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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • E46 xenons are self-leveling, which is really nice. Not sure if any aftermarket xenons have this feature.
  • Hello everyone, I just ordered a 325ci today and am curious how long delivery time takes once the car is built. I was told that production of my car will be in January and that I should expect the car in the Mar-April time frame. I am purchasing through a BMW military sales program if that makes a difference. Additionally, how likely is it that I will receive my car on or around the date I was told.

    Thanks in advance
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Mine only took 5 weeks to Boston back in April 2001. It may be two extra weeks if you are on the West Coast and two extra weeks if your car is shipped from South Africa.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    My car had a mid-January build and arrived at my dealership (S.E. PA) on Feb 28th. So that's pretty much in line with Brave's 5 weeks. Mine was also 2001.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Not sure where you are ordering from (outside of US), but if you are going through the military sales program, it does take a while. I ordered the car and picked it up in Germany, but it still took 4 months. Granted, we did have some problem, but the car was built and ready for shipment in 3 months. Again, depending on where you are ordering from, it may vary. Generally, cars purchased via BMW NA takes MUCH less time, as indicated above.
  • Thanks joes230 for your response. It seems that there are very few who did install the xenon for E46.
    Anyway, I'll appreciate any info on the aftermarket xenon.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Check out the latest issue of Car & Driver, 12/02. Read the "Baubles and Bolt-Ons" part of their long-term review of the Mercury Mountaineer, p. 143. They discuss their experiences with PIAA's Xtreme White Plus halogen bulbs. They bought a pair from the Tire Rack for $81. Took 'em 10 minutes to install. They state, "the PIAA bulbs projected a brighter, whiter light with a hint of blue-similar in color to HIDs, if not in brillance. For well under $100, the PIAA's gleaming improvement seems worth the price."
  • I found webstores selling that bulb but since I haven't read or heard any reviews regarding those lights, I didn't give further attention to it. It comes with (I think) 3 levels of lighting.
    Maybe I'll give it a try and I'll post the result.
    Thanks again riez for the info.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    I installed a set of these bulbs on a '97 Integra. They are whiter that the original halogens, but not blue like HIDs. They turned very good headlights into outstanding headlights. But, one has to consider the cost vs. benefits.
  • Did the three month process begin after the car started production or did this time period start when you ordered the car.

    Thanks for the help-Chris
  • It is looking like I will be without a car for a little over a month. Is anyone aware of a cheap long-term used rental company in the bay area? The cheaper the better. I am aware of rent a wreck rental service but the cars are really not that old and the rates are similar to regular rental companies.

    -carless one
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    I rented from Rent-a-Wreck after I sold my car & before I got my new baby. OMG, never again! The car was a Daihatsu Elan or Elos (?), 2002 model, the windshied wipers were already rusty and the seats made my back hurt after one day. And since the rates are much the same as others, why bother with them is my attitude. I returned it asap & ended up bumming rides from my co-workers and friends for a week. Best wishes for cheap wheels.
  • Hi all,

    1 week since we got 03 325i to replace 1999 323i; quite a different car. Really a nice car. The new one beats 3.2TL hands down. I did enjoyed reading the posts. Now I have a question; what can be programmed?? Mirror tilt?? I am told only on 5 and 7. Can you get the clown nose to flash even if you do not have alarm system?? Thanks. Jl
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You can get the clown nose progammed. See this link.

    In addition the mirror tilt is controlled by the position of the mirror control on the drivers door. At least on my 02' 330i. I don't remember if right or left controls the tilt, but if you put the car in reverse and change the position of the mirror control, you should see the passenger mirror tilt.

  • Hello everyone

    I must say first of all I enjoy reading the posts on this website. It's good to see so many people who are into cars as much as I am and willing to share so much valuable information. Most of the people that use this website should be the true car sales reps instead of the people we have to deal with at the dealerships.

    I know my post is not completely about 3 series BMW's, but I wanted to share this with everyone.

    Today, I had to take my sisters 2001 330 couple to a local Dallas(John Roberts BMW)dealership for repairs since she had to leave for a job related trip this morning. For some reason the airbag light will not turn off. This is the third time this has happened.

