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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    blueguydotcom... You know you want it. If you don't get it, it'll drive you insane! Sometimes ya just gotta go for it. (Assuming you can afford it. Never buy something beyond your means.)

    Don't forget that the current E46 came out in CY1998 as a MY1999. Most of the bugs have been worked out. Build quality is good. Who knows about 1st-year reliability or long-term build quality for the G35. We won't know that for some time. Why be their guinea pig?

    Don't think you'd have to worry much about depreciation. No more than anything else. Might be less if you get it with manual and Sport Pkg. Number of miles you drive annually might be an issue. Just keep her in great shape.

    As for interior space, how much do you need? It will seat 4 adults. And who really worrys about the rear passengers anyway? Even they know they are expendable. My wife, I, and our two kids fit fine in her 323i sedan. The kids would love the coupe. 3 Series is no problem on long trips. Roomy trunk with no space-intruding hinges.
  • curmidgeoncurmidgeon Posts: 3
    Do those of you with sport seats have trouble with undue wear on the side bolsters? I like the seats (WOW are they comfy!), but see this as a possible troublespot (I plan on keeping the car 10+ years)(BTW- 2004 330i manual via ED). Thanks!
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    riez: You bought a CPO...have you used the CPO warranty yet? How useful is it?

    I can afford the car and actually all my friends and family have been telling me for years to just suck it up and buy it as I'm such a car nut. strange when even your family tells you not be sensible.

    cur: How much did you pay for your 330i? What options. i'm still on the fence over the performance package.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I would love a manual but my drive to work can be pure *HECK* at times. So I got the step. That said, blueguy is right on with his assessment - only I have the 17 inch wheels. Unless you want to wring the absolute last ounce of performance from this car the step is plenty peppy. The 3.0L has a balanced blend of performance and great gas mileage at the same time. I get between 24 and 26, and, no I don't take advantage of the tailwind when I go down a hill. :) As BGDC said there is a bit of difference between the 3L and 2.5L. Good luck with your tough decision.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Good luck with your decision, even if you don't get the Bimmer, you now are an informed car shopper. :)

    BTW - negative stigma, ubiquitous? A car that has sublime handling, fits like a glove, has a sexy shape, a liquid smooth engine, and pulls at 100 like nobody's business.

    1) Based on your opinions of that vehicle one could see why many people might want to buy it, ergo leading to the condition of ubiquity, 2) you are not buying a propellor, to convince yourself of that re-read your previous post and see why you and other people might be interested in that car. :)

    As far as your perceived feeling of unreliability goes, that is something you have to factor into your decision - stating the obvious here.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    blueguydotcom... Both my '98 540i6 and my wife's '00 323ia are CPO. Both bought about 12/01. I think CPO is the best way to get an affordable BMW. And a truly great deal if you can find a one or two-year old car with low miles. Let the first person eat a big part of the depreciation hit.

    Her's 18K at time of purchase. So her's is still under 4/50 b-to-b warranty and she hasn't had to use CPO. But she now has 46.5K and will be into the CPO part of the warranty sometime later this year. She has gotten battery, wiper inserts, brake fluid change, and front brake pads/rotors under her 3/36 free full maintenance. And she put on new tires at about 38K. She's only had the Schedule 1 at about 30K. Due in a couple thousand more for 2nd oil service.

    Mine had 52K at time of purchase. She now has 75K. I've used the CPO warranty for some odds and ends. Broken inside driver door handle. Rear cupholder. Idle control valve. Front passenger side airbag wiring harness. And the trip computer display. Probably sounds worse than it is. But if I hadn't had the CPO, I probably would've spent $1K. (For maintenance items, I put on a new set of tires at 73K. And she also had her front headlights replaced at about 58K and one rear bulb at 73K. Mine had an oil service around 62K. She'll be due for a Schedule 1 or 2 soon. Down to one green light. I'll be changing the brake fluid and coolant this year.)
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    An E46 M3 owner that I talked to at the autoX said he bought his car CPO with ~ 18K miles on it. A couple of months later the clutch had to be replaced and BMW NA refused to pay for it claiming that it was wear and tear. The guy paid over two grand for the parts and labor out of his pocket. Those looking into CPO cars should read the fine print very carefully.
  • imanrdimanrd Posts: 11
    Anybody 3 series moonroof owners care to offer up their experience with headroom in the 3 series coupe ? I am 6' and am worried that there won't be enough. Or that I will have to put the seat on the floor and have the steering wheel partially block the speedometer.

  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    My 2000 323i, 5 speed, sport package had to go into the shop for a week because the ignition key locked in the on position (too many problems with this car, but that is another story).

