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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • suegosuego Posts: 2
    Everything I read about internet shopping says that you can get a better deal. True for BMW? Any experience out there?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    That was a direct quote from BMW on their website. I found it in the either in the owners circle or the news and views. The 3-series has won so many awards, it's hard to keep track of which magazine said what.
  • fomentarfomentar Posts: 49
    I am 3500 miles into my '03 330Xi...outstanding vehicle, especially with a long commute. I thought that after I took delivery I would fade away from the discussion boards, since research was done...wrong. Excellent board here IMO.

    A couple of questions:
    1. What experience do you have with gas mileage on the 330xi? I am currently just under 22 mpg, with a significant portion of highway driving. I don't drive slowly but I am not overly agressive.
    2. I have a Valentine One...nice unit. I currently have the power cord run along the headliner and down the A pillar to the glove box auxilliary power outlet. Has anyone connected power supply to BMW wiring? I am leary of connecting to wiring...


  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I have a 95 Integra GSR, and have had a 530i (sport pgk) for a year now. I definitely prefer the BMW when I am on autobahn, or any time I have to drive for more than an hour or so. I have only driven a 325 for a brief period of time, but I'd imagine the 3-series would feel just as solid and refined. Still, I love my Integra in the city and twisty bits. It is just light and quick to rev and move about in the traffic. I just can't stand driving it for 2-3 hours at 5500 to 6000 RPM.

    If I did not need a 4-door sedan, I would probably be driving the Integra until it falls apart. (I do plan on taking it back home to the DC area) I was tired having a sore back after loading my 2 year old into the back of the 2-door coupe. If you need additional room and had to go for a 4-door variety, 3 series or the 5 would be near, if not at the top of the list.
  • gwunjgwunj Posts: 26
    fomentar: The V1 is an easy wiring job, especially if you are putting in the Universal Transmitter at the same time. There's a good writeup at in the dyi section. It should take less than a half hour, depending on how anal you want to be with dressing the wiring.

    sedanorcoupe: I have a 330ci SP and live in the Philly area. The summer tires aren't worth a damn in the snow and ice. You'll either have to buy a winter wheel setup or use a beater car. Personally, I suggest the beater car. The way I figure it, the greatest danger to my baby is some idiot who doesn't know how to drive in the wet stuff. At that point, I'd rather they smash into my 93 sentra than my baby with winter wheels.

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    My '01 325i is just about to turn 40K miles and I'm still around ;o)

    The worst gas mileage that I've had on the highway with very spirited driving is 22-23 mpg. 22 mpg in mixed driving sounds low. Do you spend a lot of time in traffic jams? Keep in mind that the 330xi would be ~ 300 lbs heavier than my car; more if you have the step.

    I have a hardwired V1 with a concealed display and I am very happy with it. The installation took me 45-60 min but I am not very handy and everything seems to take me twice as long compared to the guys that are more mechanically inclined. It's worth the effort, esp. if you plan on keeping the car for a while.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have a 530i (5-Speed) which weighs in at just 11 pounds more than a 330xi, and I routinely get about 30mpg on the highway at ~75 (I got about 24 mpg on the Autobahn with the Cruise Control set at 125), and I get about 24 mpg in mixed city/highway driving. The 530i does have a small advantage in that it has a more efficient drive train (RWD vs. AWD); however, the 330xi has a slight advantage due to its tires being almost an inch narrower.

    My guess is that you should be getting at least 29 mpg at a steady 75 (my 1999 328i got more like 34-35), and 24 in mixed driving environment.

    Best Regards,


    I'm flying home tomorrow, St. Patricks Day, which for me starts in about 12 hours. Let's see, I start in a time zone that is GMT +8 and end in a time zone that is GMT -5, that means that my St. Patricks Day will last 35 hours. I wonder if they will serve Green Beer on the airplane. :-P
  • bing330ibing330i Posts: 89
    gas mileage on my 2002 330i step (15k mi) has been consistent around 20.5-20.8. most of my drives are local (40-50mph) combined with highway (75-80). something wrong ?

    BTW, does anyone know the price tag for a fog light for 330i SP M-aero pkg? one of mine is broken, probably got hit by a stone.

  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Milage will improve as you put more miles on your car. What you're getting is about normal. You'll start to see improvements as youget closer to 10k.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    On my 2001, the cheap side costed over $100 to replace. BTW, cheap side is passenger side.
  • Hey all - anyone have any thoughts either way as to St Louis, Missouri, dealers?

