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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I agree about the luxury issue that everyone has addressed. I did not get my car just for speed. It was the whole package that does it -- the sport, the luxury, the feel, the solidness, etc. The 3 series was the best vehicle for me and represented the best value IMO. The Corvette is a perfect example of a car that has for many years had raw power and rigid handling, but the interior finish, image and the ownership experience as a whole IMO negated the positive traits.

    Nevertheless, I still am intrigued when I see a Corvette and now a WRX Sti, or Lancer Evo, because I can appreciate so many of the terrific aspects of each of these cars. The Mazda Miata is another example -- although it is in another performance category -- it is still a terrific car to toss through the curves.

    ddblue -- I love the sleeper concept. Supercharge that thing and surprise the world.

    Final point: These $30k land based missiles out of Japan, do nothing but raise the bar for BMW. They have thrown down the gauntlet. I can barely imagine the response.
  • eliyaleeliyale Posts: 13
    If you really want a navigation system and don't want to wait and/or pay a lot for it, a great option is the portable Garmin StreetPilot III. I've had mine for a year, and it's better than any factory setup I've seen... with more complete and accurate maps, a more colorful screen, and more natural voice prompts. It's got all of the features of a factory system with the advantage of being portable (great for multiple car families; take it with you when you buy a new car), easily upgradeable through online downloads, easier to operate, and best of all, you can get a new one for less than $700 on eBay.

    For more info, check out these reviews: 264920/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/103-6434857-3279023?v=glance&s=elect- ronics&n=507846
  • Hello all,

      Quick question for all of you guys....Do I pony up 24 or 25 K for a 2000 323 CI coupe, PP, SP, Xenons, 5 speed,29,000 miles, or should I stretch the budget and get a 2002 325 CI, comparably equipped for 28 or 29K. I am on a budget, but am thinking that I would be better off in the 02 (with 18k miles) than the 00, even if the 00 is cheaper. Is this logic stupid, or do you agree? What do you guys think? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks

  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    For $3-$4K more you get the following:

    2 year newer car
    11K less miles
    A car under factory warranty
    More base features
    Updated look (if you care)

    I'd take the '02 without a doubt if I could stretch my budget.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    There's always European Delivery to save some more money.
  • Hello all,

      Quick question for all of you guys....Do I pony up 24 or 25 K for a 2000 323 CI coupe, PP, SP, Xenons, 5 speed,29,000 miles, or should I stretch the budget and get a 2002 325 CI, comparably equipped for 28 or 29K. I am on a budget, but am thinking that I would be better off in the 02 (with 18k miles) than the 00, even if the 00 is cheaper. Is this logic stupid, or do you agree? What do you guys think? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks

  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    Although, $4K is large, albeit larger to some than others, I think your choice is fairly obvious. Although the miles on the '00 are low for the age, it doesn't offset the MY, i.e. the remaining warranty. Go w/ your gut and sit yourself in your new '02 coupe - ENJOY!

  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    As regards to my new 325i - just about to cross the 1000 mile threshold - what's the policy w/ the oil changes. Now that they are included in maintenance, the recommendations have changed from every 3K to now every 12-15K miles, depending on driving habits of course. Should I go ahead and pay to have it done every 3K or stick w/ the schedule - I want this thing to last past the 4yr/50K mi. warranty! Also, I've read where some have suggested changing the oil after ther 1st 1000 miles then sticking to the schedule. OTOH, some have said the initial oil placed by the manufacturer is actually different than regular oil and contains "special" products to help w/ break-in. Any enlightenment would greatly be appreciated.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I always stick with the manufacturers recommendation with regards to oil changes for all my vehicles.

    My 330i has 14,400 miles on it and I am bringing it in for it's first service. The car hasn't seen the dealer in almost 12 months. I put some oil in about 5,000 miles as it was low, and haven't put any additional oil in since.

    Bringing the car in more frequently is of course a personal preference. If it makes you feel better about your vehicle than by all means do so. But if you bring it to BMW they will charge you and won't actually give you the first service until the service indicator indicates so.
  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    My 20 year old daughter came home for summer break from college on Wednesday. We never told her we bought a new 330i. When she saw the Orient blue with grey leather beauty, she actually tripped over her luggage getting to the car. She loves the car and so do I. Nicole is a die hard bimmer fan who could probably be appeased by an MB, G35 or an Audi. She is saving for a white 330Ci 6SP. Expensive tastes; I hope she finds a good job.