    I got a loaner (on short notice, and much appreciated before the holiday weekend)- 2003 330Xi, Step, premium package. I've been driving the loaner for several days. Here are my observations on the differences:

    1. Engine - there is a significant difference in engine power even though the 330 has an automatic. The 330 is much more powerful at lower rpm's, and more powerful at higher rpm's, although not as significant at the high end. The 330 is much louder on acceleration, but it all comes from the exhaust until over 4,500 rpm's, then you begin to hear the engine. My 323 is much quieter and all I hear is the engine (a wonderful sound I must say). The louder exhasut makes the 330 "seem" faster as well - don't be totally fooled by a loud muffler.

    2. Transmission - the Step is a wonderful automatic transmission. My preference would still be a 5 or 6 speed stick in a BMW. The torque converter does zap power, but I can understand why folks find the auto satisfactory, especially in a 330.

    3. Drive System - no matter what anybody says the AWD does NOT feel the same as RWD in a 3 series. On hard cornering, the front end bit hard on acceleration out of the corner and the outside front wheel "dug in" and dipped down. It was a bit disconcerting to me, although not dangerous. I'm used to a little understeer coming out of a corner on hard acceleration. The car also felt much heavier. That heavier feel was a significant detriment in the corners, although it rode more solidly in a straight line than my 300 pound lighter 323. My car has a sport package, the loaner didn't, so I expected some cornering differences.

    4. Misc. - the HK stereo in the 2003 was much better sounding than my HK stereo. The 2003 had black leather, mine has tan leather. The black looks classy, but shows more dirt and especially dust. The beautiful wood in a 3 series, seems to disappear with the black leather, compared to tan. The drive-by-wire accelerator in the 330 was so touchy that I cound NOT get a smooth start from a dead stop. And there were delays in accelaration from the time I said GO until the car went. The delays were compounded by both the accelerator and the transmission. I hated that!

    Fianlly, the sticker on my loaner was about $10,000 more than the new sticker on my 2000 323i. I don't think I could justify that difference. If I were getting a new BMW today, I would get the 330 (RWD) with the sport package and the 6 speed - no other options.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I'm 6'2" and I don't fit in the coupe with a sunroof. I can fit in the sedan (altough it's tight) since it allows about an inch more headroom. I prefer BMW's w/o sunroofs, but I had to order one. Try them out in a dealers lot if you can find any w/o sunroofs. It also depends on your torso length versus your leg length.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Sometime during the first couple of weeks I had my car, I tore the bolster piping on my sports seat with my jeans pocket. Since then, I've gotten in the habit of sliding the seat back before exiting the car. By doing so, I have no wear or anymore tears. This is especially easy if you have power seats since you can just use the memory button to put it back in position when you get back in.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    If I were getting a new BMW today, I would get the 330 (RWD) with the sport package and the 6 speed - no other options.

    Um, you must get the performance package ($3900) to secure a 6 speed on the 330i. :)
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I had a fear of how my friends and family would react to me getting the car, too. My previous 3 cars were two Accords and an Altima. Anyway, I'm happy to say that none of my fears were founded. Most people were more excited about the car than I was. As for what other's think (people who don't know me), I don't really give a rat's patootie. Don't let the "negative stigma" be a reason for not getting the car!
  • joes230joes230 Posts: 94
    The non-performance-package 330is now come with a 6-speed manual transmission. It's on the web site, also see this discussion on Bimmerfest: - 5417&highlight=speed

    Re snob factor of a BMW, many of the luxury pickup trucks "good old boys" drive cost more than a 325i, and some more than a 330i. A GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Extended Cab Denali pickup truck has a MSRP of $45,070. Heck, that's more than a **530i** Of course the GMC can haul lots of fertilizer and go off road, so maybe it's worth the higher price :)
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Gosh you'd think that in all I've read about this car and the fact that I've been trying to test drive the manual that I would have come across the 6 speed as now standard on the 330i. man I feel like a dork now. :(

    That's great news though as that 6 speed and the new front were calling to me on the performance package. guess that's not needed now. :)
  • white6white6 Posts: 588
    bmw323is nailed a small chink to CPO cars... equipment levels. If you are gonna buy a highly optioned car (like most) then a CPO could be a great deal. However, folks that prefer a lightly optioned car (like me and bmw323is) don't get nearly as good a bargain. A 04 330Ci, sport, 6-speed (and nothing else) stickers at about $37,500 and can probably be purchased for around $36,000. By comparison, I found that 2-3 year-old 330Ci were generally in the $34 to $36,000 range. Sure, you get all that extra stuff, but if you don't want it, I think you're better off getting a brand-new car that someone else hasn't gotten the opportunity to screw up yet.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I'm in the same boat sorta too. I want the sports package, xenons, moonroof and park distance control would be nice. I don't really desire the premium package's other lights, washers, mirrors, etc.

    A local dealer has an Orient Blue 2001 330i CPO with premium and manual for 31k and 18k miles on it. Figure you should be able to knock another 1-2k off that price. Nice enough car. Edmunds claims that's a good 2k under TMV for a CPO. As does KBB.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    brave1heart... You wrote, "An E46 M3 owner that I talked to at the autoX said he bought his car CPO with ~ 18K miles on it. A couple of months later the clutch had to be replaced and BMW NA refused to pay for it claiming that it was wear and tear."

