 110k, and still going strong... hoping one of these days to talk the missus into a 5er, but she still likes her pick'emup truck... :)

    you still in kansas? gotta be some driving school around there, no?

    harlequin - this is quite odd... it doesn't make sense that you would be going faster at lower rpms... it sounds like to me that you might have a bad tach cable, and that you only are "visually" seeing a lower rpms, but in reality you aren't turning a lower rpm... either that, or you have a bad speedo cable/sender (not sure how they work on your particular model) and you are seeing the wrong speed...

  • jrcc330jrcc330 Posts: 2
    A new discussion has been started titled "tell us about your E46 325i and 330I performance upgrades" under all BMW discussions. I am looking to hear from people who have done upgrades to their E46 cars with chips, intakes, free flow exhausts, etc...Opinions are welcome...
  • orkwisorkwis Posts: 82
    One other possibility (from someone who's just guessing) is that everything is about the same but your tachometer is not operating correctly. I don't see how it's possible for you to be engaging the same gear and spinning the wheels at the same rate (mph) without the engine spinning just as before. A tune-up would affect the power of the engine and result in less gas needed to get the same result (rpm) since the combustion would be more efficient, but the rest of the connection to the wheels is strictly mechanical once the clutch is out. Of course, it's always possible that your memory is playing tricks on you, maybe someone else with a similar setup can confirm for you what rpm their machine requires for a given mph and gear. Good luck figuring it out.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I am so hooked on autoXing, I can't get over the fact that I will have to miss the next event this weekend because we are moving to our new home. Driving schools are a lot of fun but there is no substitute for autoXing. We get 7-8 runs at ~ 60 sec/run at the current course, so it's true that you get very little seat time. However, what's more important to me is that my mind is with the event all day. It's an awesome mental break! It's fun walking the course in the morning and mapping your line, looking at all the other cars, talking to other drivers about their cars, tires, ways to attack the course, learning little tricks of the trade like making sure you have only 1/4 tank of gas, turning away the rearview mirror, etc... I even like working as a flagger or whatever because I get to see other cars on the course from a close proximity and I see where they make mistakes and where they gain. Watching the tail of an E30 M3 step out under hard cornering is a beautiful thing - I can watch that all day. A lot of nights when I go to sleep, I keep thinking about the track layout and I drive through it in my head (just not in the 318ti with an E30 motor like nyccarguy, it's not THAT bad yet :o) ).

    I try to hit the backroads at least once a week during the summer (just did it last night) and although it's a lot of fun, it's a very different experience from timed events. The thrill and adrenaline are not the same. Plus, you have to be very careful pushing the car on public roads (even on deserted farm roads) because mistakes can be a lot more costly. The driving school that I did in NH was tremendous fun and a very different experience too but again, it's not a timed event and the adrenaline is not the same. I can still do a lot of the stuff they taught us there on public roads when appropriate but I cannot duplicate the excitement from an autoX event.

    On a separate note, my Sumitomo HTR Z II tires now have a little over 2K miles on them so they have been fully broken in. Aside from the soft sidewalls, they have been great in every respect and I feel more comfortable pushing the car hard with them because they are so communicative and predictbale.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Just wondered if you figured out what your warranty on your new 330ic ;) , might be if you wait until your transfer to purchase. I was "thinking" the motherland only gives a 12 /12 warranty ,but i could be mistaken on that. Or if you purchased here and shipped over if you would get the remainder of the 4/50 warranty ?

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    yep Chris, I'm still in Wichita. got divorced, bought a house... still here though. my M3 has 65k on it, runs strong.

    the SCCA offers schools once per year at Heartland Park (Topeka) and Hallett (Oklahoma), plus there's the new complex that just opened near Omaha, NE.

  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    You are correct is saying the warranty in Germany is 12/12. This also applies to ED cars while in Europe. When the car is brought back stateside, then it gets the remainder of the 4/50.
  • I thought it was time after 8 weeks to provide feedback on my first ever BMW. Took delivery in May of a 325i black sapphire, PP,auto,xenon, htd seats (paid about 1600 under list)
    Things I like:
    Driving is superb - tight feel, responsive, plenty of power
    Fit and finish - not a single defect noted so far except for one defective wiper blade
    Brakes are outstanding
    Xenon lights are awesome - stongly recommend
    What I am underwhelmed with:
    Stereo - very weak for this price range
    auto - seems to shift differently every time I drive
    Size - Trunk is pretty tight for my golf clubs but the back seat is pretty comfortable
    Uniqueness - now that I have one it seems like they are every where

    Net, net - compared to my previous cars, Miata, Sebring convertible I am frankly not too excited so far - and I so much want to be! It is well built, drives well but is not wowing me

    Sorry for the lenghty message but I thought other first time buyers might want to see news from my perspective
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    the things you seem to like are what makes a bmw a bmw... driving ability and stopping ability...

    as far as the shifting... hmmm... does the e46 come with adaptive technology on the automatic (darned if i know)? if so, it's probably still trying to "learn" your driving style. if not, then it's possible you have a problem.

    the stereos in the 3ers have never been anything to write home about. UPGRADE!! however, if you think the trunk is tight now, just wait till you put a sub in it... my clubs BARELY fit in... s'ok though, i can deal with that...

    i won't touch the uniqueness issue.

    compared to a sebring it doesn't excite you? man. that's pretty healthy praise for a car i never considered to be all that good... :)

    something else to consider... these cars have a tendency to become more and more well loved (for lack of a better term) the longer you own them... 5 years from now when the thing is still solid as a rock, the "wow" factor may take hold...

  • cninmicninmi Posts: 1
    I myself had my first BMW 325i in May, 5 speed,jet black, maybe the most "dressed down" Bimmer. But I didnt buy this car for the radio or for the storage, I bought it because of how it drives, handles, brakes, and on how it looks. I was looking at an Audi A4, 5 speed 1.8T, it had all of the goodies, test drove it and was not impressed at all. When I test drove my bimmer, the moment I started the engine, sat in it, looked around inside, I knew I was going to take this car. It doesnt offer a lot of interior gizmos but BMW is all about driving. If I want storage space, a good stereo and room for my golf clubs, I'll use my QX4. One more important thing why I get to choose the BMW, my wife loved it too and she can drive a stick.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    um, so what "wow"ed you about the Miata and Sebring conv?

    just curious as to what qualities are missing from your 325. retractable roof, check. everything else???

    actually the stereo in my M3 isn't bad... it isn't great by modern standards but with 3 piece components up front and coaxial 6.5" in the rear its FINE. the problem I'm having is finding an aftermarket CD receiver that isn't silver with green, blue and yellow lighting... yeah, that's gonna look GREAT in an all black car, black dash and red gauges.

    thinking about one of those Sony active black panel units. when not powered on, that would match well and it's not stupidly colorful when running... it is silver & red when you open the faceplate but I guess I'll live with it.

    btw, here's some pics of my M3-- since no one here but Chris recognizes me I dunno how interesting it'll be. :-D
    edit: duh, here's the link

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