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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • msinghvmsinghv Posts: 17
    Thanks for the responses.

    By the way, what kind of damage can you expect if a car is driven past 4500 RPMs during the break-in period? Are there symptoms you can look for when test-driving a loaner or any other used car?
  • magbarnmagbarn Posts: 35
    Hey willing to swap your ZHP's muffler for my 330i's 1 month old muffler? ;)

    I got a 325i loaner from Crevier BMW that had only 9 miles on it!
    I babied that brand new puppy like it was my own. I was only able to place 200 miles on it. I just hope the next borrower treats her the same way until she gets to 1200 miles!
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    I personally would stay away from loaner cars because people probably tend to push the limits of these cars just because they want to see what their cars are capable of.

    However, these cars are made to be driven hard, and with the low mileage it may have escaped any damage if abused. Also, you will probably get a CPO warranty (or you should) that will extend the life if something were to go wrong. There are probably other cheaper private party buys out there and I am willing to bet that in this market good deals are ready to be had.
  • msinghvmsinghv Posts: 17
    You're right about the extended warranty. Most of the loaners I've seen are certified vehicles that extend the warranty out 2 extra years or 50K extra miles. That's a good thing.

    I've been seeing a lot of 2003 loaners come on the market right now (guess the dealerships are begining to unload). On average, I am seeing 2003 325xi's with premium, leather and about 8K miles for about $34K (advertised). If I can get that car for about $30, it would be a reasonable deal. Otherwise I can get a brand new 2004 thru Euro delivery for $34. Don't know if the dealers are willing to go that low, but I guess I'll have to give it a try.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,177
    I don't know if this has changed, but the loaners aren't necessarily going to be certified. If they have put the cars in BMW's official loaner program, then they have an extra 3 months and 5000 miles extended full limited factory warranty. (full-limited...gotta like that). This gives the cars 51 month/55000 mile warranty from in-service date. This doesn't preclude them from offering the cars as certified, however, with the extra warranty.



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  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Thinking that anyone who buys a new BMW off the dealer's lot might wonder who all test drove it before they bought it and how hard was it driven. I've test driven half a dozen or more brand new BMWs off local BMW dealer lots. Not once did the salesperson ride with me.

    Never forgot the time my wife and I took a '96 318ti out. Was an automatic as that is all she can drive. She gave it some "gas" a couple times to see how well it accelerated under load (e.g., with a/c) and with passengers. During out test drive, something happened and it went into a limp home-type mode with various warning lights on. Handed keys back to salesman and informed him of issue. Of course, we didn't buy it.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,177
    I personally have used up several thousand miles of rubber on BMW test drives. Probably only about 100 miles total distance, though.



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  • scipio1scipio1 Posts: 142
    I suppose the proof is in the pudding in that I've seen scary-abused rental cars, but can someone more versed than I am in mechanical wear tell me how badly an automatic transmissionc ar can really be abused?

    Judging from rentals, I agree the interior can take a tremendous beating. Also, for small-engined compacts, I think the engines probably see better homes with private individuals. But for a well-built, resilient engine that can be maintained by a dealership, should the wear and tear really be horrible?

    Beyond normal "replacement" items like tires, brake pads, etc., what sort of failures could you expect to see in a loaner?

    I can see how it would be very risky in a manual transmission, with high rpm launches, clutch drops and missed shifts all taking their toll on the engine, transmission and drivetrain. But if BMW engines really are meant to be driven hard, what damage can be inflicted on a loaner.

    Once again, I suspect the answer is "a lot", but I'd enjoy hearing the clarification as to what constitutes abuse in an automatic.
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    $34K is too high. You can get a well spec'd new 3er for that price. I am sure that dalers are willing to work on pricing for loaners so keep trying. You could probably get atleast $1-2K below market value for this vehicle. And yeah, dont forget to get the CPO warranty just in case.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    I suppose one could rev the engine to 4,000 rpm in neutral and drop it into drive with the automatic. Or maybe try a few brake launches (left foot on brake and right on accelarator). Although this stuff is really abuse and I would hope BMW owners wouldn't do this to a loaner. I would be more worried about excess rpm during break-in. Maybe exceeding 4,500 rpm doesn't really hurt the engine, maybe it does - I just don't want a car in which that may have occurred. To me this isn't worth saving one or two thousand dollars especially over 6-8 years.

