Last post on Mar 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
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BMW 3 Series, Sedan
#21561 of 30250 "Decoding" BMW VINs
Jan 18, 2003 (7:51 am)
This query routinely comes up on bimmer.roadfly.org forums. I pulled down one posted there on 2/2/02. According to it the 17-character BMW Vehicle Identification Number can be decoded as follows:
First three digits are manufacturer's code (e.g., WBA=BMW AG, WBS=Motorsports).
Digits 4-7 are the model code (my '98 540i6 is DE53; my wife's '00 323ia is AN33).
Digit 8 is the restraint system identifier (e.g., both my car is 2=seat belts and dual airbags; my wife's is 4=seat belts, dual-stage advanced front airbags).
Digit 9 is a check digit.
Digit 10 is the model year identifier (e.g., W=1998, Y=2000, 2=2002, etc.).
Digit 11 is the plant code (e.g., B & D=Dingolfing, A=Munich, E=Regensburg, N=South Africa, and L=Spartanburg). Mine is a B and wife's is N.
Digits 12-17 are the sequential production number.
Hope this helps.
Jan 18, 2003 (8:50 am)
Thank you for the VIN decoder.
I see that my 2003 325i is being built in Rosslyn. I have read that it is among the best car assembly plants in the world. I ordered the car on 1/11/03, and it is scheduled for production on 1/31/03. My wife took delivery of her 2002 325Ci eight weeks after ordering it; it was built in Regensburg.
Jan 18, 2003 (10:39 am)
Try BMW of Peoria, IL. Much better deal on a 330i then anyone in the Chicago area was willing to to give. After a week or so of dialog I feel I got a nice deal.
Jan 18, 2003 (1:38 pm)
Where can I find a complete list of plant codes? According to the VIN of my ordered 325xi sedan, the plant code is a "P". Although the BMW web site indicates that 3 series "saloons" are made in Munich, a poster above indicates that his 2003 325i is being made in Rosslyn, S.A.
#21565 of 30250 3 Series Plants
Jan 18, 2003 (5:55 pm)
majariwr... According to Jeremy Walton's book, BMW 3 Series Enthusiast's Companion (RB Bentley Publishers, 2001) E46 3 Series is assembled at Munich (Milbertshofen), Regensberg, and Rosslyn (South Africa). Regensburg plant opened in 1986. BMW has been assembling BMWs in South Africa since the late 1960s. Spartansburg, South Carolina, assembled the Z3. (Forget where BMW has their simpler knock down kit assembly plants around world where they use completely knocked down kits. Thinking there might be one in Thailand. Believe BMW wants to do same and more in China in future. But so far these kit plants are for local and regional markets.)
#21566 of 30250 BMW Pushing 2004 3 Series Info
Jan 18, 2003 (6:01 pm)
The February 2003 issue of BMW's "Inside track" pamphlet came in mail with my BMW FS statement. Headline story is about "2004 3 Series Coupe and Convertible". Says they will be out "this spring". Redesigned face and two new colors (Mystic Blue and Silver Gray).
Also says "Standard on all 3 Series models this March are Adaptive Brake Lights". Goes on to say "A new option, Adaptive Headlights" will be available (they turn with the steering wheel). And finally says "And in all 3.0-liter models, a crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission is now standard."
Think it interesting how MY2004 is being pushed so early. E46 platform is winding down.
Jan 18, 2003 (6:17 pm)
I think this is good news. Not many car manufacturers can pull off what BMW has done. But I don't think there is a whole lot to be done to improve on the 3 series.
But if BMW is going to do anything do the following, this is my wish list.
1. performance - make it abundantly clear BMWs come out of the factory with class leading performance and no room for after market tuners. Put a super-charger in as a factory available option on all models. In addition, increase the redline for the engines to about 7,000 rpm.
2. offer an LSD as an option
3. offer SMG as an option
4. kick up the options on the stereo system a notch
5. maybe, offer a better type of leather for the interior
#21568 of 30250 Snow Tires 330Xi
Jan 18, 2003 (8:50 pm)
Is it necessary to put snows on the Xi? I understand that snow tires improve any vehicle's dynamics in snow...just wondering what your opinions and experiences are. Thanks.
#21569 of 30250 Future, Luxury vs Performance
Jan 19, 2003 (6:27 am)
kdshapiro... Where BMW is headed in the next 5 years or so has been discussed extensively in Roundel by their columnists for last year. There was a good recent one discussing how market forces are driving BMW's moves toward luxury and high tech. They want to keep a certain amount of performance, but their target market is wanting more and more "goodies" and BMW is also inclined to want to be at the cutting edge of "goodies". Some are performance enhancing (e.g. the next generation steering systems) but many are not (e.g., iDrive).
Unfortunately, these tend to raise prices, make the cars more complex & nearly impossible for DITY work, and make it harder to keep them for long periods of time (say 10 years or 200K miles) while staying within a decent budget. [I can't imagine how much it might cost to drive and own a new 745i from 100,000-200,000 miles. So much to go wrong. So much that is so expensive to fix. Will many of these systems last 200K? Would you want to own one out of warranty?]
I'd much rather see BMW keep its civilized performance image. Give me LSD over iDrive any day. But if BMW wants to sell a million plus cars a year worldwide and hundreds of thousands annually in USA, then they have to offer what their major target markets want. Too bad too many Americans want luxury and image over the ultimate driving expereince. Is there any way to re-educate enough potential buyers with money?
Jan 19, 2003 (7:18 am)
Sadly, I agree with your assessment. The cars that will run to 200K miles are the cars that don't have all this stuff in them. I don't need cars that are expensive because they have this non-useful stuff that drives up the price without adding to the driveability in any way shape or form.
That's why I would like to see BMW add more power while making the engine, drivetrain and all car components absolutely bullet-proof. Add the SMG, LSD and I'll be a happy camper.
You'll then be able to take that car to 200K.