Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    From lurking here on this board, your '95 seems to be a creampuff of a car, garage queen & what not, shouldn't be a problem to sell. Congrats on your new baby! Sounds v. exciting.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    My apologies... brave is correct about the weight difference. From the brochures, the difference is 77lbs in the sedan and 99lbs in the coupe. Not knowing where that weight is located, I'm not sure if the extra tire width in the rear would conteract the difference for handling. I think that's just a way to reign in some of the additional torque, as brave mentioned for rear end traction. It sure is easy to step the rear out, however. :-)
  • In what issue of CR is the article where they stop recommending the 3 series? I must have missed it!
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    It was listed on the 2003 buying guide that come with the subscription.
  • hgeyerhgeyer Posts: 188
    I saw it on CR-Online. They continually update the automobile ratings.

    Check the attached link:
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Here are the rankings from the 'Upscale Cars' category that CR put the 3-series into:

    Lexus IS300
    Acura 3.2TL
    Saab 9-5
    Lexus ES300
    Volvo S60
    Volvo V70/XC70
    Chrysler 300M
    Infiniti I35
    BMW 3-Series
    Oldsmobile Aurora
    Audi A4*
    Lincoln LS
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    Jaguar X-Type* (-135%)

    It's only CR - don't take this too seriously :o) Kudos to Toyota, though - they swept almost every class.
  • Thank you for your input. Going to-morrow to have the programming done; now I will insist on the tilt mirror..Because when I called BMW dealership I was told I do not have this option!!
    Congratulations on your M3

  • I think if the 3 series gets a facelift like the Z4, it will take back the share of the market that the G35 has taken. The Z4 looks good, much better than the 3 series and way better than the nasty Z3. Otherwise, Infiniti will even the series in the next couple of years.
  • Hey Guys,

    I just thought I would follow up and let you all know what has taken place in the past couple of days. First of all, I would like to say thank you to all who replied with great info and help. I just wished that I knew about you all before I purchased my past vehicles.

    Wed I went back to John Roberts BMW(Dallas) to meet up with my sister to make sure everything went okay. They said something was wrong with a relay that caused the airbag light to come on.

    As we were walking out of the bay, we caught a small part of a conversation that a service rep and new 7 series owner were sharing. The car completely locked up on the guy. Seems that the 7 series and idrive are causing nothing but problems.

    As my sister drove off, I thought I would walk around to the front to look at the 3 series inventory. The same pompous guy sales rep came out again. He had the never to ask me if I was ready to take the 7 that we test drove home. I laughed at him. I did tell him that I was really looking for a new 3 series. This guy had the never again to tell me " the 3 is a much lower car than the 7. May i ask why you would want such a lower model car if you have they money for a 7". At this point I'm ready to leave. Just as he stopped, he was paged for something in front. He told me to stay there and he would be right back. Well, I walked back inside. One of the sales magrs asked me if everything was okay. I explained to him how his sales rep downgraded the 3 series. The mangr was so apologenic, but it didn't seem sincre. I mentioned that I wanted a long test drive with a 3. He offered one to me. So, I ended up with a 2002 330Ci coupe, sliver in color, sport pk, HID, Harmon K, premium pk, 5 speed. I told him I would be back later today.

    My friends, I have to share this all with you. I've found my youth again. I understand why 3 series are so good and why the 3 series wins. I don't even know where to start. Smooth power, like an electric motor. Torque is very flat and progressive. The seats of the sport model: firm but very comfortable. I felt as if I was in control. Refined. 80mph in 4th and it felt as if I was driving 45mph. I felt connected with the road.I could do anything but smile. I haven't felt this good about a car in a long time. The sound of the I-6 I didn't care about the size of it anymore. I didn't look at it as an overpriced small sedan. It's better than the 530i IMHOP. I wanted to sing and dance. I coudn't keep my eyes off of it when I did park it. This is what I have been missing. I've driven many cars, but this is not like any other car under 50K. I know I must sound stupid, but I'm a changed man! I cannot understand why so many people drive other types of cars on the market(IS 300,ES 300, Saab,CTS,SUV's,etc..). It's understandable why the 3 series is the target for most entry level lux auto makers.