    On the same subject, I wonder who ends up buying the cars that the magazines are given for testing.
  • scipio1scipio1 Posts: 142
    Yeah, that's a good one. I love watching Tiff Needel on BBC Top Gear (now ITV Fifth Gear I guess), but I have to cringe at the thought of picking up one of those cars CPO.

    I'll give you $6,234.57 for Tiff's brand new, used only once Laguna Seca M3...

  • ptrekkerptrekker Posts: 51
    I have bought non-BMW rentals and loaners in the past and have saved quite a bit. They have generally held up very well, but I got rid of them before 60k. But then again, if you are stepping up to buy the ultimate driving machine, why skimp?

    Right now I am driving a loaner 525 while my 325 is getting the EGS software updated. The car has 3k (around the same as my 325) but seems a bit more worn than my car. I can't explain why, it just seems not to be as brand spankin' new.

    Otherwise nice car but I definitely like the handling of the 3 series better. Much tighter steering on the 3 series, better road feel, and obviously since the 3 series is lighter, it has much better pickup. Also, the front driver's seat on the 5 doesn't go as far back.

    I also think that the stock BMW radio (Alpine?) on my 3 series sounds better than the premium radio on the 5.

    But I do wish I would have got the Xenon lights.
  • Thanks for the info on the run flat tires and DVD Navigation system. Now I just have to finalize my options for my 330xi before it gets produced in October.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    Well, at least most of you seem to get comparable cars as loaners when your BMWs are in for service. I give them my Prelude Type SH and they provide me with a DX Accord ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


    I do drive it normally, but couldn't beat on this thing if I tried.

    As long as a BMW loaner is a CPO vehicle, I don't think I'd have a problem buying it. Many times you'll get the current (or one year previous) model with some miles and get to use basically the entire B to B + CPO warranty if something does ever go wrong.

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

  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I am pretty sure that BMW runs the engines in at the factory on an engine stand; this is what Lexus does. They aren't going to trust you or me to do it right. It also insures they find a bad motor before it is even installed in a car. The breakin period is more for the transmission and differential which can suffer in the long term if they are abused at a young age.

    From what I have seen the only person concerned about the breakin period is the buyer. Everybody else who drives the car between the time it leaves the factory and the time you take delivery really doesn't care?
  • So what is left in the Premimum Package in 2004? Dimming Rear View Mirror and Lumbar support? Sounds like the rain sensor, automatic headlights, and moon roof are standard. Leather can always be gotten seperately.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I believe rentals and executive cars and loaners are driven very hard. I'm not talking about simply accelerating fast and taking tight corners. We should all be doing that with our bimmers.

    When i think of loaner/exec cars, I think of vehicles that are not piloted so that the vehicle avoids road hazards like potholes. I'm thinking that a dip in the road is more of an excuse to jump on the gas and catch air, rather than slow and take it easy. The attitude I've found consistently when traveling with co-workers is easy to list: doesn't matter, it's a rental. Same definitely applies to exec/loaner cars because the drivers are not the least bit responsible for the cars' repairs.

    Yeah you get a cpo with a former loaner/exec but I have a sense those cars will use the warranty more often than a vehicle that was owned by someone.

    My 2 cents...
  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    Well, nearly 4 mos later after owning our 1st NEW 3er (drove an '81 320i in 1990-1993), I'm still enamored by the car and its performance. However, a new German joined the garage last night relatively suddenly. After going out to a certain dealership, I was made an offer on A NEW Boxster S that I couldn't refuse. I do feel guilty for spending all that $$ but everytime I sit in it, my guilt magically dissipates! I wanted to thank you Lee for the encouragement. While I was sitting in the F&I's office, I kept thinking of your late father-in-law and the notion of enjoying & maximizing your life every second while you're here on earth - especially after seeing all the traumas that we see on a daily basis.
    I was considering a 330 ZHP but didn't really want 2 similar cars in el garage. So, if anybody feels the need to give me positive reinforcement so that we can make this guilt go away, I'm all ears.

