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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    I assume you have a Low profile summer tires? They are only good for 20k miles or so. Rotating them won't help much. Also, when I had my tires replaced, the tread wear were very even.
  • motenor1motenor1 Posts: 35
    so with sport suspension, the ride on rough roads will cause my butt to get a much needed workout? the ride will be stiffer?
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    Consider the following:

    If you participate in an SCCA sanctioned autox and change your wheel's size, your car will be switched from the stock class to the modified class (ruining any hope of eventually getting a trophy)

    If you are really hooked (and who wouldn't after trying autox) consider getting some wheels (same size as stock) and putting some competition tires (your times will improve an average of 5 secs in a 60 sec run!!!) and your street tires will survive more than 6 months :)
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I drove the 3 liter z4 and thought that was a wonderful drive. Totally different feel from my M3. I would prob get a roadster if I got a convertible, but I do not have the disposable income for this--I would not want the convertible to be my daily driver. Convertibles are great for the days that you want to use them, but they have some negatives which preclude me from trying to use one on a daily basis.

    Cons: More road noise, harder to keep clean, less rigid, weigh more and therefore performance is compromised, interior tends to age quickly and must be rigorously cleaned after almost every use (when the top is down), you have to worry about people sticking a knife through the roof (there are few cars flashier than a 3 series convertible IMO). The 3 series convertibles seat only 4, while you can squeeze 5 into the coupe or sedan. I have had 6 in the M3.

    Pros: SUN, WIND, and WOW what a beautiful car.

    I like the compromise of my coupe -- with the large windows and the sunroof open it closely approximates the convertible. When it is hot or raining, I can put the window up and can drive around in quiet (except for the engine noise) and some luxury.

    Right now the M3 is a great car for the family. My 22mo daughter calls it the "vroom vroom" and she love to ride in it with me. We have another on the way to complete the family of 4. We use the car for road trips now and I hope to get a next gen 5 series wagon in a year or so if they are available. I was reading Roundel this month and one of the feature articles was about the M5 touring wagon that used to be available in Europe -- Wow! now that is a family car. My wife just laughed at me when I proposed trying to get one of these imported.

    If you and your fiancee are thinking about starting a family soon then having 2 cars which can carry the kids is definitely a plus. There will be countless occasions for each vehicle to perform this duty. It is ok to have one that is exceptional at this (like an SUV or a mini van or my favorite the 5 wagon) and one like a 3 series that isn't as good, but can get the job done if needed. Look at SHIPO he has a minivan and a 530.

    I do not want to sound too down on the idea of a convertible -- with the weather in Houston now, everyone should want one. I used the sunroof alone this am when I drove over to Rice to run (temp 45*). I think however that before pulling the trigger on the convert you should try driving the coupe because it does generate a slightly different feel for the driver that is somewhere between the sedan and convertible. Otherwise, I think that you should get the car of your dreams if you can afford it and have fun -- life is always much shorter than we expect and so you should get the most out of every day and out of every turn of the key.

    Yard: You know that I moved into a townhome and I do not have a single blade of grass to care for. I miss this a little, but have more time on the weekends to wash the cars.
  • katkisonkatkison Posts: 40
    Off topic: Do you want to take care of my yard? Just kidding.

    Oh, I know a convertible is not the most practical of cars. But it just looks so nice! Like I said, I am going to do my drive this weekend and make a decision on the car. I would like heated seats, but not so much as to replace my current auto. That is my only regret with my sedan, I actually found one on the lot that had everything I wanted but the heated seats and I decided that they weren't worth it. Then my fiance got the MDX and it has heated seats and I have used them quite frequently this winter.

    I did drive the 330 coupe when I was shopping originally and went for the more practical sedan. I do think the coupe looks better.

    Now if I wanted a real "family" car - sorry guys, it wouldn't be a BMW wagon. It would be an Audi S6 Avant. If only they made an S6 Allroad quattro. I like the looks of the Allroad better than the plain wagon.

    I am going to have to start thinking about replacing my tires...oh well, at least they will be better than the Contis I have.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,389
    "Right now the M3 is a great car for the family." Great Comment!

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

  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    You can always get the M5 Touring (wagon) imported in to the US. ;)
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    katkison - trust me, if and when you have kids, neither the Z4, nor the 3-series convertible will survive in your family as neither of them are practical enough for even occasional trips with a little baby.

    leenelsonmd - this is beginning to sound a little like Porsche ads: "The more kids you have, the more practical it gets"

    Heated seats in Houston?!? I spent a couple of months on business in Austin once in October and November and it was shorts weather most of the time?!?
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,389
    I was going to make a comment about heated seats in Houston, but you beat me to it. I guess your Boston Blood is thicker:)

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

  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I have a '00 323i and I have begun hearing that swish noise for the last few months. Definately coming from the vacuum gauge. The noise is very faint and I only hear it the first or second time I take off from a stop sign when the car is cold. I was going to ask the dealer about it on the next service visit. I wouldn't want them replacing gauges - concerned about what else they would break, or future rattles. I wonder if anything is really wrong or if it's just a normal noise? Does it get worse with time?