    I checked her car into the dealership this morning and explained the situation to the service rep. He was very understanding. They gave me a 2002 530 sport demo for a loaner car since they were experiencing a high amount of warranty work this week for some reason. As I was walking out of the service bay, I couldn't help but to notice so many 3 series BMW's in for repairs or service.

    I walked to the front of new car sales area in hopes of getting a look at the new 7 series. As I was looking around, a sales rep came to me. He explained to me that they didn't have one on the floor, but willing to show one to me on the lot. He gave me the key and told me to take it for a run. As I sat in the car, he explained to me how to use I Drive and how to start the car. I must say, it's harder than it looks in the articles and on the websites.

    The sales rep directed me to many sharp curves and flat areas for me to just floor it. It's amazing what 345hp can do.

    After arriving back to the dealership, I tried to speak numbers to him. Would you believe that they would not come off the sticker at all......keep in mind the new 7 has been out about a year now. He told me that the most they have came off of any BMW sold new is $500. That includes 3,5,7,Z,X5..etc... I couldn't believe it.

    I was shocked that a lux car dealership was so open about taking their flagship $ 80,000 car out for a hard test drive today, but when I've test driven common cars such as Hondas,Toyotas,etc....I have to show my Drivers L,Insurance, deed to my house, and rights to my first born child just to take their $25,000 cars down the street and back. Go figure.

    Back to the 3 series point. I feel that the 3 series is the best value for a BMW. After driving the 7, at $ 80,000, it didn't make me feel as I had to have it. At $ 80,000 I should feel as if I couldn't live without the car after driving it. The 3 series has a special way of making the driver feel as if he/she can't live without the car.

    I'm seriously in the market for another car right now. My price budget is 32K max.(I just bought a house and need to stay within a budget) I really would like to have a 3 series, but I'm feeling a little shy about buying one because of the high cost of keeping it up and the many problems so many people have run into. Used or CPO is the only way I can afford a 3 series. I've thought about the CPO program- 2000 model 328- in order to save a little money, but I'm concerned about the cost of keeping it up. My list of possible cars: 2002 Nissan Max SE, 2001 VW Passat GLX,2000 Lin LS V8, 1999-2000 Lexus GS,2001 Lexus ES, waiting another year for a Infi G35 to fit my budget, or 1999-2000 BMW 323 or 328. I know with the Lexus GS or ES, and VW I will have to do some upgrades to the springs/wheel/tire package to get the tighter sport feel that I like. But again, nothing can replace the feeling I get from driving the 3 series.

    Please give any suggestions on a solution.My
    Email Ad: if anyone would like to comment.
    Thank you

  • The G35 "Luxury Leather" automatic sedan MSRP is 30195 ( You could probably get it for $29195. Even with tax that's below your 32k ceiling. The G35 is a really great car. Not quite as refined as a 330i but it handles really well and has tons of power and lots of room.

    There's also the cloth seat G35 with 16" tires for $27645. Somewhat de-contented interior but has the same engine and suspension.

    -- Joe
    2003 330i SP 5-speed
  • You might be surprised at the cost of a new e46, if you did some research & negotiation.

    You could definitely get a 325 nicely equipped for under 32K through European Delivery. If you're not familiar with this process, check out the BMW ED board here on Edmunds.

    also, this is an excellent link:


    Take a 2003 325i, for example,

    base ED invoice = 23,530

    premium pkg = 2,455

    sport pkg = 1,275

    destination = 695

    TOTAL 27,955

    (automatic tranny costs additional $1,210)

    plus dealer profit max. of 1,500 (you can get lower if you try hard enough)


    = 29,455 (of course, you need to factor a r/t ticket to Munich (c. $500), tax and title.

    You can check out the wholesale ED prices on

    If you're worried about service costs, the 2003's come with 4 years/50k standard service included.

    The G35 has a bigger engine, but it's no BMW!

  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    Are you joking! With 32K or even less you can get a well equipped 325i. I paid 33.5K for mine and have many options on it including auto. Get a manual tranny and your are well below 32K, Leave out the heated seats and 6 CD and you can drive out the door for less that 32K (includes taxes, tags etc.). That will still leave you with the Premium package, Leather, Xenons, and metallic paint.