    I arrive back at the dealership. I asked the sales rep about the ED program as many of you all have suggested. They told me that it was a long process, very costly, and not many BMW dealers and buyers deal with it. He said that it will cost me and the dealership more money if I went with the ED program.
    I didn't believe him. I think he just wanted to make a sale at MSRP or he must think I'm just that stupid. I walked out and thanked him for his time.

    At this point, I'm on a quest. I'm getting a 3 series BMW. As many of you all have noted as well that I purchase one for less than 32K. I must have such a dream of a car. As Nerd suggested, I called Mike Pile BMW in Tyler, Tx.

    Oh my! such a nice dealership on the phone. We even talked about real prices over the phone. That's rare. They have a great inventory. Plus, they were willing to set up everything if I wanted to use the ED program. I'm driving to Tyler Sat.

    Now, I could use some help from the BMW family here at Edmunds.
    What do you guys think:

    Should I buy a 330 or 325? Is the 330 really worth the extra money?

    Should I buy a 5 speed or step auto?

    ED program or on the lot?

    Should I buy CP0 2000 or 2001 to save a few dollars, or should I buy brand new

    If brand new, should I get leather or the leather like seats?

    Coupe or Sedan? I'm single w/no kids (coupe looks better to me)

    And my last factor: I have now a 1998 Olds Intrigue. It has a little over 118K on it now. It was a company car that I bought. It's running good, just a small oil leak from a seal that needs to be replaced, otherwise in great condition. It's only worth about $ 5500. Should I trade it in, or just keep it for a daily driver? It's paid for as well.

    I'm sorry if I have been long winded, but I'm very happy about this next car purchase for me. Please leave any input.

  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Ben, so many questions - and most of them you will need to judge for yourself - that's the fun part. Regarding 325 or 330 - you will need to decide if the ~$5,000 is worth it for the extra power and a few more whistles. Both are fantastic. For a single person the coupe is great, but the sedan will likely have better resale. Get the 5 speed and sport package, you'll never regret it. I would skip the leather and save the $1,400. Since you have a car, keep it for now and go the ED route. Sell the Olds when the BMW arrives in the states. Enjoy the process. I'll never forget my anticipation for this car as I waited 3 months for it to arrive. That poor brochure went with me everywhere (even took it with me when traveling on business). I looked at it nearly every single day. ED would have been even better. Take the plunge!
  • Ben,

    I'm back with more advice....get the 330i.

    First, you need to test drive both in the same day. At least, go drive a 325, since you've already driven a 330. And make sure both models have the sport package, so you can get a good feel for the real differences between the two.

    Now, onto the pricing. You surprisingly will find that the more options you add to your car, the closer in price the 325 and 330 become. For instance, Leather is standard with premium pkg on the 330i, but is a pricey option on the 325. (the leather vs. l'ette debate is about as big as the car wax debate)

    I first balked at the 330i because of the price, then I did the math after adding p/p & s/p metallic paint and xenons. Now I've gone overboard, adding Nav and heated seats, LOL!!

    as I mentioned, print the invoice price list from the web, add your options (use the wholesale price, as well) and plug in the numbers. Trust me, if you do ED, you will NEVER EVER EVER Regret it!!! (you've got the Olds Intrigue until the bimmer arrives State-side)

    2 reasons to consider about the sedan/coupe dilemma is (i) higher insurance on the coupe, and (ii) shorter doors on the sedan makes it easier to open doors in tight spaces or a small garage.

    good luck!
  • hgeyerhgeyer Posts: 188
    Winter weather is coming soon to the Midwest and I have two questions with regard to prepping my 2002 330i for the white stuff.

    1) I purchased from Tirerack a set of Blizzak LM-22s with matching 16" alloy wheels. I've yet to mount them, but am wondering what the optimal air pressure setting would be. I presently have the Michelin all-seasons and for those I go with the recommended 33f/38r. Should I do the same with the Blzzaks or stick to a neutral 35psi all-around?