    take care
  • asleepyasleepy Posts: 70
    I have a '03 325i MT 4-door (no SP, no PP) with 2200 miles. At 1400, a loud noise and harsh vibration came from the front left wheel which caused the DSC and yellow brake light to come on. The dealer diagnosed the problem to a faulty/detached speed sensor. Ever since this incident (at least it seems like it since this incident), the car seem to react to every imperfection (however minor) on the road. It has gotten to a point where if I am not paying constant attention while on the freeway, the car will sway left or right depending on the bumps and inclinations of the lane. This is my first BMW and I know it has great handling. But the ride seems awfully bumpy. Is what I am experiencing a normal characteristics of the suspension? I had heard that the Sport Package made the ride more harsh than non-SP but my car without the SP rides as harsh as my friend's 2000 Boxster. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, sounds like and alignment and/or a tire pressure problem. When I picked up my new 328i (no SP either) from the dealership back in 1999, it was delivered with too much pressure in the tires, and the car was so squirrelly that I was barely able to keep it on the road if said road was anything less than perfect.

    Best Regards,
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I don't even own a 3 series but I have ridden in an driven many. I know this isn't normal.

    Check wheel lug nut/bolt torque
    Check tire pressures
    Check tire roundness/damage and balance
    Check alignment (<-- this could be your problem)

    Over the years, and many different brands of cars, I have had all of the above problems at some point. I even had the lugs under torqued on all 4 wheels during a visit to a dealer.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    blueguydotcom... Think it might be difficult to generalize on this subject much any more. Does anyone truly take car of their car any more? I wonder.

    The rise of 3/36 and 4/50 b-to-b warranties plus free maintenance agreements, the increase in leasing, and the fact most buyers don't hold on to their cars too long, seems like more and more drivers do the minimum until they get rid of their current car. Heck, think latest stats show average buyer only keeps car around 36 months. About the same amount of time as the average lease. Some leasees I know don't seem to pamper their cars. What do they care, they just dump it back at lease end. Many move onto completely new marques. I know a ton of buyers that treat their cars like dirt. What do they care, the bank finances it. They'll just clean it up and trade it in after 2 or 3 years. And what do a ton of dealers care? They wholesale out a ton of trade ins. And they buy a ton of their "used" cars at auctions. They know few 2nd or 3rd buyers will ever try to check the history of the car or talk to the original owner or go over service records.

    Not sure service loaners, "demos", "executive cars", etc. really are treated that much different than the average car by the average Joe or Jane. God help you if you buy their former leased car or trade in after 3 years. That gave them plenty of time to abuse and misuse it. At least with the rental, demo, or executive car they normally only have a year's worth of in service time.

    Went to my local BMW CCA chapter's annual summer picnic. Talk about some well cared for cars. If only I had the surplus cash, I'd have bought the '84 Euro-spec 733i 5-speed manual that was for sale. Current owner has had her since '88. Bought her from original owner. Only had a bit over 100,000 miles. Love the cloth seats! He showed us the 1st aide kit. He opened it for the 1st time. Lovely tool kit.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    jmess... Great post. People forget there are a ton of factors that can influence steering and ride. People should periodically get a full 4-wheel alignment. And pay more close attention to tire pressure year round. And how many people check the lug torque? Or the torque on any bolts? One thing I might add is to periodically check suspension parts, including rods, bushings, shocks, etc.

    And we should all check at least tire pressure and various fluid levels upon delivery. Only way to ensure you start off with right amount of oil and that the tires are properly inflated. Trust but verify!
  • beemer4mebeemer4me Posts: 42
    In my experience, salespeople are the worst when it comes to treating new cars during their break in period. They spin the wheels just moving the cars from the back of the lot to the front to where you can test drive them. About ten years ago when I was test driving an Integra GSR the saleperson told me I should think about a different car because "I drove like a Grandma." Needless to say, I headed right back to the dealership and walked off the lot. He rev'ed up the engine loud enough to hear a block away and smoked the tires driving the car back to the display area.I mean geez, that was somebody's new car he was thrashing. When I test drive I treat the car like it was going to be my own. No need to do a power run imo, you can read all about that in the car magazines.I noticed not much had changed when I shopped for a Beemer.(Except the salespeople were more polite). They still try to get me to floor it and "feel the power" but I just tell them I prefer not to...
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    I agree, one of my constant fears on new cars is what abuse has the car seen at the hands of demos...

    My first self owned was a mitsubishi mirage which came with 70 miles on it.. all demo drives.. atleast 25 of them i'd guess... The engine died at just 8K miles... and thankfully they put a brand new engine in.