    Even though I only have about 500 miles on the car, I do have some questions relative to some discussions that have come up in the past. I would appreciate some help from the more experienced owners or direction to past comments.

    1. I do not have the sports package (long story - but a mistake). I hope I do not offend anyone but I absolutely despise the 330i wheels. First I do not think they are that attractive and secondly they are a royal pain to clean and keep clean. My question here is three-fold. Could I use these original rims to mount snow tires in the winter? I heard several brands of snow tires mentioned - any recomendations? Any ideas on new BMW or aftermarket 17" wheel rim replacements? I am fine with road tires.

    2. Recommendations on radar detectors? I live in New Jersey. I am using a low priced Cobra right now but I am looking for something better and more concealable.

    3. A comment- not a question. I can't believe that a luxury car like the 330i with the PP option does not come standard with an integrated garage door openers.

    4. Another comment - The new 6 speed works great. I expected a shorter throw but thats ok. 3rd gear is awesome. In 6th gear the engine does 2400 rpm at 70 but don't try to race anybody. The car could use the 3.07 (sports package) or higher rear.

    5. When is the car considered fully broken in? Is it 1200 miles? The salesman told me just to drive it normal after 100 miles and don't worry about breakin.
  • ryokenryoken Posts: 291
    Nice car. Your daughter has every reason to trip over her luggage. :)

    1. I wouldn't call it a mistake. All 330's have the sport suspension, even if you don't have the seats, steering wheel, and rims that come with the sport package. I don't see why you can't mount snow tires on the original rims, though with the price of 17" winter tires, it may be cheaper to get 16" steel wheels for that duty and sell off the wheels you don't like. As for keeping them clean, that's probably the brake dust -- you may want to look into low-dust aftermarket brake pads when it's time to change them out. (I think Axxis and EBC make pads that are low-dust and perform as well or better than the stock pads.)

    2. The top two radar detectors would be the Escort 8500 and the Valentine 1. They both come with, or have optional, remote displays to aid concealed installations.

    5. Refer to the break-in outline in your owner's manual. Use the rules and mileage it recommends. General rule of thumb: the manufacturer's engineers are smarter than the dealer's salesmen when it comes to this kind of thing.
  • eliyaleeliyale Posts: 13
    1. My experience is that there is always some kind of buyer's remorse with a car purchase. Short of a house, it's the most expensive item that you'll probably ever buy, and with so many features and options, there's bound to be one or two that you don't like... i.e. the slightly harsh ride on my otherwise perfect new 330i ZHP. I can say from my experience with my previous car, a VW GTI, that mods (e.g. wheels, suspension upgrades, exhaust, etc.) usually make things worse not better. My satisfaction with the car actually decreased with each mod I did. A well-conceived car like the 3-series is built with balance in mind. You start adding and subtracting and you upset the balance. Just MHO, but I say wait awhile before you make any significant changes.

    2. I just bought my first radar detector, the cordless Escort Solo S2, and I really like it. It's small, looks good, and you don't have a cord blocking your sightlines. My understanding is that the S2 is, by far, the best cordless model out there but that you give up performance, especially range, with a battery-operated unit. Hard-wiring is an option if you want a cordless look but aren't willing to sacrifice performance. I hear great things about the Escort 8500, too. Two great sites for radar detector reviews. and

    3. Well, considering the fact that BMW is selling cars as fast as they can make them, you can complain but you can't really argue with their pricing strategy. If BMW pricing really bothers you, I hear GM is offering some really sweet deals right now. :)

    5. Generally speaking, when it comes to technical advice, it's a good idea to do the exact opposite of what the salesman says. My favorite salesman quote of all time was in response to my question about what kind of gas to use: "The manufacturer says premium but, hell, you could put diesel in this thing and it'd still fly."
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Regarding wheels, one of the nice things about owning a BMW is that almost every wheel manufacturer in the world is tripping over themselves to make nice looking wheels for these cars, including BMW. Check out the following links:

    Regarding tires, if I remember correctly, there are only a few choices for 205/50-17 winter tires, and one of them happens to be the Michelin Pilot-Alpin tires ($132 per). I used the Michelin Arctic-Alpin tires this last winter, which are the little brother of the Pilot-Alpins, and they performed great, were quiet on dry roads, and as an extra benefit, the Pilot-Alpins are also speed rated to 130 mph.

    Regarding the integrated garage door opener (aka. UGO), I still have mine from my 1999 E46 328i (with sunroof) if you are interested.

