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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • micgamicga Posts: 56
    marincountygal - I will repeat what I have said about 10 times on this board. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SA BUILT BMWs. Can you or anyone else show me any kind of proof that there are quality issues except a few paranoid posters? The answer is no. I do however understand your initial concern and would suggest you research it a little more before you panick. This is a great board, but it is not the end all. Most 325s are built in SA now. However, 80% of the car is built in Germany. It is then shipped to SA for the finishing touches. Just enjoy the car. If you never visited this board, you would probubly never know where it was built and thus would never care. This is a case of knowing too much. Thats the web for you. BMW opened it's SC plant several years ago to produce it's Z3 without any problems. By the way, most employees of the SA plant are actually from the German plants. They are there to make sure everything goes smoothly with the SA plant.

    Hope this helps, Take Care
  • Folks,

    I am unable to decide between BMW 325xi and Audi 2.8 Quattro. They both have almost the same horsepower and BMW has less torque. Price wise they are the same and not much of a difference. I am planning to give my wife a gift between one of these car. I am not sure which is a better car (ie. driving, feel for the road, problems, etc...)

    I know you all are very experience drivers with these kind of cars and I am not. I will need some help from you folks, if you can give me your comments or feedback


  • alpine325ialpine325i Posts: 209
    Why would BMW choose to locate it's new plant in South Africa? Hmmm... lets see... cheap labor? If this is the case, I remember the old sayings: You get what you pay for?, or If you go cheap, you get cheap?, or If you look for a short cut, you're gonna get cut short? I'm just curious as to WHY they would choose South Africa over other parts of Germany? Why not the North Pole then? duh. My car was built in Germany and If this SA stuff gets real stupid with all of the paranoia, I just hope that the SA cars hold their value as much as the German builds. In the meantime, it seems that only time will tell what kind of track record the SA cars will get as far as reliability and resale value. Has anyone seen or heard about an SA car with like 50,000 miles or more and a clean service record? Remember, this SA plant is way too new. So I guess only time will tell.
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    I just made my first visit to a BMW dealership and got some more info on ED. The salesman told me that you must pay for the vehicle in full one month before pickup (i.e., 2 months after you order it). He said, and I think he is probably telling the truth, that no bank is going to do a deal like that. You'll have to pay cash or finance through BMW. The problem with the latter is I don't know any way of locking in your interest rate, 2 months in advance.
  • ds2k1ds2k1 Posts: 101

    I haven't driven the 325, but I own a 330i and test drove both the A6 2.8 and 2.7T. The 2.8 will be more luxurious than the BMW, no doubt. It will have a softer, cushier ride with less road feel. It will have more storage space and will seat 4 or 5 much more comfortably than the Bimmer. The Quattro technology is fantastic and if your wife plans on driving much in the snow, you'll appreciate having it. No doubt, the A6 is a very nice ride, if a bit subdued.

    The 325 is more of an enthusiast's car and is a good deal quicker than the 2.8. It will deliver a much sportier ride and convey the road to the driver much more thoroughly. If she plans on having 3 passengers with any frequency, the Bimmer might feel a touch cramped. Without having any idea what your wife is interested in, it's impossible to say which car she'd prefer. The Bimmer will clearly be the more exciting car to drive and will undoubtedly retain its value better. Additionally, if you plan on leasing, the Bimmer may be a better deal precisely because they retain value so well. You can simply get a lower payment on the Bimmer than on a comparably priced Audi because the residual value is higher. The Bimmer also has an AWD option which, the consensus seems to be, is a pretty close rival to the Quattro technology. And the safety features on the smaller 325 clearly make it Audi's equal in that department, despite its more dimunitive size.

    If you were to bump up to the 2.7T, now you're dealing with a serious car. My decision came down to the 330i and the 2.7T. As mentioned earlier, I went with the Bimmer because it frankly drove much better (for me, that meant sportier). The Audi was very smooth and comfortable, but just not the driver's machine that the Bimmer is. When I drove the Audi 2.7T, I thought, "Hmmm...nice car, but something's missing." When I drove the Bimmer, I thought, " do I wipe this ridiculous smile off my face so that the salesman doesn't realize how in love with this car I am?"

