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-   -   The Value Shopper's Guide to the F30 328i (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686415)

shabadoo25 03-31-2013 03:27 AM

The Value Shopper's Guide to the F30 328i
 
I've noticed we get a lot of posts here from people asking what the essential elements are in a F30 build. This is usually from a perspective of wanting to get a nice car but not wanting to spend $$$$ on things that are unnecessary.

Like many here, I ordered early in the F30's life cycle when there were no models on dealer lots in which the various options could be tested. I got one test drive in a base Summer Olympic Event model and that was it. I ordered a nicely optioned model, as you can see in my sig.

For a couple days the last week, I was in a luxury line loaner with only the premium package while my routine maintenance was getting done. I spent quite a bit of time playing with this loaner and this post encapsulates my opinions on the difference between it and my car.

Oh and btw, if you are someone who lights your illegally imported Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills and finds this whole discussion silly, feel free to move on to the next thread.

Lines vs. No Line
We've seen a lot of discussion here about the essential nature of a 3 Series. Is it sporty, luxury or a combo of both? This can only be decided by an individual buyer. That having been said, I feel that I would be satisfied in a luxury line having driven one if I didn't have the sport. I liked sitting higher up and would love having access to the awesome saddle brown interior. Also, if you haven't seen a modern line model now that they've dumped the hideous tan dash and wheel, it's very sharp looking also. With the no line, you could use the pocketed $ for things like the M interior kit and/or rims.

Before we leave this topic, let's discuss the seats. After a couple of days in non-sport seats, I was actually fine with them. I am a bigger guy and enjoyed not having the side bolsters kind of pinching me in. I missed the thigh extenders, but was more cognizant of the lumbar support in the normal seats. I would say don't let the seats be a major decision maker for you.

I'll discuss performance a bit more when we get to the M Adaptive/Sport Steering part of the post.

Xenons
This is a tough one, but if you are looking for a spot to save $ on your build, you can dump the Xenons. Yes, they look amazing. They are purportedly safer. However, I drove at night with the halogens and they are fine. I might make this a last ditch decision when building my car, but if you feel you need to skip this, you'll be just fine.

USB w/Enhanced Bluetooth
Do not skip this important feature. It gives you BT music streaming through your cell phone as well as the emergency call feature that could save your life. We will come back to this discussion later when we talk about the tech package.

Harmon Kardon
I am a sound nut and always tick this box off immediately when looking at cars. After a couple days with the regular stereo, which is supposedly the mid-level option in Europe, I can report that it is fine. The HK is better, but this is a good spot to save some $$$ if you are tortured with how to economize. This is even more true if you are purely a talk radio or smooth jazz listener. If you are a classic rock guy like me, this might be a hair tougher. The HK is definitely ballsier when it comes to stuff meant to be cranked.

M Adaptive Suspension and/or Variable Sport Steering
If you don't get the Sport/M Sport, you will likely want to get this if you want the typical, taut BMW driving experience. The steering in the luxury line definitely had more play than my sport line. There was more body roll. Again, if you skip the sport-oriented lines, I would opt for these unless you like a car that is softer than what BMW usually represents.

Back Up Cam/Park Distance Control
This is a tough one and I can't recommend dumping it for anyone with small kids or who has to park in tough conditions (city parallel parking) often. It should be standard on all cars. However, if you live in an apartment by yourself, I could see skipping it. The sight lines on the F30 are good enough.

Packages
Premium: This is a tough one. I would say skip it if need be. If not, the stuff in this package is the stuff of nice cars. Not fiddling with your key is very nice. Dimming mirrors are nice at night. However, the leatherette is good and some of the other things like adjustable seats, moonroof and satrad can be gotten separately.
Driver Assistance: #1 on the list of things you can skip. If you can't keep your car in its lane, you shouldn't be ordering a BMW.
Technology: This is brutal for me to say as a gadget guy, but skip it. I love HUD, but never noticed it was missing without it. I love nav, but I can get turn by turn off my phone. With BT and Enhanced USB, all phone audio can be streamed through the speakers. The small dash screen was fine and didn't look any cheaper than the wider one. It is a great set of toys, but just isn't needed as long as you tick off the Enhanced BT. And it's horridly overpriced.

Heated Seats
I don't know how or why anyone skips these. Forget cold weather--these are a godsend for anyone with lower back pain/discomfort. My wife, who is always cold, stabs this button before I can get to the ignition button.

