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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I have been batting this one around for a number of years, and for me, it's not worth it, yet. Why? Depending upon which model and model year, either two or four reasons:

    All Model Years:

    1) Cost, I simply cannot justify $1,800 for a fancy map, however, if we are talking about my wife, $3,000 isn't too much money. ;-)

    2) Cost of a periodic update is WAY more than a new Rand-McNally map book, and (based upon comments that I have heard) often times less accurate.

    Pre 2003 3-Series and All 5-Series:

    3) Cannot have the in-dash CD and the NAV system, you must opt for the cassette instead. Ugh!

    Pre 2003, All 3-Series and 5-Series models:

    4) NAV system was CD based, and required you to carry (purchase?) seperate CDs for different parts of the country.

    Best Regards,
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I guess I'll chime in.

    Is it worth it? I have used it plenty in my first year and have 23,000 miles,10 states and 4 countries to validate it.

    Is it accurate? Not always, it failed me most in my birthplace, Ipswich, England. It fail some more in my father's home town, Luton,England. I works quite well in Houston until I get downtown.

     The cassette player in the dash actually benefits me. I have over 300 cassettes and most religious material still comes on cassette. By the time some ministeries start using CDs, some other medium will out there.

    I would love to have the DVD based system but I have not seen the prices of the disc. As it stands now, you can get a set of updated disc for $200 to $300. If the update DVD costs $300, then you are only paying for convienence.

    It is good, because this co-pilot does not go to sleep. It is not the easiest system to use, I like the Nissan/Renault NAV but the BMW Nav does the job. I don't think I would want the touch-screen. I don't like grubby finger prints on anything.

    To tell you the truth there are very few options that are worth the money. IMHO, the only options that look like they are worth the money are the Bi-Xenon, SP and CWP.
  • I was wondering, I heard somewhere that you must choose a package when you purchase a 330ci. Is this true, and are you also required to pick a package for the 330i? Thanks
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Who ever told you that told you wrong. You can certainly go an order a 330ci or 330i with non-metallic paint, and a leatherette interior, and not so much as a single option, and BMW will gladly produce your car for you for an MSRP of $36,295. That said, if you want to buy one out of dealer inventory, the betting is that you will not find one so (un-) equipped.

    Best Regards,
  • you guys make excellent points both ways on the issue of whether to order the NAV. in the end, i've decided to bite the bullet and just order it for much of the reasons listed by ipatty13. knowing me, if i ordered the car without NAV, i'd probably regret not paying the $30 or so extra per month for the system, especially those times when the mrs. and i are trying to find a restaurant from our trusty entertainment coupon book, or heading out for a weekend trip.

    i think for me, the extra $30 per month will be worth it for the added convenience of the NAV. still wish it was cheaper than the $1640 invoice price though.
  • You mentioned that you had your car over in England. I was going to buy a new car when I moved over but a few weeks ago I learned it wasn't illegal to drive "right-hand" cars in England. Do you happen to know:

    (1) Would I lose free scheduled maintenance?
    (2) The costs to modify a 3-series to English specs?
    (3) Costs to ship?
    (4) In general, do you think it's worth it?

    I'd prefer to bring my car over because I'd take a big loss selling a 6 month old car and because cars are so expensive over there (that VAT is killer).
  • I found the previous questions very interesting regarding the trade-offs of owning a convertible. I've never had one but like most of us, on those picture perfect days I find myself filled with lust when I see someone motoring by with the top down and a smile on their face. I live in the NE and we are in the grips of one of the worst winters in recent memory. So to those of you who've owned these tanning machines, what do you think? Do you get one and then move on to hardtops because it's out of your system or once you've owned one you don't go back? I have 18 months left on my 330 and I'm already contemplating my next 3 series. One and all feel free to chime in.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Can't say if you should go top down or not in your next purchase, but if you do go top down, I'd recommend a 2000-01 M Roadster. They can be owned for $30k or so right now (assuming you can live with a roadster).
  • Need the back seat and some trunk room for golf clubs etc. Was thinking that a 325 with SMG might be cool. My guess is that living where I do I would probably have the top down only about 20% of the time. So I would love to know what you give up in real world driving (I don't race) with the top up.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    There are a few modifications that will have to be done to the headlight. US cars had their light point slightly to the right. You may have to get the city lights and rear fogs activated. My brother goes to England from Germany about four to six times a year. He has patches that deflect the light on his headlights.
    You would lose the free maintenance because their warranty is not as long as ours. Since you bought your car thru BMWNA, the warranty is different. You could probably call BMWNA on this. You should not have to change much but I can contact my brother. It is not illegal to have a LHD in England, some Brits have been known to buy their cars in Bellgium because of the ridiculous cost of some cars in the UK. I don't know the cost involved to taking a car to the UK. If you email me at, I'll check with my brother before he get sent to war.
  • First some back ground. I plan on buying a 2004 330i or 330ci towards the end of the year. Several of these questions I could answer at a dealership, but I am currently studying for the CPA so my time is limited. I am a first time buy and a little inexperience in many of the aspects of purchasing a car. I read edmunds advice on buying and it left some of my questions unanswered. I already know exactly what color and options I want.

