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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I agree 100%. I only wish that the sunroof was still optional across the board...
  • After about 10K miles, I noticed increasing engine noise and now it's certainly noticeable especially when I step on the gas.

    It was so quiet when I initially bought it and I am a bit puzzled about why the engine noise has been increasing. Is something I didn't do on my part to let this happen? Have you had a similar experience on yours?

  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    Also, go a BMW dealership and compare the leather seats on the 5 and the M3 against the one on the 3 and you will see what I am referring to. It is a completely different grade!

    I guess is all relative.

    Some will believe BMW is doing them a favor by charging you $1400 less and providing plastic seats, other will consider that BMW is already charging those $1400 in the $36K+++ they are already paying, thus, pocketing the change.

    Is up to you to give the appropriate values to what you want, and what you can get out there from others.

    I am from the second group if you haven't noticed, what type of buyer are you? is the question you have to ask. IT IS YOUR MONEY!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Yes I sure do wish I could get a loaded 330i at the price of an EV6. Ain't gonna happen.

    The leather is okay, not great, not terrible. It's clearly better leather than other cars I've owned with leather. Not as nice as the 7 series or Lexus 430 coupe though.

    I'd rather have leather than cloth anyday. Cloth does not fare as well as leather as the time goes on.

    So is it worth it? You decide. At any rate that is what BMW is all about. As our friend riez says, choice, choices and then more choices. Choice up in price, choices lower in price and then some.

    But one thing is for certain, you can pick the suspension option, and then you get to choose between a superb sports sedan and an awesomely superb sports sedan. :)
  • I have to agree that BMW is cheap on leather. The quality of the leather decreases each year on the 3 series. I had a '95 325i and the leather in it was beautiful. It held up great for 8 years and looked perfect when I sold it at 100k miles.

    One of the smaller reasons I decided to just pull the trigger on the M3 is because the leather on the M3 is beautiful. There is alot of it too.

    Some friends of mine are probably going to go with a loaded Audi A4 because of the interior styling on the bimmer with the leather being a prominent shortcoming. Of course as long as they were being shallow, I reminded them of the totally uninspiring exterior of the A4. They agreed but felt that the $6k price difference justified the lack of pizzazz on the A4.

    I would take a leatherette 330 anyday over the A4 because the drive is what is important to me. I still think that BMW could give us some better leather for the money we spend.

    FWIW: The M3 leather is great, but the M5 leather is out of this world. The dashboard is leather in the M5 too.

    BTW: The cupholders on the M3 are out of this world.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Did anybody ever hear of them? I tripped over them at one website. They super-charged a 3L engine and got it to produce 400hp.

    Sign me up.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Michael, it does seem that all of the 3 series get a bit louder in the 10,000-20,000 mile range. I, for one, love it. If the radio is on or you are having a conversation, it isn't noticeable in my car. But just loud enough to sound nice, if you're listening. I suppose, for someone that was trying to buy a quiet car, this might be a cruel trick. But that's what Lexus is for.
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    I just got a 330i and I LOVE the engine noise. I thought being a 6 cylinder it would not have an noticable "growl" or "gurgle" to it but the 3.0 6 has a wonderful sound to it when you step on the gas. I sometimes purposely turn the radio off and throddle the engine just to listen to it. =)
  • I bought my brand new 2003 325xi w/manual transmission yesterday. Around 1/2 miles from the dealer, smoke started coming from under the hood. The car wouldn't shift to 1st or 2nd gear. Drove it back to the dealership in 3rd. They looked at it and said the clutch was cooked. Later they said that it was due to a bad installation or shipping damage. Anyone heard of similar story? Anyway, I still would drive the car. I do feel bad about the whole experience, being my first beamer, but then I guess I was in the path of the storm(1 in million chance that clutch will burn out). Beamers are still good cars.
  • gautamde - I can feel your pain. Are you going to take that car or are they going to just order a new one for you?
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    Anyone have this problem? Only occasionally, when I'm neutral, the car revs to about 2K rpm every two seconds. Then it stops when I shut off the engine and restart. Very very strange.
  • Can anyone tell me how to remove the radio in my '97 328i?