    widriver2 - I have rotated my Z rated tires one time from front to back. I've noticed no ill handling effects and I believe it will extend tire life by at least 5,000 miles. The rears wear about 30% faster than the fronts on my car.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I doubt I will ever need them. I find myself opening the sunroof even on the rare day here when it is below freezing. katkison is not the first Houstonite that I have met that likes heated seats though -- I have a number of friends that like them, but I do tend to laugh about it secretly. -- Enjoy life above all.

    nyccarguy -- it is true. The M3 seats 5 or 4 adults plus a child seat. The seats flip up and it is easier to put my kid in the back of the coupe than my wife's sedan...or at least that is what I keep telling myself. Very practical car.

    brave1: so true. the more kids I have, the more I will appreciate it.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    One of my neighbors has a 3-series convertible and routinely puts his 2 kids (6 & 4) in the back for trips. Although minivans (smaller than American market) are getting popular, most Europeans seem to do just fine with most small cars and kids.
  • katkisonkatkison Posts: 40
    I am encouraged by everyone's comments about the heated seats! ;) I can fully admit that I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather (and I was born in Ohio). It was 38 degrees when I left the house this morning and I started out with the heated seats on in the MDX. We were even remarking this morning how much we like them. I like them to take the chill off. And, if I did have the convertible, they would be required so that I could drive with the top down in cooler weather, turn on the heated seats and heater, and have fun.

    Dave330i, actually my problem with the 5 series is that I don't actually like the look of it all that much. I never really have. So, as nice as an M5 wagon would be on the inside and under the hood, I don't like the body. Now, I have seen the pics of the new 5 series and I really like the front end, but not the back end. Now, it remains to be seen what they do to the 3 series. Maybe I keep my car for a long, long time!

  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Really? To me, the current 5 series looks like a more mature 3 series. The new 5 on the other hand looks like they threw the new Accord and Grand Am in a blender.

    As to heated seats, I know few Texans & Californians who love theirs. I don't get it, but I guess living in warm states could make you more sensitive to colder weather. I keep myself from going soft by walking to the gym every morning at 5.
  • widriver2widriver2 Posts: 36
    Thanks for the info. I know for sure I'll rotate my winter tires since I only put less than 3000 miles on them. I may rotate the summer ones. Did you rotate them regularly?
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    I opted out of the heated seats myself, but there are those occasion cool, sunny days that you want to have the sunroof open and heated seats. I still remember when I moved to Miami, FL from Syracuse, NY. The Florida winters felt like New York summers. A year later, I was grabbing the ski jacket on 50 degree days.

    What is pratical? With a new addition on the way in September, I told my wife a 5er Touring would be great. She then replies, will you be driving it. The reality is that my wife would not drive a minivan, station wagon or a sport ute. I would have to be the one to suck it up. The Volvo XC70 has been looking very good lately.
  • bmwshybmwshy Posts: 2
    I have been considering a 325xi as a replacement to my current car. I have owned Hondas/Toyotas because of their reliability and I am a bit concerned about BMW's reliabilty and dealer attitude/service especially since Consumer Reports no longer recommend the 3 series. I would appreciate any experiences (both good & bad) on leasing/owning BMWs.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    my advice and experience is that in general BMWs are quite reliable and well engineered, carefully constructed. BUT I do not believe they are as tolerant of poor maintenance as you average Honda or Toyota. I get the feeling that BMW does not engineer for the lowest common denominator, I believe they build the car with the expectation that it will perform properly when maintained properly.

    the other factor in reliability is abuse / hard use. high horsepower cars tend to be driven harder, and they tend to wear things out faster. any moving thing at 90% duty cycle will simply fail sooner on average than the same thing at only 50% duty cycle. trying to disprove this with one example of a personal experience is luck, not fact. but anyway, many BMW models have higher than average power.

    the final thing not to forget, especially when buying a used BMW, is that the replacement parts of such a car often correlate to the original sticker price. for example, if you were to pick up a 1990 M3 for only $9,000 it shouldn't be at all surprising that a clutch job will cost more than your average Mustang... and even after you put the money into it to keep it tip-top, that doesn't add magically back into the current value of the vehicle. (I see some individuals are trying to disprove me by selling their E30 M3s on autotrader for $16k-20k. Good luck to them!)

  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    I have owned my 325 for over 1.5 years now and I must say that I have not had any issues with my car. As a matter of fact, I feel that the quality of materials and fit/finish are better on my bmw than any Honda I have owned. Since there is so much info (message boards, etc.) out there on these cars, I feel I am more aware of its issues/TSB etc so it feels like they have problems, but I havent experienced any. But after a year and a half, I think that this car rides better and more rattle-free than the day I got it.

    My dealer experience has been nothing but excellent. I have always been treated well by knowledgeable staff and have got a loaner for each service. At the time of delivery, I even got a couple of key chains and a mini-BMW for my son (retails at $85) without even asking for anyting.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I've owned a couple BMWs, both cars and motorcycles. I'd characterize it this way: they're solid, well-made vehicles, with better chances of, with good maintenance, holding together nicely at really high mileages. But they have two issues on reliability:

    First, while most are reliable, you run a higher risk of a real lemon than you do with Japanese cars and when you get one, look out! So you have to be willing to accept this risk and you want to keep great documentation in case you have to go to the mat and do a lemon law return.