    Now, would I lose some bargaining power by telling them about the exact car I want and having them find it for me?

    If they don't have the car I am looking for and they need to order it, then will I need to sign a contract to order the car, ie stuck buying it, or do I sign when I take delivery of the car?

    Does anyone know where I can find pics of the 330i with a aero package? has a side pic, but I haven't found any front pics.

    Does anyone know if BMW plans to change the 330i's exterior like they did the 330ci?
  • I have owned 2 in my life. A '91 and '94 Mustang GT. Both were not daily drivers. In a shirt and tie in the summer I wasn't crazy about it with the top down. But then again I was 24 and 27 with each vehicle and put up with it. Weekends it was great. No better feeling. I had cloth and would not get leather in a convertible. I hated to give my 94 up when I bought the '00 323. I do miss the convertible. However, I was finding out my girlfriend(now wife) at the time I had the Mustang didn't like to go out on a date with the top down. You know the whole it will mess my hair up thing. That got to be a drag(well, do I appease her and put it up when its a nice 75 degree late afternoon day or keep it down and drive in silence(music though). I normally kept it down :)

    I would not hesitate to buy another, especially a BMW but you will get leather in the BMW. Sticky in the summertime with shorts is all I can say. I wouldn't worry about a little loss in performance either.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    Drive an M Roadster, then you'll probably giove up golf for Sunday drives:)

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

  • 2003 M3 Steel Gray Metallic, Coupe, Xenons, Premium Package, HK stereo.

    convertible vs coupe:

    FWIW: I love the rigidity and the low noise level of the coupe over the convertible. The convertible is harder to keep clean, is slower, and the top wears out after a year or two (IMO). Get a coupe and put the windows down and sunroof back and you are almost there.

    Also, the convertible only seats 2 in the back and if you have a car seat then it will have to go on one side or the other. In the coupe, I can put it in the middle which is a little safer for the kids.

    If you have the money then get a convertible for the nice days and keep it parked in the garage when not in use.

    coupe vs sedan:
    I like the lines and the trim on the coupe more than the sedan. It also sits lower to the ground. I have a kid and soon to have another one and the 2 door issue has not been a problem at all...of course most of the time we use the Maxima for family outings, but the car seat fits in the back of the coupe just fine too.
  • Thanks for the info on the Houston car control school.

    I will send my app off tomorrow and hope that I make the cut.
  • I have noticed my fuel economy has dropped some this winter. Others in cold climates notice the same? I live in Maryland and we have oxygenated fuels , perhaps this is to blame. Car seems to run fine. I remember from physics class that the delta in temperature defines Carnot efficiency, so by this theory colder weather should provide greater efficiency, though I doubt this boils down to real MPG. I am not complaining but my average mixed driving MPG fell from 25 to just above 24....Any comments....
  • gtom71gtom71 Posts: 17
    I haven't owned a Bimmer since my uncle gave me his old '84 318i when I started college. I now am interested in buying one, since my Acura Integra was stolen recently. I'm looking at 2001/02 325i's because they fit in my price range. Looks like I can get a decently equipped model for between $22-$27k. I have seen dealers in Canada w/ the appropriate color and equipment that I like. They also seem to be slightly better priced because of the exchange rate. It also helps that I have a cousin in Canada who can check out these dealerships and do the test drive for me. I know he'll be good because he's a car buff and he also owns a BMW. My question is do the Canadian cars have different specs or equipment? Besides an odometer change from metric system, what other mods are necessary? Anybody familiar w/ any customs or any other taxes? Any paperwork hassles? Any knowledge or guidance would be much appreciated.


