Last post on Mar 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM
You are in the BMW 3-Series
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Sedan
#2289 of 30250 Missed 2 days, time to catch up...
May 02, 2001 (1:40 pm)
ARMREST: When I bought my 328i a couple of years ago, I test drove a 5-Series with a manual transmission as well as the 3er. In the 5, I found that my elbow would always hit the armrest on the 1-3 or 3-2 shifts. During the test drive, I missed second three times, arrrrrghhh, how embarrassing. In the 328i, at least for 1999, BMW has cut a notch out of the left leading edge of the armrest to allow my elbow to clear while shifting. Given that I have never learned to drive and automatic , only cars equipped with a proper transmission need apply. The problem is that I tote customers around in the back seat fairly often, the 5 would have fit said customers' fannies better than the 3, the armrest turned out to be the deciding factor for me.
DRL's: While this has no bearing on what you or anybody else may choose to do, I live about a half of a mile from BMW's NA headquarters. Needless to say, E46s are more common around here than Camrys and the like. In an un-scientific study, I would say that less than 10% of E46s around here have the DRL's activated. Mine are not either, but that is another story.
BREAK IN: I now have 25,000 miles on my 328i, and there is no question that the mill up front is far smoother than it was new or even with 10,000 miles, and I was far from complaining then.
RELIABILITY: As I just mentioned, my E46 has 25,000 miles on the clock. So far, my car has suffered two unscheduled failures. On taillight on each side burned out. I can live with that.
LOW IDLE: To illustrate the point about how damaging sustained idling can be for your engine, consider this:
In 1996, I worked for Mercedes-Benz North America (MBNA). While there, I noticed a very official looking limo (MB 560SEL) show up in the shop downstairs from my office on a regular basis. I asked one of the technicians what the story was about the car. He told me that the limo had been sold by MBNA to a certain international organization for $1.00 USD! Said organization then used the limo to tote around their top diplodunk while here in New York. SOP for each trip was for the limo to be started at least 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure, and not to be turned off if what ever trip said diplodink was on was to be less than two hours duration. After returning to base camp, the car was to continue running for at least an additional one half hour, just incase the big cheese wanted to go out and fetch something. Long story short, the limo needed a complete top end overhaul at 20,000 miles! When the heads came off I had to go and take a peek, the damage was astounding. A number of the valves were so carboned up that they could not fully close, as a result, one of them was burned so bad it looked oval!
SQEEKS AND RATTLES: With 25,000 miles on my E46, in and around NYC potholes and generally cruddy roads, my car still has no unscheduled squeaks and rattles. None, nada, zero.
May 02, 2001 (2:16 pm)
Dude, do yourself a favor if you are considering a $30k S60 (which comes with the na 168 hp engine) and compare it to an Accord EX V6. The Accord has more power, is heavier and offers more room than the S60, saving you about $6k. And you don't have to admit that due to a lack of driving skill, you needed to buy a Volvo.
As far as comparing it to a 3-Series, don't be silly.
#2291 of 30250 Shipo - Armrest/Reliability
May 02, 2001 (2:41 pm)
Enjoyed your informative and fun post. Hey, that's one hell of an armrest they have in the 3-series - it saved you 10 grand over the 5 series. The 10-grand armrest :O) The 3-series is plenty spacious in my book - the E46's wider and longer platform moved it a lot closer to the older 5-series size-wise. I sat in the back and I was very comfortable. At least the tiny trunk didn't go to waste completely - the spacious interior more than makes up for that. As far as reliability, I guess I really lucked out w/ my '97 Jetta VR6. Not a single unscheduled trip to the dealer's till 55K miles. I figure they must've had a great tequila (agave?) crop in Puebla, Mexico that year :O) That Don Julio stuff is absolutely addictive, BTW. At 55K miles I got rear-ended by a pickup going about 40 mph faster than me and it's been downhill since then. I'm sure my 3-series will be reliable too.