    Regarding the break-in, ditto what the others said; ignore your salesman. That said, "Normal" driving here in the U.S.A. is well within the guidelines for the break-in period. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • rogerabrogerab Posts: 29
    I installed Pirreli #210 Snowsport on the factory rims on my 2003 #330i and could not be happier. I found the traction to be excellent on ice and snow and as I will not keep my car for more than three years and it did not worth getting another set of rims.
    I have owned many different cars over the years and the 330i is the best for me. After 6 months of ownership I still get a thrill out of of my car. I think my age drops when I get behind the wheel.
  • joes230joes230 Posts: 94
    (1) Re cleaning wheels, this is very easy. I use Mcguire's spray-on cleaner -- you just hose it off, no scrubbing required. Try it!

    Re winter tires, your choices in 205/50-17 are the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22, Dunlop Winter Sport M2, and Michelin Pilot Alpin. See for more info, including tests and user reviews.

    You can install them on the factory rims, but generally you want two sets of rims -- summer and winter. Constantly mounting/demounting twice/year will stress the tires, plus you pay for a mount & balance job each time.

    If your winters aren't too bad you could use an all-season high performance tire like the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S. According the TireRack's tests, it's about 85% of the dry performance of the max performance Pilot Sport, which is pretty good, and better than some cheaper summer performance tires. Lots of places in the US have cold weather but not much winter precip. But if you have serious snow/ice I wouldn't use this.

    (2) The Valentine 1 and Escort Passport 8500 are usually considered the best. For user reviews see A few people have used both simultaneously.

    I have an 8500 with a hard-wired power cord. It's mounted high and left of the rear view mirror. It's very discrete -- can't easily be seen from the rear, nor from the sides at pedestrian eye level. The display is 4-level user-dimable so that helps. It's difficult to see from front because window tint shields it from pedestrian eye level, yet it has a clear untinted shot at the road below. The suction cup stays on the window. It mounts/dismounts from this in about 2 sec. The power cord is only about 2 in. long and conceals in the headliner when not in use -- very neat.

    The coolest Valentine installation I've seen places it inside the middle brake light housing (detector still sees the road OK) and the remote display is integrated in a half-silvered section of a custom rear view mirror. It's $200 plus the V1 cost, plus install. see also

    Whichever one you get make sure you get a hard wired power cord.

    (5) Re break-in see my post on about this: - - 8266&perpage=25&pagenumber=2
  • sirtigersirtiger Posts: 38
    Brake dust: where can I get a "Mcguire's spray-on cleaner"?? The cleaning of my sport rims on the 530i is getting quite cumbersome... price to pay for nice rims? hmmm...

    V1: I am not sure if it is great to put the V1 in the brake light housing. It looks cool and all but the radar should be mounted higher... as in upper windshield. That was according to the V1 manual. I velcro the V1 unit on the right side of the rear view mirror. I put the concealer on a velcro as well on the very left side of the corner dashboard (near the registration/emission stickered on the windshield). I hard wired the whole thing to the electrical as I can't stand wires all over the place. The velcro is cool as I just pop it out & in as I please. I almost forgot to unplug the V1 a few times! The whole thing installation took me 2-3 hours. I looked at for the wiring information.
  • CrevelsCrevels Posts: 37
    I have begun researching rims for dedicated snow tires for my 330Ci (there are some good auctions on Ebay). I've been thinking about the 3 setups below. Any feedback on which you think might be best.

    1) Another set of 68M rims in the 225 width for front and 245 width for rear (can I even get a snow tire in 245 width?)

    2) Another set of 68m rims with the 225 width for both front and rear.

    3) A set of 16" rims all the way around.

    I really like the look of the 17" wheels on the car and I'm concerned that 16" might look "small". I'm leaning towards option 2. Any suggestions? We don't get much snow in southeast PA, but I want to be able to drive most of the year and not be concerned. I've got a Highlander for those bigger snowstorms.
  • joes230joes230 Posts: 94
    Note I misspelled it -- it's spelled "Meguires". Their web site is

    The product I used was "Gold Class Instant Wheel Cleaner".

    Most autoparts and accessory stores have various wheel cleaners. I'd never used any before my 330i SP. It was quite laborious to get the wheels clean, so I decided to try one. I picked Meguiars because I liked their other products. There are other good brands as well. I was amazed at how well it worked. Spray on, wait 60 sec, hose off with a spray gun. Probably a garden hose sprayer would also work.

    Re V1 mounting, while higher is generally better, those using the brake light mount say it works very well for radar. It probably greatly reduces or almost eliminates the Lidar detection, but some feel that's of limited value anyway. If you live in Virginia or DC, you probably want this kind of concealment.