Apps
A total waste. You can read texts and emails through the dash screen. Big deal. Also, using any of the apps is more aggravating than just streaming through your phone.

Chris90 03-31-2013 05:54 AM

Great thread! Couple comments:

- i always thought lane departure warning was a joke like you, I've done 12 track days, and never had so much as a scrape in 25 years of driving. Then I had kids - lately I've been nodding off all the time while commuting, and a few weeks ago, nodded off, drifted lanes on a busy highway and scraped a Honda Odyssey. So anyone with kids, or sleep issues, might consider lane departure. Me, I'll probably still just make sure I make time for coffee in the morning. :)

- A major consideration for anyone on a budget should be the 320i. 200 lb-ft of torque should be plenty fun in a 3300 lb car - my e36 had less than that, and while it was 200 lbs lighter, it was a blast to drive and never felt slow.

krash 03-31-2013 06:35 AM

I know you were targeting prospective 328 buyers, but you could apply this to prospective 335 buyers as well. If I wanted to significantly reduce the cost of my car, here is what I would have done.
  1. Go with basic Nav option instead of Tech package
  2. Go with luxury line instead of sport.
  3. Drop 8 speed sport transmission.
  4. Go with 328 instead of 335, but then order xenons since they don't come standard on a 328.
  5. Drop DHP.
4 & 5 would be the most difficult for me, but I would have ended up with a 328 luxury line with xenons, heated seats, Prem, HK, Nav, rear view camera and PDC.

Nothing wrong with that configuration at all. Plus, it would have been a savings of about $6000. By the way, once my kids are in college, this is exactly what my next car might be.

boltjaM3s 03-31-2013 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shabadoo25 (Post 7483959)
I've noticed we get a lot of posts here from people asking what the essential elements are in a F30 build. This is usually from a perspective of wanting to get a nice car but not wanting to spend $$$$ on things that are unnecessary.

If one is looking for "value", a stripped 3 Series is a terrible choice. Is it still a nice car? Sure. But it can be confusing for those who remember the BMW heritage and didn't get the memo that with the F30 you have to pay to get the legendary handling/performance that you used to get as standard equipment.

It is generally considered a bad thing to recommend someone just buy the car for the badge, yet that is the only real reason for your thesis. While the $31,000 F30 is the same price as a Honda Accord and thus you can make the argument that it's a great 'value', the devil is in the details. You need to spend at least $41,000 on the BMW just to get the same set of options found on the Accord, maybe even more. The F30 is still a far more expensive car; stripping out the features equalizes the sticker but leaves you with a bad value.

There was a time when a stripped 3 Series was a noble decision. You could live without the options and still get a tight performance car. But today, that's not the case. It's important to note that.

BJ

krash 03-31-2013 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boltjaM3s (Post 7484125)
If one is looking for "value", a stripped 3 Series is a terrible choice. Is it still a nice car? Sure. But it can be confusing for those who remember the BMW heritage and didn't get the memo that with the F30 you have to pay to get the legendary handling/performance that you used to get as standard equipment.

It is generally considered a bad thing to recommend someone just buy the car for the badge, yet that is the only real reason for your thesis. While the $31,000 F30 is the same price as a Honda Accord and thus you can make the argument that it's a great 'value', the devil is in the details. You need to spend at least $41,000 on the BMW just to get the same set of options found on the Accord, maybe even more. The F30 is still a far more expensive car; stripping out the features equalizes the sticker but leaves you with a bad value.

There was a time when a stripped 3 Series was a noble decision. You could live without the options and still get a tight performance car. But today, that's not the case. It's important to note that.

BJ

I do agree with this line of thinking.

If you're talking about a 328 no-line without prem, tech, Nav, HK, heated seats, xenons, rear camera, PDC, or anything else, then forget about the F30. Seriously. You probably should be looking at a Suburu WRX STI instead if you're a performance enthusiast or perhaps a loaded Nissan Maxima if you want a more luxurious car.

However, a thread like this is still useful for folks looking at the higher range F30s. You can get a real good idea on how to get a fantastic car and still save some $$$$$$.

kpgray 03-31-2013 07:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shabadoo25 (Post 7483959)
I've noticed we get a lot of posts here from people asking what the essential elements are in a F30 build. This is usually from a perspective of wanting to get a nice car but not wanting to spend $$$$ on things that are unnecessary.