  • dusterbuster,

    I think you'll be happy with your choice to buy the nav. If you aren't, though, please don't come stalking me! ;-)
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    You can always place the golf bag in the passenger seat. ;)
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    I chose the sedan. One, its cheaper (why is the coupe MORE expensive?? strange) and two, the coupe has a back seat and if you intend to haul around 4 people just having two doors and moving the seats become SUCH a pain in the rear. Id rather have 4doors or JUST a two-seater instead of a 4/5 seater coupe. Used to have a coupe and it was more a pain than styling.

    Also, the coupe styling is not THAT much different to justify getting one. Now, if the bimmer coupe were radically different than the sedan like the Infiniti G35 coue and sedan, I would have considered it.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    The coupe has more standard features than the sedan. For example, it has the sport suspension standard, that's why the sport package option is much less on the coupe than the sedan.

    BMW's pricing structure is very rationale. If you option up a sedan to the coupe's level, the cost is pretty close.

    - Mark
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    For the 330, sedan & coupe have the sport suspension as standard.
  • I would appreciate your attention and advice. I am finally getting rid of my MB C320 and purchasing a BMW. I am looking at 330Xi or 530i. My interest in the 330Xi is only for the all wheel drive aspect. Although I live in Arkansas and not much winter weather, we have periods of rain at times and think the sure footedness of Xi would be good. Options, convieniences, luxury, I think the 530 would be the thing. I would appreciate your opinions. Thanks!!
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Never had any trouble with rain in my 330i with SP.
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    If you are worried about the rain then any BMW will do pretty well. No need for the xi for rain.

    Go with the 530
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    For Arkansas, I absolutely cannot see the need to spend the extra money on AWD. Consider the following:

    1) With the standard traction control, you will have to hammer the throttle pretty hard to cause an unsafe situation with the RWD cars when the roads are wet
    2) Even though accelerating from a stop will certainly be a little better in the wet with the AWD car, the handling and braking will be slightly worse (extra weight)
    3) The 330xi cannot be had with the better wheels and tires of either the 330i SP or the 530i SP

    All in all, I would buy the 530i, then again, I am biased; I have had both a 328i and a 530i, and I prefer the 530i.

    Good luck, let us know what you decide.

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Buying an Xi simply for rainy weather is a huge waste of money. I simply can't imagine any situation where someone would need AWD to "feel confident" on a wet road. OTOH, if you want AWD to maintain high average speeds, you'll be much better served by a WRX, an S4, or a C4S. If you want a 330i, buy a RWD model and spend the extra $$$ on several BMW CCA driving courses.
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    I believe the biggest difference between the two (currently) lies inside your skull

    Interior space is slightly larger on the 5, repeat, only slightly larger!

    Exterior volume is a big difference, being the 5 more voluminous.

    The 3 provides a more sporty-younger image (and somebody might call you a yuppie) while the 5 provides a more mature environment and image.

    The larger volume and weight of the 5 creates a compromise in acceleration and handling, although depending on how you drive, you might never get to notice this. (There is also the V8 engine :-)

    So, inside your skull (joke) your personality is what I think should make your decision. DO you like sporty cars, be happy with the lesser BMW in the lineup (3 series in general) or do you feel, you are a more mature individual, that will enjoy, perhaps, a more sober vehicle.

    Within the BMW range, a brand that created itself as the icon in sporty automobiles, you can view this to vehicles in the following scale:


    My bias is: I drive a minivan and a 330ci sp manual
  • well, maybe you could give me your address then so i can test out the navigation system's accuracy? ;)

    i'm sure i'll enjoy the navigation. it's kind of amazing how the price of this car has slowly crept upwards as i've added options, etc. and to think, i was originally thinking of a mazda 6.
  • My perspective is much clearer in that I think I would much rather have a more mature vehicle such as the 5 series than go for sporty fun. I am more concerned with bells and whistles and "cushiness" than cornering and feeling the rush. Although, I have been told by other 5 series owners that this is a fun car to drive. Does not the SP increase road feel and noise? What about tires? What's the recommendation? BTW, thanks for the great advice.
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