    However I got a Laser warning on my 8500 about 3/4 mile away, evidently through the windshield of a car 200 yards in front of me. He and I were the only cars on the road. At that point he was physically between me and the cop. About 1/2 mile later at a range of 1/4 mile from the cop, the detector went off again as he targeted me. Maybe that was lucky, but it shows it's possible to get useful laser warnings, at least under some conditions.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Crevels - I also have a 330Ci. I picked up a set of OEM 44's (seven spoke star rims from 325 SP) for my winter setup. I got them on ebay for $510, in mint condition. I have Dunlop winter sports, 225's, all the way around. We got more snow this year than usual (also SE PA) and there were times I wish I would've gone down to 205's with a narrower wheel but still 17". However, the handling was quite impressive when the roads were dry.

    mg330ci - I've been riding a MC since I was 16 yrs old (39 now). I currently have a Honda VFR and love it. There are definite risks involved, but the joys of riding outweigh them, IMHO. I would recommend signing up for the MSF course. You take the course on their bikes and it's a great way to decide if you even enjoy it before dropping the $$ on a bike of your own. Plus the skills learned are priceless. My personal recommendation would be to start in the 600cc class for a first bike. The only real downside is even a little 1/2 liter bike will make your car feel slow.

    oil change - I finally had a chance to use my oil extractor. Thanks again to Div and Chris! I got the model offered by griot's garage since it was the only one I could find with a large enough capacity. What an awesome way to change oil. Anyone need their oil changed? Come on... please? I'll pay you... hahaha!
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I am thinking of selling my OEM Star 44's (seven spoke star rims from 325 SP) - anyone interested, please drop me an e-mail.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    My recommendation for your wheel problem... use the non-sport wheels for your winter package and drop brave1heart an email about his 44's for the rest of the year. The 44's are nice looking and VERY easy to clean.
  • imadroneimadrone Posts: 33
    There have been several recent posts regarding BMW's possible cessation of production of the 3 Series Sport wagon for 2004. I am pleased to report (per Brent Waler, Internet sales manager at Medford BMW), that BMW has finally confirmed that the 325iT will indeed be available for 2004. Start of production is in September, with deliveries beginning in October.
       Planning mid-October ED with 3 1/2 weeks for scenic break in. Steel blue/gray, SP, HK, 5-sp manual unless 6-sp is an available option. Any additional suggestions are appreciated.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I saw some mention of an M3 based Sportwagon for 04-05? I don't see why they don't put the bigger motor in the current wagon.
  • poper3poper3 Posts: 8
    Does anybody know if you can go back to BMW and have that added to your car??

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I've looked around the net but can't find any mention of 04 changes to the 325i. I know it's goofy but I really dig those new adaptive lights on the 04 Ci's. So, what's the word on the 04 325i's?
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    It depends on how old the vehicle is. There are retro fit kits available for the E46 3 series, E39 5 series, E38 7 series as well as the Z3 and I believe X5. Call your dealer to find out if one is available for your car.
  • mitchs3mitchs3 Posts: 64
    To my surprise I ran out of gas last weekend. My guage was about halfway between 1/4 and 0 and my computer still told me I had 43 miles left till empty. I had noticed the car hesitating earlier the day before and about 8 miles before it sputtered out. I believe I had previously ran it lower than that . Could the guage have stuck? Also do the computer and analog guage run off the same input? The only way I could test it would be a re challenge, something my wife would shoot me for. Anyone else experience this? Fortunately a co-worker of mine saw me walking and picked me up in his MB AMG 55 and I put 1 gal in and later she took 18 gal more. ( 20 gallon tank in 02 330).
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,940
    "and later she took 18 gal more. ( 20 gallon tank in 02 330). " - mitchs3

    Ummm - every published source I can find shows fuel capacity as 16.6 gal. for all 330s.

    What am I missing?

    - Ray
    Thankful for a 21 gal. tank and a reasonably accurate 'Miles To Empty' computer display . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yesterday a moron in a Tuner-Roni Eclipse(purple, yellow "graphics", tea table wing, and flatulent exhaust tried to keep up with the Club Sport on a decreasing radius exit ramp. Ecilpdude's understeering sled ran way wide and he had to hammer the brakes, narrowly missing the outer guardrail. Drat. Maybe next time.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I guess it is possible, anything is possible, for a gas guage to be off. But I avoid no gas situations by filling the car up when the gauge hits 1/4 tank. The one thing is not possible is for an '02 330i to take 20 gallons though.
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