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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • I have the opportunity to by a low mileage 1990 325 (under 50K miles) in mint condition. What should I look out for?
  • I am considering buying the 2001 or 2002 Audi A4 or the BMW 325i. What is the advantage of the BMW to the A4
  • While in Florida over the weekend, BMW dealers were running a television promotion on a 325i Lease. With $2500 down, 10k per year and a 36 month term, the monthly payment was $319. Is this their normal lease term on this car? I was considering a 3-year old 528i, but something new, with minimal investment leans me toward this (my first BMW) Any thoughts?
  • Sales person at a local BMW dealership told me that the Sahara beige metallic has been dropped. Has any one else heard this news?
  • Leasers beware! Today I leased a 325Ci for full list (Silver/Gray Leather, SP, PP, Xenon, Heated seats, Steptronic, CD) MSRP 43,860. BMW quoted a BMW N.A. lease factor of .00459 (11%) and a 60% residual. As a "tier 1" customer (strong credit) I deserved a much better rate, but BMW said that was the best they had. I contacted and he gave me a MUCH BETTER lease, saving me about $4,000!

    .00344 (8.25%) and 56% residual lowered the monthly payment by $50 and the residual by $2000. They FedEx'd the check to the dealer in one day.

    It wasn't enough that I was paying BMW full list, but the dealer wanted another $4000 in pure profit besides. Learn the details about leasing and always check with a thirdparty Lease Company.

    -Ron Mendel
  • BMW is subsidizing this lease deal in the NYC area as well, until the end of the year. It is an inviting lease number, but the car they are offering has none of the packages most people prefer to get with the 3 series such as cruise control, heated seats, climate control, Harmon Kardon radio, steptronic transmission etc. Also, many leasing "experts" recommend putting $0 down on a lease, which, in this case would boost the price to around $394/month. Good luck!
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    Check out the most recent issue of Car and Driver. They had a comparo on 6 sport sedans: Saab 9-3, Lexus IS300, Audi A4, BMW 325i, Volvo S60 T5 and MB C240. BMW 325i won. Here are their results:

    6 - Saab
    5 - MB C240
    4 - Volvo S60 T5
    3 - Lexus IS300
    2 - Audi 2.8 A4
    1 - BMW 325i

    This might give you a good idea what the Audi and BMW are like.
  • Before I embarrass myself at the dealer, can someone tell me whether it is commonly acceptable to cancel an order? Would there be penalties?

    A separate question: can one tell black leather and leatherette on the 3 Series? My dealer showed me the supposedly black leather on an exec car and to me it's identical to the leatherette I saw in the showroom. How can I tell if the dealer is telling the truth or he just want me to buy the car that is on its way in?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, IMO, the 325 is quite a bit of a better handler then the passat, but it might be hard to discern from a short city test drive. But it's not a thing you can argue.. Good handling is very subjective. But i recently took my 328i over some windy mountian road, going a mite fast, and it was the most fun behind-the-wheel expereience of my life, better than when i drove a winston cup car.

    I think if you spend considerable time with, and carefully examine each car you will see where the extra $6000 goes. But you might not, and that's ok too. The passat is surely a fine car, and if you think it's a steal, you should get it and be happy. I partially got the 328 because i knew whatever else i'd get i'd always look at the 328's and think "if only."

    and391: a4 vs 325. Tough, i thought about it a lot. The a4 is cheaper, has a nicer interior, and has quattro. But the BMW seems better put together, more reliable ( less complexity ) and is a lot more fun to drive.

    holeinone: i can tell the difference between leather and leatherette, and i like the leather more, so i got it, but if you can't tell, might as well save your money, and lower your maintenence ( leather requires more care ). If it's a money limit issue ( not that you might not have it, but have a top $ figure in mind ), i might spring for cruise/sunroof/etc instead.

  • mtl3mtl3 Posts: 22
    Well, there you go. You've answered your own question. If I didn't have the concerns regarding the make, I'd be on a Passat like stink on somthing.

    They have a lot of amenities, handle well, roomy and if you're a performance person, the engines and chassis are easily upgraded.

    It's like the folks who don't feel the Passat's worth the difference between it and a well dressed Camry or Accord. If it's not there for you, you shouldn't spend the money. You just won't enjoy it.