    After that experience, I always make a point to order a car or if that's not possible, try to get a car with as little hammering as possible. The latest, wife's 2004 325 cic, we picked it up the afternoon it landed at the dealership and I repeated to the salesman a 100000000 times that I did not want the car to be prepped before I reached the dealiership. I actually looked at the car with all its shrink wrapping on it, turned on, checked the mileage, it was delivered with 9.8 miles on it... had it prepped while i finished paperwork and coffee, made sure the guys added just under a mile on it...

    But a few bad revs dont kill an engine... I think, if you want a car as a lover, like most people here (even if its just for 36 months), you have to make sure it gets its necessary TLC.... afterall they say, marriages fail cuz couples stop....

    oops.... what was I saying?

    my 3 cents
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    No need to do a power run imo, you can read all about that in the car magazines.I noticed not much had changed when I shopped for a Beemer.(Except the salespeople were more polite). They still try to get me to floor it and "feel the power" but I just tell them I prefer not to...

    Sorry, I strongly disagree. There's a very real need to drive the car as you would on a daily basis. When I bought my last car I didn't drive my Jetta turbo as I would normally. I stayed under 80, I hit on-ramps and off-ramps at sedate speeds, etc. After a few weeks owning the car I hated it because I had been foolish with my test drive. At 90 mph the engine screamed and the tach rested at 4k rpm. The handling isn't even close to as great as the car mags claim. In fact car mags idea of power and handling make me laugh. I find the 325 to be a pretty fun car in corners but it so lacks in immediate power that I found myself bored with the car 3 minutes into a test drive.

    Drive a test drive car exactly as you would if it were your own. If that scares the salesguy tell him ahead of time. I had a few salesguys not quite get it when I explained prior to leaving that I am a very agressive driver, so if they're weak-kneed stay on the lot. Some didn't listen and then I was stuck with a nervous nelly shifting about in the passenger's seat. If I',m gonna drop 30-40k on a car, I want to feel everything it can do.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    brave1: Thanks for the tips on tires and pressure. I almost got some S03s for the M3 this past weekend, but see below.

    chile96: Have fun. Enjoy. Tell us more about the car. Talk about guilt--imagine how my wife tried to make me feel about getting new tires on an 8 month old car!

    tires: Just replaced the stock rear conti's on my 2003 M3 this weekend. Was trying to replace all 4, but the fronts are on nationwide backorder and have been for the past month. My rear tires were showing the steel and nylon on the inner 1/3 of the tire so I had to split the order and go ahead and get them replaced.

    For the M3 it came down to three premium possibilities from my research on Tire rack. The Bridgestone Potenza S03s, Michelin Pilots, and the new Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3. I went with the Goodyear because on Tirerack, the initial surveys ranked it equal in performance, but better in noise and tire wear than the other 2. The S03s are great tires, but they apparently tramline pretty severely. I figured I should go with the Goodyears for that reason since I on occasion have to use the cell phone in the car and drive with only one hand on the wheel (I normally am a firm believer on 2 hands on the wheel).

    I bought the plus size for the rear and am waiting for the fronts. I had BMW North mount and balance the rears (275/35ZR18) on Friday -- (only $30 total). While they were at it I had 4 wheel alignment done ($90 total) and had a fog light replaced. I thought the prices were commensurate with the non dealer market rates -- I was very pleased.

    My car is a totally different car now. It is almost impossible to spin out with the extra grip--the car just accelerates like a rocket. I think that I was able to go 0-60 in under 5 seconds for the first time in my life with the new wider rubber. I can hardly wait to stick some 245/40ZR18s on the front.

    Any comments? Is it good to get wider tires than the OEMs? The fit is great on mine and I think it may provide another couple of millimeters of protection for the rims.

    I will keep you posted on the Goodyears. So far they corner and accelerate far better than the stock contis--of course they cost more too.

    FWIW: Tirerack prices are unbeatable on these tires -- the closest any place in town could come was about $200 more - and I would have to continue to wait as well.
  • beemer4mebeemer4me Posts: 42
    "There's a very real need to drive the car as you would on a daily 90 mph the engine screamed and the tach "
         Nothing personal Blueguycom, but guys like you scare guys like me who have little babies and wives who tend to panic when they see somone coming up behind them at 90 miles an hour.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    You ever get a ticket on a test drive? Your insurance must be out the roof. And I thought I was an aggressive driver.
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