...

Great write-up! I would put the options in order of importance:
  1. Heated Seats
  2. BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth
  3. Park Distance Control (F30 bigger than E90, tall trunk, rear 3 obstructive head rests)
  4. Rear View Camera (must have parking package to get this)
  5. A Line (significantly nicer interior & exterior trim, 18" wheels on ALL lines much nicer)
  6. DHP (especially if you have xDrive)
  7. Technology Package (Navigation, HUD, Enhanced Bluetooth, Apps)
  8. Lighting Package (Xenons & "Cat Eyes", the Halogens are still pretty good)
  9. Premium (Leather, Sunroof, Comfort access, self dimming mirrors)
  10. HK (600 Watts but do you need it?)
  11. Cold Weather Package (Heated front & Rear seats, heated steering wheel)
  12. Driver Assistance Package (do not need the side camera or blind spot warning)
  13. Driver Assistance Plus (rather annoying lane change vibration)
  14. Rear window shades
  15. Active Cruise Control (too expensive)
  16. high beam headlamp control

I limited myself to a $45K invoice cost (Aprox $49K MSRP). My build started with an xDrive. I picked a Sport Line and mistakenly thought the xDrive sport came with sport suspension. :mad: I skipped on the Lighting Package (that would have put me over budget. Do I give up a line, tech or premium for the lighting?).

In retrospect, if I was to do the build again, I would give up the Premium (I can press a button to get into my car and leatherette would be OK) and add the DHP Lighting, and Parking Distance w/rear view camera. The xDrive suspension is soft (good for Wife and Kids), the Lighting 'Cat Eyes" are so cool, but the parking package is what surprised me. :confused: I would have thought the car would be easy to park but the though of damaging my BMW puts fear into my head! :yikes: High curbs, car bumpers... Difference in cost: Premium $3100 vs. $3050 for bucket of other options (DHP $1000, Lighting $900, Park distance $750, Rear Camera $400) On the other hand, when you are at this level, what is a couple thousand... $30 per month on a $550 month payment!?

Quote:

Originally Posted by boltjaM3s (Post 7484125)
If one is looking for "value", a stripped 3 Series is a terrible choice. Is it still a nice car? Sure. But it can be confusing for those who remember the BMW heritage and didn't get the memo that with the F30 you have to pay to get the legendary handling/performance that you used to get as standard equipment.

It is generally considered a bad thing to recommend someone just buy the car for the badge, yet that is the only real reason for your thesis. While the $31,000 F30 is the same price as a Honda Accord and thus you can make the argument that it's a great 'value', the devil is in the details. You need to spend at least $41,000 on the BMW just to get the same set of options found on the Accord, maybe even more. The F30 is still a far more expensive car; stripping out the features equalizes the sticker but leaves you with a bad value.

There was a time when a stripped 3 Series was a noble decision. You could live without the options and still get a tight performance car. But today, that's not the case. It's important to note that.

BJ

I can agree but some options are more important than others.

shabadoo25 03-31-2013 07:52 AM

First off, if we are truly talking car value, we should all be in Corollas approaching 200,000 miles.

Second, whether you agree or not, the following things are true:
1. People come here all the time asking about their builds and what to get.
2. My dealer's #1 stocking choice for 3s is what matches the lease deal: no line plus premium package.

This thread was meant to clarify the value and necessity of the myriad of choices people can't personally test.

neilsarkar 03-31-2013 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krash (Post 7484086)
I would have ended up with a 328 luxury line with xenons, heated seats, Prem, HK, Nav, rear view camera and PDC.

Nothing wrong with that configuration at all. Plus, it would have been a savings of about $6000. By the way, once my kids are in college, this is exactly what my next car might be.

This is an excellent build and frankly how base 328i should have been. However, remember that even this car will have a MSRP of nearly 50 grand. The days of buying a nice 3-series for 35-40 large is sadly over.

kromix 03-31-2013 08:23 AM

IMO, Lighting Package, especially at only $900 is #1 on the list.

gkr778 03-31-2013 08:32 AM

Great discussion!