    This past weekend my battery went dead (still not exactly sure why) and after jumping my car, the radio prompted me for a code. Since I can't find the Radio Pass for the life of me, my local dealership informed me that I can take just tell them the serial # and they can get me the code. So, now all I have to do is get the darn thing out.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I don't know what that radio looks like. Is it possible that by turning the ignition on and pressing buttons for about 20secs you could get the serial number to display on the radio?
  • nobeenobee Posts: 194
    in my '93 530i the dealer used a specialized two-piece tool to remove the stereo. The tool was made out of metal and shaped into a "U". He inserted it into both ends of the stereo system and was able to pull it out. I know that really doesn't help much, but what the heck..
  • What I was told is that you can get the 6sp manual as an option on the 03 models. And the 04 models will come w/ 6sp standard. But when I went to a dealer nearby to find out about the cost, they have never heard of such an option on the 03 model. They are guessing if 03 will have 6sp as an option, it won't be here until summer or fall. Does anyone know any about this? When will it be available?
    Also when are the 04 models coming out? is it out yet? I've seen one today and it looked real nice. But again, the dealer did not know anything about it.

    I now drive Lexus GS300 which has 225hp and 220tq. I haven't test driven the 325Ci but it only has 184hp and 176tq. I'm assuming that this car will feel weak since I'm used to 225hp. But I'm on a tight budget now and not sure if I should be getting the 330Ci instead?
    Can I get some input as to how 325Ci drives and feels like on low and high speed. Does it have ample power and enough pull to make u feel excited about driving?

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    There are two @1/4" square doors on each side of the radio face plate. What you have to do is open the two little doors using either your fingernail or a small flat blade screwdriver. Next, loosen the two screws behind the doors. The screws retract two locking tabs that hold the radio in the opening. They look like allen sockets but they are actually designed for a special BMW tool. I bought mine from Bavarian Autosport(I think) but you can also use an allen wrench; just be careful not to strip out the socket. Anyway, once the screws are loosened the radio should pull right out. If not, you haven't unscrewed the tabs completely. Let me know if I can help further.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    The 6 speed is included with the optional performance package for the 2003 330 sedan only. It is supposed to be available this spring. All 325's, coupe and sedan, will only have the 5 speed manual. And if the dealer you went to doesn't know this, find another dealer. provides all of the details under the news(?) tab.

    Drive the 325 5 speed. I've never driven a GS300, but the BMW with a stick shift will probably feel faster than the Lexus with auto.
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    What's wrong with the Lexus? why do you want to get rid of it?
  • Oh, my lease runs out in March. And buying out the car does not make much sense since the car is not worth as it was supposed to be. The residual value on mine was 25k and the trade in value on my car at this time is only 19-20k.
    Anyways, thanks for the posts.

    By the way, will there be lots of difference b/w manual and auto tranny on a 325? Does the auto on 325 feel weak compared to the stick?
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    Definately go for the 325 if you are on a tight budget. I still get as excited about driving my 325 today as I did 1.5 yrs ago when I bought it. the power and excitement derived from this car has got me in enough trouble that I am glad that I didn't go for the 330.

    It seems that you are leaning towards the auto. Though many on this board live and die with the stick, I for one really love the step. I have driven a manual for most of my life and if I was the only driver, I would get the manual to save some money. However, I am always in manual mode in the auto and can derive almost as much from this than from a manual (let the flames begin), and then cruise in auto mode when I want a peaceful drive. The 325 auto is by no means underpowered compared to a 325 manual, it just may seems that way since you are likely to shift at higher rpm's in a manual. The auto mode in the automatic is designed for maximum feul efficiency. Put it in manual mode and you can do whatever you want with regards to shifting.
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    You need to test drive the two.

    Somehow BMW manages alot of bang per hp that comes out of those engines- dont let those #'s fool you.

    When pushed hard and using a manual, the 325 and 330 both have approx the same speed and performance ie- 330 is maybe 1 sec faster on 0-60 but thats it. And who really floors it from a standstill to 60 all the time anyways??? :P

    But, the difference I felt with the 330 was the more available low end torque on the engine. Im sure I would have been happy with the 325 but enjoy the more power I get (or maybe just feel) from the 330.
  • I have an auto 330I and love it. Do I sometimes wish I had a stick? Sure. If I had the stick would I sometimes wish for the manual... well you get the idea. If I put the car in step mode I can keep the revs high and it sounds like an M3.
    But most of the time I take the lazy way out and just drive it in the sport mode. I was thinking that the SMG which I think will soon be an option on the 330 might be an interesting choice. You can put it in an "auto" mode but it's still a manual, if that makes sense. I was in an M3 and in that mode it takes care of the shifts but you still get the lurching and jolt of a stick. I kind of liked it but wondered if I would get tired of it. It's kind of an automatic but without the smooth transition. As for the paddles, I wonder if they become intuitive like a conventional clutch and stick or would it become like step to me where I fool with it once in a while and then just get lazy. If I got lazy with the SMG and kept it in pre-programed mode would I just have a less smooth automatic?
    I would appreciate any input from those with SMG experience. Do you think it's here to stay or just a limited toy for the ultra exclusive cars?
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    From a BMW fan, I'll advice you to also try the G35 in that price range.