    2) I would like to get some winter windshield wiper blades. I'm thinking of the PIAA silicone blades that Bavarian sells, but would like to know if anyone has a better suggestion.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions, and sorry to waste the time of our warm-weather posters.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I gotta get me some flames for the 3-er! It looks nasty without 'em. lol...
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    You have picked a good choice in dealerships for ED. Mike Pile or Garlyn Shelton in Temple are fine. Like ipatty13 said, test both. I did not need 3.0L engine. My mistake was that I did not test with the manual. The BMW manual is quite smooth. If you don't know how to drive a manual, it would be easy to learn on. Consider doing ED, it makes for a great trip and you get to die from anticipation twice. The price of ED varies based on the time of year. I did a pickup in March and stayed with my family. My cost was basically, airfare,ferry costs, train tickets (I never drive in London), gas, souvenirs and eating out. Most tourist have to factor in hotel costs. Peak tourist season in Europe is Easter until early September. The prices of hotels and airfare go up. You could also do like some individual. Fly to Munich. Pickup the car and come home. So figure, you could save over $3000. An airplane ticket in early April is about $500 from Dallas to Munich. Stay two days, less than $200. Even is $1000 is spent on the trip, you still save. Just don't spend more than you saved on the price of the car.
  • I too have difficulty deciding whether to get a loaded 325i (leather, PP, NAV, Xenon) or a basic 330i+xenon. Both are about 36K MSRP. Most dealerships in my area discount between 900-1300 depending on options.

    I haven't test-driven a 330i yet but did a 325i and was not too thrilled about the accelaration (auto). Of course accelaration is not the only factor especially when you're talking about a $5K difference. But which one to get?

    Also, I just recently learned how to drive stick on a (Mitsu Lancer OZ) and I must say manual shifting is a hell of a lot of fun! So, when I decide on what bimmer to get, should I get manual or is the step-auto just as fun? I'm afraid I might regret getting a manual when I am stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Would you recommend a manual bimmer to a newbie or should I polish my driving skills first with my friend's mitsu?

    Advice is greatly appreciated.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    If you are doing ED strictly to save money and not to have a Euro vacation, you have consider the fact you're paying for the car at least 30-days before you get it and then continuing to pay for it while they ship it home to you.

    For most, this amounts to about 3+ months of paying for a car you don't have. If your lease payments are $600 a month, this is about $2K right there.

    The transit time cost may be mitigated if you can sell your current car privately and keep it until the new car gets to you, or if you have extra vehicles such that you don't have pay extra for alterative transportation while the car is being shipped.

    For most people, the savings in ED don't really pan out if all you care about is total cost.

    - Mark
  • Here are my thoughts on your questions:

    1. 330 vs. 325
    I have to second ipatty's advice. Go and test drive both the 325 and 330 back to back. Take the car through its paces and see if it is worth it. In addition to an off-the-line acceleration test, be sure to see how the passing acceleration is. There are a number of people (more so on other boards than this one) that complain that the 325 is a dog (especially w/step). While I agree that the 325 is not really quick off the line, it is no slouch when accelerating from speed, which suits my driving needs (and btw, I have the step as well). Yes, the extra power of the 330 would be nice, but how often will you take advantage of it, and is it worth that extra premium? I will qualify my statement by saying that I didn't heed my own/ipatty's advice. I didn't drive the 330 because I knew that the temptation would be too I regret purchasing the 325? Not at all. Do I wish I had the 330? I'm sure y'all know the answer to that one.

    2. 5 speed vs. Step
    This really is a personal choice. It really depends on your driving situation, driving style, and preference. From what I've heard, the 5-speed is noticeably quicker than the step. As far as automatic trannys go, the step in my BMW is by far the best I've driven. The step is a pricey option (around $1200 or so), so if price is a limiting factor, that may sway you towards the 5 speed. I got the step on mine because I bought the car for my wife and she cannot drive a stick.