    Good luck with your purchase.
  • Either mid or late February I will have a "NEW BMW". That will bring shear exuberance from both family and close friends who have been pleading with me to let my 84 Celica rest!

    I have finalized the deal with a dealer that was straightforward, willing to negotiate with no extra charges added towards the OTD price! I figured that it would have been great to obtain it at cost! I am not able to wait nor do I wish to wait until year’s end. This dealer replied to my ending price and was willing to negotiated a way better deal that any of the two dealers I went to or the other five I emailed or spoke with.

    Will follow up when the beauty arrives!!
  • I'm facing the same dilemma you did (325i vs. A4 vs. IS300, all manuals, this summer). I know the Bimmer is the car I want, but I'm not convinced I want to spend the extra $. I'm thinking of going used instead of new just to have the roundel on the hood.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Either are great choices.

    The advantages to the 325 are that it is a fresher design (the A4 replacement has just been annouced), probably handles a bit better at the limit (especially if you are comparing a FWD A4 vs. a RWD 325), shifts noticeably better (the A4 shifter has been called "rubbery" by most testers), and the I6 in the BMW is a smoother and nicer engine than either the 1.8T four or the V6. Most folks also prefer then BMW interior, but many like the A4 better. In most trims, the A4 ends up with a small price advantage, especially if you like the turbo.

    I'd rate reliabilty a toss up.

    It is really pretty close between these cars. C&D just had a comparo and the 325 nosed out the A4, but it was very close. If I was going AWD, then I'd get the A4. If I wanted a very fast car, then I'd get the S4 over the 330i. But otherwise, I'd get the 325i, especially if you are the type that would enjoy BMWs excellent sport package.

    - Mark
  • I posted a few days ago (#386) regarding choice of options, specifically the value/quality of the Harmon Karmon stereo upgrade and the Xenon light package/fog light package. Any one with any opinions?
  • Reubencahn, thanks for your opinion on red leather back on #338 back on Dec 06. That was very helpful, and just the kind of info I need.
  • gwbmwgwbmw Posts: 2
    Any idea where I can find an after market alarm for 330i? My dealer is asking roughly $600 (includes installation). Seems pricey to me. Any better deals out there? I live in San Diego, CA.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I'd advise you to get the real BMW alarm, not an aftermarket one. It's a good system, well integrated to the car, and appears to be high quality.

    I got mone for $279 mail order from pacific BMW, and i installed it myself in about 1.5 hours.

  • I am considering buying a new Acura CL Coupe, a '99 BMW 3- Series, or a new Infiniti G20. I truly want the Bimmer, but should I pay so much for a used car with less standard features than a nice new Acura or Infiniti? My budget is 25K, but I am willing to stretch it for the right car. I just want to know if the Bimmer is TRULY worth the extra money. Please help. Thanks

    Big Reg
  • New to the group...looking to get a Nokia CARK-91US hands-free kit for my wife's 2000 323i, standard stereo. Is there anything that I should be aware of?

    Also, any recommendations on installers in the Sacramento/Bay Area?

    Many thanks,
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Only you can answer that question. The BMW has a certain pleasure to driving it, but the Acura will be more comfortable in the 'plush sense'. As the owner of both and Acura and a BMW, I can say that (IMHO) the BMW will require more expense over the next several years than the Acura, but routine maintenance on the Acura isn't exactly cheap. True you won't replace any parts but routine servicing is expensive. Still, I'd say that if money is really really tight, the Acura is going to be less expensive to operate and maintain. My next car? Another BMW, assuming that the economy doesn't change my plans....
  • Hi all.
    What is a MACO Fee of $500? I see that on the invoice and they say they cannot delete this fee from the car....does anyone know?
    I changed dealers from the original one & getting a better deal with another which includes the PP for the same amount of money...
  • gwbmwgwbmw Posts: 2

    Thanks for responding to my post on BMW alarm.

    A service advisor at my local dealership is telling me that it wouldn't be something I could install myself because they would have to do some "programming" in the car computer for it to recognize the alarm system and for it to work properly with the keyless entry system. Did you have to take your car to the dealership for programming after you installed the alarm yourself? Or is he just another crooked service advisor?