    What is the issue? At 18,000 miles this person's car likely was under both full factory maintenance and bumper-to-bumper warranty. The CPO portion doesn't kick in until AFTER 4/50 original b-to-b has expired.

    I don't blame BMW for being cautious and suspicious when it comes to cars like M3 and M5. Many are abused. Some people just don't know how to drive a manual properly. They show off.

    I'm also assuming this M3 was not SMG. If it was SMG, the engine & transmission electronics should prevent things like over-revving.

    Did your friend seek an independent evaluation? File something with state AG or seek arbitration?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    white6... Have you checked out BMW NA's CPO locator? If you are patient and willing to go some distance, you'd be surprised what you might get that meets your option desires. I went 600 miles one way to get the CPO 540i6 I wanted (e.g., I wanted rear airbags and split-fold rear seat). Plus you should check out the ads in Roundel (BMW CCA), Bimmer, etc. CPO cars listed there as well.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Something else to consider - - - 2f97a9f392ac14374&threadid=30050

    The 330i has an awesome engine. It is significantly more “ballsy” than the 325’s and transforms the overall nature of the car. I really liked the extra balls of the engine. However, I must add that the 325 engine revs faster and is slightly smoother."
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    It was a manual and no, he did not seek independent evaluation.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    brave1heart... Was it still under full factory 4/50 bumper-to-bumper warranty? And still under full maintenance?
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    A local BMW dealer is offering 3k off all their 3 series cars. They had a really sweet 330i with the Performance Package (and everything else) for 39k (msrp of over 42k). If I wanted the perf and leather it'd be a sweet deal. unfortunately, they didn't have any normal 330i manuals on the lot and they wouldn't offer me the same deal if they traded for a car from another dealer. bummer.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I don't have all the details but the car had only 18K miles on it when he bought it and he had to replace the clutch just a few months later... He has 29K miles on it now so I am guessing that it is still under full factory 4/50 bumper-to-bumper warranty and and still under full maintenance?.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    brave1heart... Then CPO warranty wasn't an issue. This is a regular warranty issue.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    After reading your post, I can definitely tell that you're leaning towards the 330i w/ manual tranny.

    The cons of the BMW you mentioned just don't add up to nearly what the pros of this car are.

    Like many have said, who cares what everybody else thinks. You're buying a BMW (maybe) because like you said you're a car guy. When you're ripping up that #5 Freeway at triple digit speeds on Sunday mornings, you definitely won't care what others think.

    BMWs are ubiquitous in San Diego. I'll give you that one. According to Automobile or Autoweek (I think), the BMW 3 series is the 9th best selling car in the entire state of California. The G35 is the flavor of the month. As many of them as I see here in NYC, they're still awesome and I still can't wait to get my hands on one. By the time I'm ready, the new 3 series will be out a year or 2 with all the bugs worked out:)

    While poking around a local dealer's lot, I saw 2 '04 3 coupes that were Black w/ the Natural Brown Interior. The color contrast was nice. It is definitely not a color combo you see every day.

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

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    What do you guys know about multiple security deposits? A dealer in LA called me last night and started babbling about them. Sounded too good to be true but on people seem to think highly of them too.


    Also, anyone know the current BMW lease rate for a 330i?
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    Leaving multiple security deposits on a BMWFS lease lowers the interest rate (money factor) you're paying and will ultimately lower your lease payment. I believe you can leave up to 9 security deposits. I'm pretty sure at the end of the lease you get your money back.

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

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Yeah, I've read through quite a bit on since last night. Seems that the current MF on a 330i lease is 0.0012 but with 10 MSDs on the car (maximum outside NY) you get the rate down to 0.0002 - or an apr of 0.48%. That's crazy low! and yes, you get your MSDs back at the end or if the car is destroyed or something.

    I've done up the math for a 43k msrp (40 sale price) 2003 330i with ZHP, Xenon, Leather and moonroof. blueguydotcom "leasing a 330i using multiple security deposits" May 26, 2003 9:48ammake=BMW&model=3%20Series&ed_makeindex=.ef16218

    Seems almost too good to be true. 16k to drive a 330i ZHP for 3 years? Gonna swing by the dealer at 10 this morning to try out that silver gray 03 ZHP. :)
  • white6white6 Posts: 588
    "While poking around a local dealer's lot, I saw 2 '04 3 coupes that were Black w/ the Natural Brown Interior. The color contrast was nice. It is definitely not a color combo you see every day."
    I changed my order from black/black to the new Med Silver with Nat Brown. Love the nat brown interior and I think I'll have a really "special" car! I must admit some thoughts to the black/nat brown combo, though. In the end, I already have a black Olds Intrigue (wife's car) and black Dodge Dakota (utility vehicle), so another black car just didn't seem right. BTW, Owners Circle shows it "scheduled for production" on June 6.
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