    To sum up, if comfort is your wife's thing, get the Audi. If she really likes to drive and wants something a little sportier, and doesn't mind sacrificing some comfort and storage space, get the Bimmer. Both cars are pretty sweet rides.

    You might also want to visit the A6 chat room and get an Audi owner's opinion; quite a passionate group, they are.

    Good luck.
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    I just did my first test drive of a 325I. Unfortunately, it had the SP and I want to go with a base vehicle. I plan to do another test drive later of a vehicle with no SP, but I'd like to hear from those who've driven both how big the difference is and why they think, as they do, that the SP is the one option you should get if you only get one. In other words, what's the big deal?
  • mdbimmermdbimmer Posts: 8
    I've read several interesting postings about price and financing. Those who live in the Mid-Atlantic might want to check out VOB BMW in Rockville, Maryland. I shopped extensively for my 330xi (to be built in week 19, i.e., almost any day now), and VOB gave me the best price ($1600 above invoice), NO 'paperwork' or other nonsense fees, and they were quite helpful in my locking in the 5.9% financing. My salesman is Ilhan Birgin, but others there most likely offer similar deals. For those not interested in a special order, they also have a HUGE inventory.
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    I've read that you can order cloth seats for the 325I -- that they're common over in Europe. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to see any before ordering my Euro Del car. I'm picky about cloth. I do NOT like fine textured velours such as are in the Passat. The more open and rough the texture the more appealing to me. So, has anybody seen the cloth seats? What was the cloth like?
  • rworrellrworrell Posts: 151
    OK, I know that 330i leases are being subvented by BMW right now, but there's a dealer here in Minneapolis who's advertising a 330i for $359/mo 36 mos, 15k a year (might be 12k) with total due at signing of $3250. No matter how I run the numbers, I can't make $359 work even for a stripper 330i. I read the fine print and it mentioned with acquisition fee, payment of ~$500. That's a one-time charge, though, right?

    Am I missing something? Is it really possible to lease a 330i for only $359/mo with very little down? Someone out there please enlighten me!

    Thanks, all!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of years ago I was working as a consultant to Mercedes-Benz here in northern New Jersey. During my contract, they sent me to Stuttgart for several months. Funny thing, MB North America has a fleet of cars there for those of us on the left side of the pond to drive. Being a consultant, I was NOT allowed to drive a car from that fleet, so they rented me a BMW 320i (E36) instead. This car had cloth seats which were very much like the fuzzy seats in the Passat.

    Oddly enough, one of my buddies over there had an E430 5-Speed with cloth (as in your "open and rough texture" type) seats. While I prefer leather, the very subtle plaid inlay (the bolsters were still leather) was very tasteful.

    Best Regards,
  • megrdhmegrdh Posts: 34
    Thank you all for your explanation and suggestion.
  • yanbukenyanbuken Posts: 12
    Thanks for your responses regarding HK and ED. Brave1heart - thanks for your welcome and positive opionion on HK.
    Kominsky - I take it from your post that on any 330's in the future, the HK is included at no additional price. If I remember right, BMW likewise included other items in the 325/330 model that were previously just options on 323/328 models. Any ideas on what might be thrown in for the 2002 model year? Power seats, maybe? Question: does the HK include a CD player??
    Postoak, I am trying to learn as much as possible about ED, and yes, I have read BMWUSA's site on it. That was what really whet my interest on the idea. I was aware that you had to pay for the car one month before pickup, however, I assumed that I would have either a bank or CU loan in place to cover it. Now you have me concerned that I will have to turn to BMW for financing. Thanks for the info - I will check on it with my bank to confirm the bad news. Has anybody on this board gotten a bank loan for ED??
  • erricksonerrickson Posts: 130
    The HK upgrade is really an upgrade of the speakers. You still must upgrade if you want
    the CD player.
  • dc_75dc_75 Posts: 53
    postoak: As I recall, the BMW cloth upholstery is velour-like in texture/appearance with vinyl pipings on the seats. Although I think the lower end Euro 3er like the 316 and the 316 compact have a different cloth interior, I am not too sure. My experience is based on E39 520i as well as several 320i's and 316 (E36)(not too sure about chassis designation, too lazy to look it up :-)They are durable and quite nice, I must say, and have a bigger variety of colors to choose from to better match your car's exterior. Aside from Europe a large percentage of world's population of Euro cars sport cloth interiors (except for high end models, of course).

