Last post on Apr 01, 2008 at 9:03 PM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
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BMW 3 Series, Wagon
#39 of 346 Leatherette Seats
May 18, 2000 (2:32 am)
I am a proud new owner of the 323i wagon, though I went for the basic options to keep the price down. The leatherette seats tend to make for a bit of a sweaty experience unless you have the air on cold all the time. I was wondering if the leather seats do the same? The seat covers offered by BMW look pretty limited ... no interest in woolly sheep ones, and the cotton ones are clearly dustcovers & not meant as functional driving seat covers. Any suggestions?
Other than that, at 6'3" I am very happy with the room & driving position, and the telescoping steering wheel makes an excellent difference for those of us with long legs. Backseat room seems adequate - certainly better than I had thought now that I've seen a few adults in the car with me.
I got the in dash CD because on long trips I definitely go through more than 6 CD's, and personally find changing disks no trouble at all. At $200 to have factory installed, it seems very reasonable, and I'm more than happy with the sound & volume range (no cassette, but last one of those I bought was Roxette's second album back in 1991).
Still haven't properly experimented with the steptronic mode, but will do so on next trip upstate.
So far, so good....!!
#40 of 346 how about trading
May 19, 2000 (4:42 am)
I've considered trading my wonderful 328iS in on "something more practical" in my wife's words. I just couldn't find anything I'd be happy with. Not until I read about the 323iT and the input here from those who now own one and others that have driven the car. I'll be taking my 3 in for inspection II next week and it will be a perfect time to take the wagon for a test drive.
Have any of you traded another Bimmer in on your 323iT? Do BMW dealers usually allow more of a trade-in value on incoming Bimmers?
I remember seeing 3 series wagons based on the E36 and always wished they'd sell them in the US. It's great to see the 323iT being offer here.
#42 of 346 Convence me about BMW
May 22, 2000 (1:21 pm)
I have longed for a Beemer for years but always
thought they were out of my price range.Now that the 323i sport wagon is here and around $30k
a closure look is needed.What about cost of maintenance I've heard horror stories about.What about theft rate.How do I keep my wife from getting it? Should I also compare it to VW Passat?
We,ve had our eyes set on an Acura 3.2TL but since
I'll be giving up my Explorer the practical me says wagon with luxury features and fun.
May 22, 2000 (3:31 pm)
All BMW's now come with 3 year or 36,000 mile bumper to bumper service included at no charge. This covers everything from oil & filters to windshield wipers!!
Theft rate is very low. The insurance rate on my '00 Z3 (convertible) is lower than the rate on either my Volvo XC wagon or my Diamante sedan.
On the question about keeping your wife away, The only thing I have found that works is a very long leash!!
#44 of 346 What maintenance?
May 23, 2000 (1:13 am)
I have a 328iS that I've put 40K miles on and it's only been in the shop for free scheduled inspections and oil changes. The car is typically driven over 300 miles a week with 20 of those miles being up and down a twisty turny canyon road. Lucky me. : )
I too had heard about BMWs costing so much to maintain years ago. I've owned five (all of them 6 cyl. cars made in germany) and would not agree. Most of the people that I hear that from have never owned a BMW or owned one back in the early eighties or even earlier.
#45 of 346 BMW 323iT Sport Wagon Review
May 31, 2000 (4:39 pm)
My family of four has had a BMW 323iT Sport Wagon for about a month. It is driven mostly by me and my 18-year old daughter. Overall, it has more than met our expectations, though there is room for improvement in several areas. This is our experience after 2200 miles. (See my previous postings #32 and #38)
We have taken the 323iT on two "mountain" trips from Atlanta, GA. One 600-mile trip to Asheville, NC included the Blue Ridge Parkway and even more twisty side roads. The other 450-mile trip was to the Smoky Mountains. I had so much fun driving this car I had to remind myself to look at the scenery! We got around 28mpg on both trips, which is quite good considering about a third of the miles were driven on mountain roads, and the air conditioner was in constant use. Driving on relatively flat roads without A/C will probably yield 31-32mpg.
As delivered from the dealer, all tires were inflated to 35psi. On the first trip, I reduced the front to 30psi and kept the rear at 35psi. This was a little quieter, but the tires really needed more air for twisty road driving. On the second trip, I increased the front to 33psi and the rear to 37psi. This gave a little more road noise, but better handling. (The door sticker for 225/45ZR17 tires and light-medium loads calls for 30 front and 36 rear.)
The sport and manual modes of the Steptronic auto were very useful in mountain terrain. I mainly used sport mode, except for long downhill sections where I switched to 3rd, 2nd, even 1st. After the 1500-mile break-in, I was less reluctant to use the lower gears -- because it would sometimes push the RPMs to over 4500. The GM-built Steptronic auto is exceptional. The ergonomics are excellent with the shifter moving even closer to you when in sport/manual. I initially wanted a manual tranny, but that was vetoed by my family. I am happy with the auto now, especially considering the added convenience in city driving and the impressive gas mileage.
I am 6' tall, 145lbs, with a "lean and lanky" build. For me, the sports seats are just a little too firm and lacking in lumbar support. Not bad, but alas not as comfortable as the gorgeous velour seats in my '91 Infiniti G20. Also, when I have the seat positioned for optimum legroom, I would like the telescoping steering wheel to come about 1-2" closer than it can. Ahem, I think that people with big rumps will find the sport seat side and bottom bolsters too close together!