    3. ED vs. No-ED
    I think markjenn makes a very good point. I didn't do it just because I didn't know about it.

    4. CPO vs. New
    I went with new because we are planning on keeping the car for a while, and I was uncomfortable about buying the car w/out knowing its past history. For a 5 or 7 series, that probably wouldn't be much of a problem, but for a sporty car which is more likely to have been driven hard, it gave me some added peace of mind.

    5. leather vs. 'ette
    Again, personal preference. We wanted leather in our car, so we didn't bother to check out the 'ette. I hear that it's very good though, and in retrospect may have been worth it for me to have looked into it. Be aware that leather requires more upkeep, and I have heard that it does not wear as well as the 'ette.

    6. coupe or sedan
    You're single w/no kids. Go for the coupe. It looks better (imo.)

    7. The Olds dilemma
    I believe you mentioned that money was a limiting factor. You say it's worth about $5500? How much would it cost to upgrade to the 330...?

    All in all, just make sure that you are happy with the car--don't compromise on something now if you'll only to be kicking yourself later.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    At this point, you getting some good advise from everyone.

    I guess what you need to ask yourself is:

    What is the absolute most you will spend?

    Are there options that you must have?

    To do ED or not do ED?

    Do you need the 3.0L versus the 2.5L?

    Do you want bang for the buck and rather go Japanese?

    I actually did not like the experience of buying a new car. I had to keep my wife in mind when I bought the car. Unlike Dave330i, I have to share the car. I can't say my car but I can say my truck. Go figure. If you are single, go for what you want. Consider that auto and leather are pricey options. I personally feel that the Xenons and SP are a must. After that, who cares. Get what you want but try driving every thing, i.e. 325i with or without slushbox and SP or 330i with or without slushbox. Also note 330i already has the sport suspension. With SP, you gain wider tyres, aero package, sport seats and steering wheel. With all this said, be glad we don't have the individual program in the U.S. That would make it harder to select a car.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    In my humble opinion;

    If you CAN drive a manual, get a manual.

    If you CAN'T drive a manual, get a manual and learn to drive it. (preferrably in a car other than your brand-new bimmer)

    The only way I would pull back on this opinion is if you live/work somewhere where you regularly sit in stop and go traffic for long periods of time.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    I hope you have as good an experience as my wife had at Mike Pile BMW. Tell Dave that the woman who bought the 2002 electric red 325Ci says "hello".

    Here are our responses to your questions...

    - drive both a 325 and a 330 and decide if the
    extra HP is worth the cost. I look at extra cost on a per month basis considering how long I plan to keep a vehicle.
    - the 5-speed is wonderful if you like staying engaged with the car. I would probably get the auto, though, if I were battling stop-and-go traffic every day.
    - an ED can get you enought discount to pay for a well-planned short trip.
    - I think that the CPO cars are generally overpriced, but I have never tried to negotiate a price on one.
    - absolutely get the leather! Vinyl is still vinyl, and I think it would cook your backside during Texas summers.
    - since your single, get a coupe by all means. Might be your last chance.
    -I would keep the Olds for days when you didn't want to risk the BMW and for hauling business guests.

    Let us know how your visit goes on Saturday.
  • Thanks to all who have posted. I have been eyeing out a 325. I live in Southern New Jersey. Was wondering if anyone has bought in Jan or Feb. and found dealers willing to deal a little more being typically slower car sales months.
  • Any thoughts as to what would be a good year for a used 3-series? I'm looking to stay under 20-grand so I'm thinking 98 or older. Any experiences regarding handling, maintenance, etc.?
  • Hi, I Live in Western PA where it snows and is fairly hilly. I'm looking at the 325i and the Audi 1.8Q. The BMW dealers say that a 325i with snow tires is fine, but I have my doubts.

    - Can the 325i with snow tires cut it in the winter?

    - Is the 325xi worth the extra cash?

    - Is the Audi A4 1.8Q a better choice?