    MB has always had a plaid design cloth interior aside from their traditional MB-tex and leather on higher end models. I think it used to be offered on Sport models as well as Sportline models and I do believe their cosworth 190Es have the plaid interior. I think its got to do with racing tradition as in the SLR racing cars of the 30s. Its actually quite nice on a W-124 Sportline sedan I have driven.

    Not too sure why market preference/perception of cloth on high-er end cars is skewed.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Aren't power seats already standard on all 330's? They're definetly standard on the 'Ci'.
  • dc_75dc_75 Posts: 53
    postoak: Depending on your driving style/preference/needs, many fine posters on this board have attested to the attributes of the sport package on the 3er sedan. Personally, if I were getting a sedan, I would give the SP a closer consideration as I believe it completes the 3er package. Just to recap the Sport package comes with sport-tuned suspension, sport seats (with better support/bolstering) and the sport steering wheel and its quite the bargain as if you were to replicate at least the wheels, you would have to spend hundreds more.
  • dc_75dc_75 Posts: 53
    batlanta: Congratulations on the 330...said with a touch of envy as I am only ordering my 325 Ci in a month :-). How does it feel to have a 6-piece-German-orchestra at your beck and call....:-)
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    If you like to drive hard on curvy roads, I would highly recommend the sport package. I test drove a 323Ci with SP on a GREAT mountain road and was very impressed. Later, at The Ultimate Drive, I drove a 323Ci without the SP (same suspension, different tire/wheel combo on the 'Ci') and the car felt 'squirrely' when pushed hard. And then there's the seats which have been mentioned many times by myself and others... the sport seats are terrific!
  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    wow, bmw na emailed me with my concerns i had on overheating over in What customer service, now lets see what they can do to catch the problem before it happens.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    yanbuken - The HK is not just an upgrade of the speakers - it also includes subwoofer(s), a more powerful amplifier and speed EQ. I sat down and compared the std vs. HK before I ordered my car and to me, the difference was astounding and definitely worth the price. For more exact details on the HK upgrade, read the specs on

    micga - I understand your frustration with the S.A. build posts on this board. The only argument against buying BMWs made in S.A. so far has been that the continent has 25 mil AIDS victims. Talk about an irrelevant old-timer argument?!? We could also have all PC components be made and assembled in the US but would anyone prefer to pay 4 grand for a PC that now costs < 2? I welcome BMW's efforts to do whatever they have to do to control their costs as long as they don't compromise quality. Short of shipping delays, there is absolutely no evidence of quality issues with S.A. Oddly enough, this board seems to be the only one worried about S.A. build issues.

    oracle_xml - let me start by saying that in spite of what you think, claiming to be buying a luxury car as a present for your wife doesn't sound as cool as it would in India or Pakistan for example. There's no need for that, focus on the car. My wife is making six figures like me and would laugh in your face for saying that. As far as the Quattro, go for the smaller 1.8T, which similarly equipped is about 5 grand cheaper than the 2.8 and still has enough oomph. Fully loaded, it would be about 28K and still a great present. I think you were looking for a comparison of the 325xi vs. the A4 2.8, not the A6 2.8, right? The A4 2.8 would be almost a full second faster than the 325xi from 0 to 60. The BMW is still the driver's car as far as road feel, although the A4 is thoroughly enjoyable to drive too.