For me, the gas pedal is just a little too close to the centerline of the steering column. This results in my lower body twisting slightly to the left. This somewhat compromised pedal location is due to the inline 6-cylinder engine and rear drive transmission intruding into the driver compartment. This is not a big deal, but a larger rear wheel drive car or most any front drive car will have more room for the right leg.
The gauges and controls are comprehensive and easy to see in all daylight conditions, and are rear lit in a pleasing red color at night. The A/C has plenty of capacity to cool the entire wagon on a hot day. On Auto mode, it will blast you for the first couple of minutes until the car begins too cool down. My wife finds the initial noise distracting, but I remind her that the alternative is to be hot longer!
The audio system power level and speaker quality is probably adequate for most listeners. Music lovers will likely want to upgrade. I have the CD upgrade, but no changer. I usually carry at least a dozen CD's on long trips and I never know which one I want to listen to next, so the CD changer would probably not have much practical value anyway. The steering-wheel-mounted volume controls and radio/CD track selectors are fantastic, especially to fine tune the volume level with music having many quiet passages.
There are two cupholders in front. The driver will want to use the front-most one, and it works quite well. The other cupholder is located under the fold-up armrest, and is somewhat inconvenient. A tall drink simply will not fit there, but a 12oz. can or small cup is OK. Our solution is to use one of the rear cupholders for the front passenger -- but we found these too small in diameter for some drinks.
As I expected, the wagon configuration is very practical. The rear liftgate is tall enough for me to stand under in the rain. Two people can sit in the rear opening and change into hiking boots at the same time.
OTHER ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
A car this expensive should have an alarm system. I thought it had one when I bought the car! The wiring and computer are ready for it. The siren, tilt and motion sensor components are probably less than $100 at manufacturer cost. The dealer will want about $400-450 to install the BMW E46 factory alarm kit.
Most of the dashboard is flat black, which is great because it avoids glare. BUT, there is a strip of several inches, the same color as your interior, that goes across the width of the car between the main black dash section and the base of the windshield. With gray or sand interiors, and depending on the light, this can cause an annoying reflection across the entire lower windshield. If the interior is black, this will not be a problem.
When going from reverse to forward, it takes the auto transmission too long to make the shift. I find I have to stop completely and wait until I feel the change, then I can go forward. If I remove my foot from the brake and press the gas too soon I get a "slamming" sensation as the forward gear engages.
It is sometimes inconvenient, even annoying, to use the center console buttons to raise/lower the windows. At a minimum, the front passenger should have his or her own door-mounted button. The 323iT has one-touch window and sunroof opening via the key or remote control. You can also use the key in the doorlock to close the windows and sunroof. Very convenient. On a hot day, you can open the sunroof and windows to vent the heat before you get in, but you have to close each window one by one. A separate button to open/close all windows would be convenient. I suppose this wish should go under the heading "How easily we are spoiled!"
The rear shoulder belts are not tall enough for a 6' passenger. They will tend to slip off the shoulders. Backseat room is ok for two 6' adults, but there is not enough shoulder/hip room even for small teenagers. The rear armrest is too long and/or wide for the size of the rear seat area. With the armrest down, a large adult passenger's leg will hit the armrest. The rear cupholders on the center armrest are not big enough. By the way, the only defect (so far) is that the rear center seatbelt will not pull out.
The 3-spoke sport steering wheel could be more comfortable. IMO, the stitching on the inner rim is too coarse, the shape is too angular on the front edge, the grip diameter is not large enough, and overall, it is too hard to the touch.
The BMW 323iT has a smooth, fuel-efficient engine with a broad power band. The Steptronic auto nearly duplicates the economy, control and feel of a manual, but with far more convenience. Handling and braking are fun and confidence inspiring. You forget you are driving a wagon. Styling and design are top notch. It is a real head turner according to my teenage daughter and her friends. The quality of materials and construction seems a good value. Overall, it has been a reliable, comfortable and fun to drive vehicle.
I would buy it again, but I would probably skip the sport package. However, those 17" wheels and tires sure are cool!
#46 of 346 Will bike fit in rear w/one seat up?
May 31, 2000 (5:31 pm)
Having taken some measurements of the cargo area
in the 323iT, I'm pretty sure it will fit a bike
(with front wheel off) in the back with both rear
seats folded down. Does anybody know for sure if
you can fit a bike back there with only the left
rear seat folded down? It looks like it might just
make it, but I'm not sure.
Also, does anyone know why the cargo volume is
rated so much less than the Volvo V40? The overall
sizes of the 2 vehicles are almost identical. Is
the BMW's cargo area interior narrower and not as
Thanks for any help.
#47 of 346 323iT Backseat Room
Jun 01, 2000 (4:22 pm)
In #45 I wrote:
"Backseat room is ok for two 6' adults,
but there is not enough shoulder/hip room even for small teenagers."
What I meant to say was:
"Backseat room is ok for two 6' adults,
but there is not really enough shoulder/hip room even for three small teenagers, though they will fit."
Of course, three children will fit fine in the 323iT backseat, but a minivan will be better for long trips with small kids. (Been there, Done That!)
Hope this helps!
Jun 02, 2000 (3:44 am)
I am not sure about the volvo, but I know that
in comparaison to the audi a4 avant, the bmw
has less cargo volume to give more room for the