    Thanks again for your response,
  • You can install the alarm yourself and THEN have it programmed by any dealer. I installed mine in about an hour, mostly because I was being excessively careful and then called all of the area dealers to see who would activate it for the cheapest amount. I paid $35 but was qouted up to $85 so check around. Also make sure that when they program your alarm the do not lose your car's other memory settings such as DRL, auto locks, etc. They can also program your parking lights to flash when you lock or unlock your car.
  • tjordtjord Posts: 1
    I am currently pricing 325i Sportwagons. Edmunds has the TMV listed as $29,400, which is the same as the MSRP. Are people paying sticker price for this car????
  • The dealer here in San Francisco are discounting the wagon by $1,100 off from msrp. If you live in the bay area, you should try out S.F. dealer. Just my .02! Good Luck!
  • The 3-series sedans have the most demand and the smallest profit margin, but even in the NJ area you can get one with $1,000 off MSRP on the average. Hence, you should get at least $1,000 off MSRP on a 3 Series sedan, and even more on other models. E.g. $2,000 off the 5 Series. Given the impending economic down-turn, I'd imagine less demand and more cancelled orders, this means better bargains for the buyers :)
  • I just priced a 2001 330Ci with the following options: Sport Pkg., CD Player, and H-K Stereo Upgrade. The MSRP was $37,035, incl. dest.

    I then priced a 2001 330i with the following options: Sport Package, Power Front Seats w/memory, Fold Down Rear Seats, CD Player, and H-K Stereo. The MSRP (incl. dest.) totalled $38,055, or $1,020 more than the Ci.

    As best I can tell, this should make the 2 cars virtually identical except for the 2 vs 4 doors, and some other minor differences. My question is, why would the comparably equipped sedan be so much more than the coupe???
  • I just ordered a 2001 325i and thought I got an okay deal until I started reading this message board. I live in North Florida and was wondering what the prices are like in Florida. I got the following options: steptronic auto, moon roof, ad changer with cassette/am-am stereo, fog lights, cruise control with mufti function steering wheel, metallic paint, and free floor mats for a price of $30,950 without tax/tag. A $423 advertising fee and $570 destination charge is included. Are the prices for dealer's dam. handling and notary fees negotiable? Also, does anyone know if there is a way to check on production progress of the car? I have a production number. Please advise. Thanks
  • they did not even want me to see the inside of the car and let alone test drive it

    I went to see this dealership to compare the new I class and the 3 series,
    I was up front and told them I was just at the mercedes dealership and the deal did not go through(no msrp discount and 36,900 too expensive because it had a lot of options I did not need) and I wanted to see if I could get a deal after I see and test drive their vehicle
    they asked what terms I wanted and my FICO and down payment, which was 775 FICO score and 10,500 trade equity and I wanted a 24 month lease with no or minimal payments

    Phil said that the deal would not work , and it does not matter which vehicle and I would be wasting his time,I got upset and I said that you do not even know if I'm going to like their vehicle as I never drove it before.
    He excused himself and helped another customer.
    Curious to see what a 3 series cost (33k) and what it looks inside, I walked towards on.
    I notice he asked another sales person named Holly to help me,
    hoping this lady will be more courteous , she went on and bad mouthed the mercedes dealership, and that they do not discount their cars and they are always out of stock, I asked to see the inside of the car and was discouraged
    I felt discriminated or disrespected, I'm 29 married and I own a 96 Z3,2000 navigator and toyota avalon and never have I had this bad of an experience
    I wished I should've gone to Riverside bmw where I bought my Z3
    is there a bmw site I can forward this post to let them be aware what kind of sales people represents their cars?
  • Hi everyone --

    I live in Washington, DC, where we have average winters. I'm wondering whether I should wash the car after every snowfall (to get rid of the salt buildup on the car body/paint) or whether I should leave the buildup there throughout the winter. (I heard a rumor that it might actually protect the paint against new -- and more corrosive -- salt) Thanks for the comments!

    And the plug: 2 month old 2001 Titanium Silver 325i manual w/sport & premium w/2000 sh*t-eating grin miles. Since most comments are about performance, I'll address luxury. BMW knows how to make appealing cars. For those shopping, pay close attention to the interior fabric, the instrument layouts, the fuel door lock, the in-roof visor lights, and the built-in rechargeable flashlight, to name just a few "minor" perks that really make driving these cars an enjoyable experience.
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