    Second, everything electrical on a Euro car is a cut below Japanese electronics, both in terms of function and reliability. The nav systems are almost unbelievably bad. And, IMHO, the gizmos are overpriced: $1000 for power seats? $700 for xenons?

    If you can live without the gizmos in your BMW, you'll save a bundle and have a much more reliable car. A base 325i with sport package is a hell of a deal at $29K street price (or even less ED) and is probably going to be very reliable. But a loaded/nav 330i at $44K street price doesn't represent a very good value to me and is likely to have a lot of glitches.

    - Mark
  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    After much deliberation I've decided to order a 330xi. This would be a commuting car. I've decided on STEP, PP so far.

    I'd also like to get controls on the steering wheel but that's not enough to justify the cost of the SP to me. Am I missing something obvious included with the SP?

    I'd also like heated seats and the headlight washers but don't care about a ski bag. Is there a way to get the washers without ordering the Cold Weather Package?


  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    Does anyone know how to reset the avg mph and the avg mpg feature for the computer. I can't seem to locate the answer in the manual and have tried pushing/twisting/pulling the knobs in the computer area but to no avail. I only can figure out how to reset the trip odometer. Who knows, maybe I'll discover accidentally a way to reset the whole odometer! LOL.

    Thanks in advance
  • denkdenk Posts: 75
    If I recall correctly, cycle to the function you want to change and push the button in and hold it until the obc readout changes to dashes.
  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    I think the sp option would be a great choice and value. I am awaiting delivery on a 330i 6 speed, PP, xenon, paint and heated seats and I regret not getting the sports and to some extent the winter package. The reason I didn't is because I worked such a good deal on the above configuration with the dealership owner that I did not want to give the sales guy any reason to wiggle out and reprice(long story). The least thing I regret is not getting the headlight washers and the ski bags with the winter package but I would have liked the fold down rear seats.
  • jschmoe3jschmoe3 Posts: 6
    EUREKA!!!!! Outside my window(unfortunately in the rain)after a 12 year(long story) wait is a '03-330i.6 speed,orient blue,sp,xenons,htd seats.Almost had a heart attack driving home in a monsoon and rush hour traffic,but boy is this car a blast so far.My 1970 340 ply duster was fast and fun,but comes nowhere close to the solid and smooth feel of this car.Can't wait for the break in to be over.I have a state forest nearby that has some interesting curves. To all that have presented helpfull and informative posts,my sincere thanks.I'm sure I'll run into some of you after I join BMWCCA. Good driving...Jschmoe3
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I have only rotated my tires once at about 13,000 miles (expected mid life of the tires). There are definately two schools of thought on rotation. The BMW owners manual recommends against rotation. Their rationale is that the tires wear in certain patterns and should stay put for reasons of handling. Besides, the cost of rotations every 3,000 miles will exceed the value of increased tread life.

    My BMW dealer recommends rotation the same as the connventional wisdom has always been to rotate tires regularly. If rotations were free and your time is not an issue, I still believe in regular rotations. But on BMW original tires it is not free, so I've taken the middle road and rotated mine once. If I tracked my car regularly, driving at high speed, I probably wouldn't rotate the tires. It's just hard to throw away the front rubber with 30-40% of the tread left.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I think (and I may be wrong on this) that after you rotate the tires, they will settle after a couple of hundred miles and even at high speed you wouldn't be able to notice much of a difference. BTW, even at Lime Rock, I was able to get it up to only ~ 105 on the straight. My rationale for not rotating is more along the lines of practicality. The fronts will last almost twice as long as the rears. So if you like your current tires, just burn through the rears, then replace them, and you should be able to get ~ 50K miles on a total of 6 tires.
  • Hi: I recently purchased a 2003 325 Ci and will pick up on Friday. For those that have this car, I'm curious about which brand of tire comes as stock. I know some manufacturers use a couple of different brands. I'll have the 17' that come with the Sport Package. Just want to make sure that the dealer doesn't switch them out to something really cheap. Have had them sell horrible tires to friends of mine that didn't know better. The road noise was really bad. Any advice appreciated. Cheers!
  • hippo168hippo168 Posts: 115
    ~50K miles on 6 tires? So you expect each of the rears go 25K and the fronts go 50K? I think that's too "demanding", esp for ultra-high performance tires. : )

    btw, I just put back my summer tires yesterday, but somehow I don't seem to find the wear indicators on the Conti SportContacts.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    There's a reason why you want the wider rubbers on the rear wheels. Rotating them on a SP would defeat that purpose.

    On a related note, it rain quite heavy all day yesterday. Very odd for this time of the year in the Bay Area. All the slow moving SUVs decided to come out, and create a rolling blockade. In those rare instances where the HWY was open, S-03s worked flawlessly. Later in the evening when I got on several twisty side roads, again, no problems.
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