    Just curious if there are any horror stories out there, or conversely, if anyone's had a great experience.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I average a consistent 24 mpg in mixed local street and highway driving. This is a 330 with step. Highway driving brings it up to 28. But it all depends on how you drive the car, if you use the step or sport program liberally. I drive the car fairly moderately with burst of spirited driving. With 24mpg I'm not complaining.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    The AC22 Peformance Meter seems superior to Vericom and G-Tech -

    I am seriously considering getting one - it would definitely be worth $200 to me as long as it is reasonably accurate. Does anyone have additional info as to the accuracy of the product? And please excuse my ignorance but are U.K. imperial units the same as ours?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    24 mpg @125 mph is astounding mileage IMO!! I think my 325i will be ~ 18-20 at that speed. I'd love to cruise at that speed regularly but I don't think I'd have the guts to put it on cruise (too passive).

    A 35-hr St Patty's?!? That's awesome - you'll have the time to sober up and start all over at least a few times :o) Great planning!
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    OK, never mind - just found out that Volume/Capacity units are different but the rest are the same Imperial vs. U.S.
  • fomentarfomentar Posts: 49
    gwunj: Thanks for the info on the V1 wiring...looks like a good plan.

    To all on the mileage: Thanks for your responses. I am interested to see how the mileage turns out as I put some more miles on it.

  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    I understand there is a BMW website or contact number that will enable me to track the order/production status on a new car order. I ordered a 03 330i two weeks ago and I want to start checking on the status. The salesman keeps telling me he does not have an order tracking number yet but I understand that he should have had one within a few days of placing the order. He originally told me that there would be a six week interval but now he said it will take ten. In view of this, I would appreciate someone letting me know the details on how to start this tracking process.
  • sopecreeksopecreek Posts: 203
    Is there BMW forum that's comparable to, say freshalloy for nissan/infiniti vehicles, on the web? Thanks.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    It looks like 2nd gear tops out at around 70 mph at 7000 rpm. Engine sounded sweet even at those rpm. This car just loves to be driven hard on a twisty. :D
  • jschmoe3jschmoe3 Posts: 6
    Hail to all from long time reader of this forum,long time"longer" after a 3-series car,and finally...awaiting delivery of 03 330i sedan.Orient Blue-SP-heated seats-Xenons.Not the most options,but enough to make me happy.I have found this and other forums within the BMW realm entertaining,very informative,and extremely helpfull in making option,pricing,and future care of my automobile decisions easier.I am in the Boston area and know I've passed(or been passed)by some of the writers in this forum.I can't help it but every Xenon light in my mirror increases my heart rate in the anticipation that it might be the best looking car on the road just about to go by.Can't help it-I really am infatuated with everything concerning them.I've never owned one,but have driven relatives',and being former mechanic,also helped work on them.My question to the experts out there is this: Does the 03 330i sedan come with the 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, as the BMW web page indicates? I spoke with my sales rep today and he intimated that it does NOT,that it is part of the new "performance" package.ALL the info I have read (GERMAN CAR FANS,EUROPEAN CAR,etc)makes it as part of 03 changes for sedan.Hope someone can shed light on this.Order date was in FEB with a week 10 build date(MAR 1st).AM wondering if Factory changed transmission mid-Year or if sales rep made mistake and ordered 5-speed when 6 was available?sorry to be long winded.Thanks for any help.I"ll be reading,please keep writing. jshmoe
  • rd330ird330i Posts: 7
    All 330's get the 6-speed effective March '03
    production. Your's should come with the 6-speed.
  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29

    Congratulations on your 330i choice; I ordered one 2 weeks ago. I just talked to my dealer tonight and although rd330i is right about the March 03 production; I think you may be right on the fringe. The dealer sales guys told me that I may be getting a 5 speed because I did not get hit with the $200 price increase. I hope they are wrong and I will gladly pay the $200 for the 6 speed. (However I was also told by anothe dealer that the $200 increase had nothing to do with the 6 speed change). Did you pay the increase? How do you find out what stage of production your car is at? I am told that my car is scheduled to be built on 4/10/03 with a 5/3/03 estimated delivery. I think I am going to make some calls and find out about the 6 speed situation because, besides us, even the salesmen seemed confused. By the way I don't believe the sales rep specifically orders the transmission (manual by default) unless it is a steptronic.