    postoak - Read previous posts to find out about the advantages of the SP. If you are very uncomfortable driving a Bimmer with SP, maybe you should be looking at a Lexus or some other car with cushier ride. There are enough poseurs buying BMW's for the image already. What you like is what ultimately truly matters. Get what you like, not what other people tell you is cool.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    As a rule,I don't like them.You get lower profile,softer tires-much worse wear.Stiffer suspension will cause more creaks and rattles as car ages-no question.There are many times,as you live with the car,that the flintier ride will just seem unpleasant.I think many of like just the IDEA of the sportier spec.For the few times we can canyon straff it is a hoot to have the snubbed down suspension.But I am not often driving aggressively,and if I did often,I would want to drive a Miata.
    To me,just getting the 5spd.shift makes the car plenty sporty.
    Often,just going through the gears with all the windows down and going rather slow is how I like to enjoy a fine car.
  • Hello all, I had some questions for the full maintenance on all new 2001 BMWs just so I can verify some things.
    Just to get this straight:
    Does the maintenance cover the full cost of getting your car serviced when you bring it in for the scheduled maintenances for 3yr/36,000 miles? Does that include things like oil/filter changes and everything else involved? According to the BMW website they will also replace things like brakes pads and rotors in case they wear faster than BMW specifications. So, am I correct to assume all this since I purchased a new 2001 BMW?
  • donnakendonnaken Posts: 2
    As someone who just took delivery of a 325XI, after test driving a 330XI, I can say there is a difference -- whether it is worth the extra 5K is the story. The 330XI threw me back in my seat with its power, and purred like a contented kitty. The 325 is plenty agile and quick, but doesn't exude the raw strength of the 330. On the other hand, as someone who is graduating to BMW from a 4 cylinder Nissan, frankly, the 325 has more than enough power for me. The truth is, I barely missed getting a speeding ticket on my way home last night -- I guarantee you with the 330 I would have been going 5-10 mph faster without even knowing it.

    I made the choice that it wasn't worth the extra 5K, at this time -- but that doesn't mean I won't go for the extra power the next time!
  • Hello all, I had some questions for the full maintenance on all new 2001 BMWs just so I can verify some things.
    Just to get this straight:
    Does the maintenance cover the full cost of getting your car serviced when you bring it in for the scheduled maintenances for 3yr/36,000 miles? Does that include things like oil/filter changes and everything else involved? According to the BMW website they will also replace things like brakes pads and rotors in case they wear faster than BMW specifications. So, am I correct to assume all this since I purchased a new 2001 BMW?
  • jbalserjbalser Posts: 13
    Can anyone tell me what a good deal for a 325i sedan would be with $1500 cash and $2500 trade in? I know the TMV is around 27,500, but I wanted to know what types of deals people are getting on this car. I would opt away from any upgrades except for moonroof and HK sound system. I figure the MSRP at that point would be $29,500. What does BMW use for their money factor and residual value computations? Any ideas on lease deals in CA?
  • reubencahnreubencahn Posts: 102
    I wasn't clear if you were comparing the 325 to the A4 or the A6. In any case, I own a 328. My wife has an A4 2.8 quattro. I would make two suggestions. One, if car is for your wife, let her drive both and decide. Obviously, I prefer the bmw and would have preferred if my wife got one. But after driving both, she liked the audi better and that's what she got. The audi is unquestionably more luxurious and is a wonderful car all around. It's just less fun when pressed hard. Second, if you can wait a bit. The new A4 will be here probably by fall. The reviews say it's a great improvement over the current version. In particular, the chassis is supposed to be considerably more rigid and the handling more neutral.
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    Thanks to those who posted answers to my questions on the cloth seats and SP.

    It looks like the cloth seats are out since as described they sound like just the kind I don't like.

    SP - I don't have a "problem" with the SP since compared to what I'm driving now (Miata) the 325I even with SP seems sorta soft. My only reason for trying to avoid getting it is cost. If the wheels were the main reason people liked it I could easily pass as I am not big on upgraded wheels and the standard ones look fine to me. I guess I'm going to have to drive a non-SP and decide but based on my testdrive of the SP, I'll probably have to go with it to get something like what I'm used to.

    Now for another question:

    Do the 325I and the 330I have different body styles? I assumed they would look the same but I'm seeing some 3ers that look better to me than others.

    PS: Yes, if anyone whose done an ED was able to get financing through a bank or CU, please tell us how that worked.
  • I came to the same conclusion regarding the 325xi vs the 330xi without ever test driving the 330. Five large is a lot of money for three dozen extra horses. I was definitely getting the AWD and was concerned as well with the extra HP from dead stops in slick conditions. If I were to decide on the 330 it would have been RWD. I am upgrading from a 174hp VW VR-6. That car can fly so I can't even imagine the swiftness of the 330. At any rate, I know I will not be dissappointed...

    One small question...Is the car horn a beeper or a honker?
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