    - Is there another Sedan I should look at?
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I think this is a better board for posting this question. There is much more traffic here than on the "325 vs" board. One post, on yet another board (3-series FAQ), pointed out that if you are currently making it through winter in a front-wheel drive car with all-season tires, you should have no problem in a rear-wheel drive car with winter tires. There's a pretty good article on that seems to prove that point.

  • Thank you for taking the time to help me out.
  • I have a 330i SP 5-speed and it's a great car. I've driven an Infiniti G35 extensively. In addition to the 325xi and A4 1.8Q, you should definitely test drive the G35. It essentially gives you 330i power and handling for a 325i price, plus extra room. It's slightly less refined than the 3-series, but still very, very good. At least drive it and decide then.

    In a snow region either a 325i or G35 with winter tires will do OK. The above C&D article discusses that in detail.

    -- Joe
  • Hello everyone

    Again, I would like to thank everyone for all of the info. Thank you so much. After listening to so much info, I have to share this great moment with all of you. Nerd, thank you for the tip on a great dealership.

    I have good news.


    Black in color, tan interior, tint, sunroof,HID's,prem pack, 5 speed, power sport seats, woodgrain, leather, sport pack, floor mats. Also the factory 17" are chromed.
    It has 2,200 miles on it...out the door price, $32K and some change.@ 1.9%. It was a dealer/owner demo.Never titled.

    The only difference between the 330 and 325 I could find driving them is the broader torque band in the 330 at higher rpms. To me the extra hp is within the higher rpms at highway speeds over 75mph. If a person must have an auto the 330 is the better way IMOP, but the 330 is not worth the extra $5,000. The dealer said this as well. Save the money for a M3 haha! Another issue, the BMW fake leather is very good. Hard to tell the difference. I know I went a little over budget a little, but it was a deal I could not pass up. The best buying experience I've had. I can't keep my eyes off of it. The only option it doesn't have is HK, but I'm putting in a nicer audio system next week anyway. A nice Alpine system. I'm a car audio nutt.

    Friday I spent a lot of time with the G35 Coupe and Lexus as you guys suggested. The G35 is a very good car. Only thing, I could tell some cost cutting bits in the interior. Also, dealers were not willing to discount much on the price. It's more...edgy and racer like if that makes any sense. In some ways it can out perform a 330 by a small margin, but it's not as smooth as the 330. The G35 is sport lux, the 330 is Lux sport.

    The Lexus Is300 is good. It's a little more "wiggle" on the road. Not as smooth as the 325. It's fast for 215hp. Smaller in the rear seat area and the interior doesn't shout Lexus but more of a good Toyota.
    I kept the Olds Intrigue and put some money down on the 325. It's only pennies more on my insurance, and it's paid for. Plus, I'm going to drive it around more until I'm smoother with a 5 speed. I can't believe I bought a 5 speed, but it's so much fun with the 325. I've never owned a 5 speed, but again, it was such a good deal.

    This week as been good. This time last week I didn't have any intentions of owning a BMW.

    Now, the shocking news. My sister traded in her 3 series for a 2003 540i sport! I couldn't believe it. She said she thought about it before, but she was so impressed with the dealership and upfront treatment. I agreed to go to Germany with her. That's the only way she would use the ED program. So we are going to take a short trip to Europe soon. I'm so happy. We bought 2 new BMW's today. I must say, I think my next car might be a 540i! In fact, I'm a loyal BMW owner, just as long as they don't mess the other models up with the funky I Drive from the 7 series.

    Another note, on the highway, it's so hard to keep this car under 80 mph.

    I've never been so happy about buying a car. My sister even noted that I'm as happy as a little kid in a toy store haha!
    Again, Thank you so much for the help. All of you.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Wow - congrats on your dual purchase. Enjoy the cars.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Posts: 388
    Glad to see you pulled the trigger. Enjoy.
  • tenet1tenet1 Posts: 354
    Congratulations! Try and keep her above 3200 rpm at all times. That the sweet spot for the 325 where the growl sounds even better.
Sign In or Register to comment.