What are your thoughts on the following items from the perspective of a "Value Shopper"?
  • Choosing a Certified Pre-Owned F30 rather than a new one
  • European Delivery, if one does go the new car route

HokieXDriver 03-31-2013 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neilsarkar (Post 7484223)
This is an excellent build and frankly how base 328i should have been. However, remember that even this car will have a MSRP of nearly 50 grand. The days of buying a nice 3-series for 35-40 large is sadly over.

I agree - there has been so much "series inflation" in BMW that over the past 15 years, every series has moved up one position. A 3 now is a 5 of 15 years ago. A 5 is a 7. A 7 is a super-luxo cruiser.

As long as I dreamed of having a BMW, I dreamed of the 5-series. When I finally bought a BMW, it was an E60. But I want a new vehicle now, and I realized that the 3 is the 5 I always wanted.

To me it seems like the small, fun, tossable, value-for-money BMWs are now the 1-series and upcoming 2-series.

mr_clueless 03-31-2013 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shabadoo25 (Post 7483959)
Packages
Premium: This is a tough one. I would say skip it if need be. If not, the stuff in this package is the stuff of nice cars. Not fiddling with your key is very nice. Dimming mirrors are nice at night. However, the leatherette is good and some of the other things like adjustable seats, moonroof and satrad can be gotten separately.

Power seats and auto-dimming mirrors are standard for MY2013.

boltjaM3s 03-31-2013 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neilsarkar (Post 7484223)
This is an excellent build and frankly how base 328i should have been. However, remember that even this car will have a MSRP of nearly 50 grand. The days of buying a nice 3-series for 35-40 large is sadly over.

It's the opposite, really.

With the advent of the 320i, someone can build a "nice" 3 Series for $37,000. He'll just have to choose between either a "sporty" model (pick two: Sport line or Premium package or Lighting package) -or- "comfort" model (pick two: Luxury line or Tech package or Premium package or Lighting package).

With the 320i BMW is merely letting customer strip the power out as well as the performance so that they can add the comfort/lux/tech goodies. That's the new-news. For decades, customers were forced to accept the sport and the power, pay for it even though they might not have wanted it.

BJ

gooer 03-31-2013 09:22 AM

If I was on a budget and wanted a f30, I would do one of two things:

1. Buy a base 335 - you get xenons, moonroof, 18 inch rims, wood on dash, and most importantly 300 hp engine standard - most likely in jet black or alpine white. This will cost you 44k in RWD or 48k with xdrive, and you still have room to add one or two options.. heated seats, enhanced bluetooth (necessary), etc.

2. Buy a 328 with sport line, enhanced bluetooth and lighting package - comes out to 41,795 RWD or 43,795 with xdrive, and you are going to avoid 17 inch rims, halogens, and plastic aluminum on the dash.. telltale signs of a stripper 328 (although I would take a base 328 over a honda accord).


For me the choice is easy - base 335 offers significantly more VALUE for slightly more $$, and is still going to offer you the spirited driving experience bmw is famous for.

krash 03-31-2013 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HokieXDriver (Post 7484307)
I agree - there has been so much "series inflation" in BMW that over the past 15 years, every series has moved up one position. A 3 now is a 5 of 15 years ago..

I'm not even sure it goes that far back. I would say that the current F30, when loaded up like I did, easily rivals the E39, which they stopped making in 2003.

My friend had an E39, and he thinks my F30 335 blows it away in all aspects. I used to love his car when I was in it, but I love my F30 even better. I believe he had a 528 or a 525...He now drives a Porsche.

You can even make an argument that an F30s rivals the old E60s; especially if you're talking about the early, stripped down 525 models.

But of course, the 320 also extends the range in the other direction. The 320, when properly configured, isn't a bad deal.

Chris90 03-31-2013 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boltjaM3s (Post 7484125)
If one is looking for "value", a stripped 3 Series is a terrible choice. Is it still a nice car? Sure. But it can be confusing for those who remember the BMW heritage and didn't get the memo that with the F30 you have to pay to get the legendary handling/performance that you used to get as standard equipment.

It is generally considered a bad thing to recommend someone just buy the car for the badge, yet that is the only real reason for your thesis. While the $31,000 F30 is the same price as a Honda Accord and thus you can make the argument that it's a great 'value', the devil is in the details. You need to spend at least $41,000 on the BMW just to get the same set of options found on the Accord, maybe even more. The F30 is still a far more expensive car; stripping out the features equalizes the sticker but leaves you with a bad value.