    I haven't paid a dime to maintain my car yet and dont plan to for the next 2 years because maintanence is included. These cars are very solid and dependable.

    Did I mention that this car is a blast!!!
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    I paid 32,1xx out the door for a 2002 325i, and that's with Auto (Step) & the metallic paint. The 2003s are supposed to come with an add'l (4th) year of service, that's a plus on the cost side too. You could consider Lexus IS300 also, but it might be too smallish for your tastes.
  • mr323mr323 Posts: 30
    Well, maybe I don't wish to be that emphatic, but I went through a similar reasoning process last spring. To be honest, I thought it over for about a year before placing an order. (I figured that the longer I drove my old car, the more financial and moral capital I amassed for the new car.) Anyway, with a demanding job and a daughter heading off to college, my tolerance for repair shop time and bills is pretty low. (OK, so I should buy a Toyota. Well, I already have a Sienna....) As I looked into prices I found that newer CPOs rival brand-new BMWs in price. And as a social scientist, I figured a newer BMW is available for resale for a reason: on average, such cars have a higher probability of problems than those retained by their original owners. So, I bought new (from Cutter Motors in Santa Barbara) and have been delighted for more than 5,000 miles.

    If I were to do it over, I would do it ED: at worst a wash price-wise and by all accounts an incomparable experience.

    Best wishes,

  • pal12pal12 Posts: 7
    A strange beeping noise came on today on my 325xi. It seemed to be coming from the radio area but no warning lights. It wasn't the cold temp warning either. The noise stopped after about 10 beeps but repeated again with the same pattern.

    Does anybody have any ideas. Thanks a lot in advance.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    Call Mike Pile BMW in Tyler. My wife bought her 2002 325Ci there. Best buying experience she has ever had. The Dallas and Houston dealers in general are arrogant and charge MSRP.
  • I'm sure it's been asked before but handling-wise, is there a difference between the 325i and 330i (both standard-no SP)?
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    pal12 - Is it possible that the temperature was 37F or lower? The OBC has a warning beep when the temps dip low enough to potentially cause freezing on the road.

    rtorreca - The 330's come standard with sport suspension. That combined with the standard lower profile 17" rubber would probably give the 330 the handling edge. If both cars wore the same rubber and had sport suspension, the 325i would probably have a slight advantage due to the 200lb less weight.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Dropping the '03 3 series from the recommended list? Given that the categories in '02 have those funny red circles with dots. What happened?
  • hgeyerhgeyer Posts: 188
    The last line of their write-up says it all.

    "Reliability has fallen to below average, so we no longer recommend the 3-Series."

    I hope this is a wake-up call to BMW. I can tolerate "reliability issues". What I can't stand is the arrogant dealership network that I must rely upon to get warranty work completed!
  • The passenger rear tilt mirror on the '03 3 series is adjustable. This is a brand new feature. Your dealer has to have the latest version (I think it is 31) of the software to do it, but it can be done. My car was the first that BMW Houston North had to adjust and they eventually got it worked out. The service guys all said "Yeah it is easy on the 5 and 7. We did not know it could be done on the 3 series."
  • So I picked up my 2003 M3 coupe, PP, xenons, HK steel gray metallic exactly 3 weeks ago. It had 4 miles on it when I drove it off the lot. Today it has 1800 miles on it...what can I say? It is awesome. I put my wife and kid to sleep and then go out and drive off into the night. I love it. It is like having your own personal therapist. Every moment in the car is worth every penny I am paying for it. It is hard to keep it under a 100mph.
  • BTW: I have an '95 E36 325i (4 door) with 96.5k miles, premium package (leather and sunroof), split rear seats, alarm, traction control, 6 CD changer, meticulous BMW maintenance, garage parked, regular washed and waxed for sale. Color is Artic Gray metallic.

    I am asking $10,500. Is this reasonable? I want it to sell pretty fast.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    <<< the 325i would probably have a slight advantage due to the 200lb less weight. >>>

    The actual difference is 50-100 lbs. Maybe you were thinking RWD vs. AWD? The non-SP 330i will definitely handle better than the 325i. If they are both have the SP, their handling should be very similar - the 325i SP is a little lighter but the 330i SP has wider tires in the rear, which may give it slightly better traction.
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