May 02, 2001 (2:47 pm)
I wasn't gonna bring that Volvo image stuff up but I can't help it after reading your post. It's become the Cambridge, Mass joke around here in Boston. Every time you see a Volvo, they gotta have at least a dozen bumper stickers raging from 'Support Gore' to 'Love your mother' and oh, yes, how can you not be a vegetarian and a tree-hugger, you animal-eating tree killer! - LOL!!
#2293 of 30250 325i v. S60
May 02, 2001 (3:01 pm)
Carguy5000 - thanks for the advice - already have an Accord EX-V6 in the driveway.
Brave1Heart - what dealer did you get that deal at????? I'm on the west coast...
May 02, 2001 (4:34 pm)
Any dealer. I'm still paying $2,000 over invoice, which works to $1,300 off MSRP. The 325i is cheaper than most people think, esp. if you get it with manual and also save $1,400 on the leather seats. The leatherette is almost as good. You'd never think a BMW would be good value, right? Think again after you factor in a 50% or so residual after 5 years of responsible ownership with average driving miles. My dealer is BMW Peabody, BTW but like I said, you should be able to do better than this at any dealer. A lot of buyers have been getting $1,500 over invoice. BTW, it's important to keep in mind that the mid-year model is cheaper because some options are now standard. Edmunds.com's numbers have not been updated, go to the bmwusa.com web site and build your own 3-series. Then take about $1,500 off and you'll come up with the number you can get the car for. Again, good luck. Fire off an e-mail if you need more help with the buying process.
#2295 of 30250 From manul to steptronic :((
May 02, 2001 (4:49 pm)
I have been driving my 98 323is (Blk/Blk leather) and was very happy. Then I got married (. The wife unit can't drive a stick and wants an automatic and that brought me to the delearships agin...
I had the HK sound system and 6 CD changer in my prev. car. I decided to go with what they give std this time around and a single in dash CD this time around (Hey - the stinking automatic costs an extra 1200 ()
Anyways a couple of questions:
1. Is the steptronic any good?
2. Will I miss my HK sound system? If so can I install an amp and subs on my own?
3. The MSRP came upto 36,635 and the guys final offer was 35,500 - is that about normal - coz I got a much better deal when I bought my first 323...
May 02, 2001 (5:32 pm)
If you are seriously considering the BMW, then, to broaden your horizon (and to find what kind of ride you really want) consider the Audi A4/S4 as well. The A4 is about the same size as and 325 and handles quite well. (Here I must contradict the other BMW fans here. The A4 has beaten the BMW at least once in comparison tests. To be fair, I believe that was an under $30k test only and the BMW did not have the sport package.)
The A4 rides more smoothly with less road noice than the 325. However, the 325 is still exceedingly comfortable, even with the sports package, and, personally, outhandles the A4. However, the A4 is a less expensive car to buy, but not necesarily own (i.e. that timing belt change will set you FAAAAAAAAR back compared to a timing chain, which is never replaced...although I know somebody who broke his...that's a different story).
I test drove them both, the A4 (avant only) 1.8 and 2.8, the 325iT, and 325i with and without sport packages. (Digging those up to test in Chicago was a nightmare.) I personally thought that the BMW was just more fun to drive, was more controlled, and had a better engine.
I ended up ordering a 325iT steel blue metallic, sand leather, sport package, moonroof, xenons, heated seats. However, if my wife had her way (and she's quite a lead footed driver herself) we would have bought an A4 2.8 Avant. It was close for a while. Hope this helps your decision.
note: if you need more space, consider the Accord (somebody already mentioned this) or the Passat (if you need a wagon, like we did).
May 02, 2001 (5:34 pm)
just on an aside, do you want a manual? The S40, S60 have no manual transmissions. Neither does the Accord V6. You have to drop to the 4 cylinder for that. Also, the Passat does not come in manual for the quattro/4motion version. The BMW and Audi both have manual for the AWD versions.
#2298 of 30250 BMW production date?
May 02, 2001 (6:43 pm)