    Best Wishes

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The funny thing about the "125 on Cruise" bit was that we were driving in the middle lane! There was so much hardware out there that wasn't governed like my U.S. Spec 530i (which could easily have gone MUCH faster than the 128 electronic limit), so I simply resigned myself to being marginalized at 125 and hit "Cruise". ;-)

    Re: the "35 Hour St. Patty's Party", nope, the plane was not stocked with green beer so I drank copious quantities of green tea instead. Still makes you pee a lot, however, no hangover. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    According to the February 2003 BMW NA Inside Track pamphlet, the MY 2004 3 Series coupes and convertibles are being released this spring, 2003, and the 3.0L models get the 6-speed.

    I don't know when the MY 2004 sedans are being released, nor can I say I remember seeing anything about what manual transmission they will use. I'm guessing that since the coupes, convertibles, and PP 3.0ls all use 6-speed, so will the other 3.0l sedans.

    Check out the 3/17/03 issue of AutoWeek. An interesting 2-page article on upcoming BMWs, including pictures of the next generation 3 Series. This article says: "Transmission choices will include a new standard six-speed manual (with available sequential manual gearbox shifting) and an optional six-speed automatic." And, finally, all 6-cyls will get "Valvetronic engine controls and Vanos variable valve timing and direct injection."
  • Have a new (300 miles) 03 330i. Have noticed that when driving straight the steering wheel is off-center (slightly turned to the left). The car drives straight - doesn't pull left or right, but wondering if the steering wheel being off-center is an indicator I'm out of alignment. While I've obviously been extremely carefull, we are definitely in the middle of pot-hole season in Minnesota right now! Also, I have driven on a flat parking lot, so don't think the wheel is turned to the left because of road crown. Thanks.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    More ice yesterday and I'm convinced my 325xi is part mountain goat. That thing is SO surefooted.

    First question: I know this has been covered, but has anybody successfully attached the standard 2002 stereo system to an amplifier? I'd love to replace the speakers with some MB Quarts, but don't want to do that unless I can give them some more juice.

    Comment: Somebody earlier asked about the Valentine installation. Here is a URL for an installation:

    I'm not sure if this is the best installation doc, but it covers it pretty well. (Still wanting a V1, but the wife won't let me speed too much!)

  • You need to make BMW aware and insist that they correct it. I waited until I returned from E.D. and the dealer said that adjustments could only be made within the first 1000 miles.

    I ended up doing the adjustment myself in about an hour. It should only take a few minutes at the dealer. Good Luck
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    A little over a month ago I was very active in here looking for help with my Bimmer! I ended up in a 2003 330i sport/xenons/heated seats.

    I just wanted to say it is now about 6 weeks later and it is still the absolute dream I always wanted. I am like a little kid. Everything they say about BMW's is true. It translates to the driver in ways other makes just don't. I could not be happier and I am just glad to say its mine!
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    seiv: I did not see you at the Car Control school this past weekend. I am sure you were there, but we did not run into each other.

    Car Control School / Autocross: This past weekend the BMW CCA Houston had a car control course Friday night and all day Saturday. On Sunday there was an autocross. What a blast. I really drove the car as hard as I could and found the edge. I should have had more air in the tires. I was running 35 front and 38 in the rear (cold) and I lost most of the lateral tread on my fronts from the car control school. Before the Autocrosss I put 42 in front and 44 in the rear and the car handled better for the race. All of the experienced drivers at the autocross said I should have MORE air in the front and less in the rear to INCREASE oversteer. This did not make sense to me. More air up front should decrease the stickiness up there and increase UNDERSTEER. Any comments? FWIW, I found that with 42/44 as I tried above worked well for the autocross and the car had much more oversteer than with 35/38.

    fomentar: I have the V1 with the remote display and I wired it into fuse #6 in my car which is the "Makeup mirror light". Wiring it into the BMW xsceiver wiring as mentioned above works, but since I have the remote display I was still going to have a wire running through the roof line and down the A pillar to the remote display. This is why I just wired it into the fusebox and sent one wire up to the unit and the other wire over to the remote display. I ran the wire to the remote display around the center console (you can tuck it into the console) and then through the steering column up into the dash area where I have mounted the remote disply just below the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel behind the windshield washer control arm.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    FWIW: If your 330 has a 5sp instead of a 6sp, I would not consider this a bad thing. I think the 5sp is a little more fun to drive than the 6sp.

    The 6sp is mostly a gimmick IMO and the performance gain in the hands of an average driver is imperceptible (negligible). Maybe a pro driver could get a trace more performance out of it.

    Anyone else agree or disagree?
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