    However, I think BMW finance leasing program can't be beat.

    leasing a 39K 330ci was less expensive than the lease on a 32K Honda S2000 for example
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    I am frantically, obsessively car-shopping, and the 3-series is near the top of my list. (I currently have a Lexus RX300; nice car, but BORING and I'm over the SUV-thing...)

    I'm considering a 330xi. For current owners, can you share with me what you like LEAST about your car? (I know there are so many things to love about the car, I find it more useful to hear the gripes).

    Comments from those with or without the AWD option are most welcome!
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Do any US owners have the Navigation system in their 3-series? I've come to LOVE having it in my current car and am curious how functional/easy-to-use the BMW system is? (Elsewhere, I've not heard good things about BMWs Nav system). Thanks for your thoughts (and don't bother with the "Nav systems are a waste of money -- get a map" tirades. I KNOW they are a waste of money, but I want one...)
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    Boy, very few things I dont like about my 330i BUT ok, there are a couple minor complaints.

    1. the arm rest- its not standard and it does not hold much. comes with the premium package. 30k+ car and an arm rest is not standard??

    2. cupholders- are too small and the second one is located too far back and if you have an armrest, the armrest covers the second cupholder.

    3. if you are a tall person and have to have the drivers seat way far back, it makes for a tight ride in the back seat.

    4. the car gets pricey with all the options, etc. You have to hunt and work on it for a decent deal.

    5. having to find a place to park in the parking lot where i feel i WONT get door dinged! =) ok, maybe that is less than a complaint and more an obsession!

    But, overall, these complaints are VERY minor and I dont regret my purchase one bit!!
  • I just brought my car ('01 325i) in to the dealership yesterday for Inspection I. Everything went fine, the only problem is that my rear tires were worn enough that they had to be replaced. I don't have the papers in front of me but I think I was at or below 2mm tread height. I have 22K miles on my car and I had the factory installed ContiTour Contact tires (all season 205/55). How can they be worn this fast? the service rep told me that aggressive driving could of played a role. Ok, I will agree to that, because I do drive the car a bit agreesively (its a BMW, what I am supposed to do?), but not to the point that I need new tires at 22k miles? Does that sound right? I try to check my tires on a regular basis and they did appear to be getting bald last time I checked, so I don't think that they were trying to rip me off or anything. However, is it normal to wear down all season tires (below the specified safe tread height) that fast? Has anyone dealt with a similar situation?

    Also, about getting tires installed at the dealership, does anyone ever had to order them from somewhere else and ship them to the dealship for installation. Would a BMW service department go for that?

  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    There was a pretty good thread on this issue on Bimmerfest. SMG (SSG) is not the same as SMGII in the M3. SMGII is more refined. It seems to me that there is no gain from getting SMG over the manual. If you like the lurching from a manual, fine. But automatic just means that is pushes in the clutch at certain shift points. SMG should be cheaper than an automatic. That might be able to get some people out of their slushboxes, but some might fuss about not having a smooth transmission.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Small but they do the best job a cupholder can do. I never have to worry a drink is going to come spilling out on a sharp turn or quick acceleration. The cupholders have little "fingers" that grip.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    If you drive fairly aggressively, I don't think your mileage is terribly unusual - a little low, but well within normal bounds. I've never had an all-season tire last longer than 35K on a sporty car and have had a number that needed replacement at 20K or so.

    I wouldn't have the dealership do anything with tires - the tire dealers are optimized to change them much more quickly and economically. You can mail order and then get them mounted, but you're usually just better off shopping a few tire dealers and driving a hard bargain. Many will match prices with internet outfits like Tire Rack and Discount Tire, once you account for mounting and balancing.

    Again, I'd steer clear of the dealer for anything to do with tires. They don't even handle warranty claims because your warranty for tires is with the tire mfg, not BMW.

    - Mark
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