There was a time when a stripped 3 Series was a noble decision. You could live without the options and still get a tight performance car. But today, that's not the case. It's important to note that.

BJ

This is probably true for the typical buyer. But as an enthusiast, for like $38k you can get:

320i w/ 6 speed manual, sport suspension, leather, heated seats. You'll get the legendary BMW driving without all the technology and nanny-state features. That car has pretty much all the features my ZHP has, for the cost of a stripped Volvo S60.

krash 03-31-2013 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris90 (Post 7484432)
This is probably true for the typical buyer. But as an enthusiast, for like $38k you can get:

320i w/ 6 speed manual, sport suspension, leather, heated seats. You'll get the legendary BMW driving without all the technology and nanny-state features. That car has pretty much all the features my ZHP has, for the cost of a stripped Volvo S60.

Nanny-state features? When I think of nanny-state features, I think of the Smart Car, a Toyota Prius, or those horrible communist cars they used to make in the Soviet Union. Seriously dude, bad analogy! It's the exact opposite. People that have the financial wherewithal to load their cars up with all the goodies are hardly dependent upon the government for anything...

woodswatchco 03-31-2013 09:59 AM

A black or white sportline, 328i will get you closer to the glory days BMW's of the past. With the F30 you'll still get better gas mileage, idrive, tremendously better 8sp auto transmission, and more horsepower than the older generations.

full retail: $40,245
street price: $38,245 (or maybe less)
Also, BMW lease deals are insanely low.

You'll get power everything, sport seats, idrive, ipod connectivity, sport suspension, 18" wheels, 240hp turbo engine, 34 mpg highway, rear wheel drive, and an actual choice of an awesome 8sp auto or manual transmission.

At under $40k, the F30 sportline is a pretty attractive choice. The BMW roundels come standard. Nothing wrong with a little snob appeal thrown in! :)

Chris90 03-31-2013 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krash (Post 7484444)
Nanny-state features? When I think of nanny-state features, I think of the Smart Car, a Toyota Prius, or those horrible communist cars they used to make in the Soviet Union. Seriously dude, bad analogy! It's the exact opposite. People that have the financial wherewithal to load their cars up with all the goodies are hardly dependent upon the government for anything...

Guess I meant nanny features (to help you park, backup, stay in your lane, turn etc).

woodswatchco 03-31-2013 10:10 AM

Or nanny features like making MY car automatically reset to auto start stop and comfort mode every time I turn the car off for the sake of fuel mileage I'm not concerned with most of the time?




Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris90 (Post 7484456)
Guess I meant nanny features (to help you park, backup, stay in your lane, turn etc).


kpgray 03-31-2013 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krash (Post 7484155)
I do agree with this line of thinking.

If you're talking about a 328 no-line without prem, tech, Nav, HK, heated seats, xenons, rear camera, PDC, or anything else, then forget about the F30. Seriously. You probably should be looking at a Suburu WRX STI instead if you're a performance enthusiast or perhaps a loaded Nissan Maxima if you want a more luxurious car.

However, a thread like this is still useful for folks looking at the higher range F30s. You can get a real good idea on how to get a fantastic car and still save some $$$$$$.

Base 328i RWD $36,500 (AWD $38,500)
  • Luxury/Modern Line $2100
  • Premium Package $3,100
  • Technology Package $3100
  • HK (Harmon Kardon) $875
  • Heated Seats $500
  • Lighting Package (Xenons) $900
  • PDC (Parking Distance Control) $750
  • Rear Camera (PDC Required) $400
MSRP: $48,225 (xDrive $50,225)

So the real price of well optioned 328i needs nearly $12,000 in options?! :dunno:

A 335 RWD with same options is $52,025.

Robert A 03-31-2013 10:34 AM

A 3 is not a 5. The size may have caught up, but the quality is still a 3.

Quote:

Originally Posted by HokieXDriver (Post 7484307)
I agree - there has been so much "series inflation" in BMW that over the past 15 years, every series has moved up one position. A 3 now is a 5 of 15 years ago. A 5 is a 7. A 7 is a super-luxo cruiser.

As long as I dreamed of having a BMW, I dreamed of the 5-series. When I finally bought a BMW, it was an E60. But I want a new vehicle now, and I realized that the 3 is the 5 I always wanted.

To me it seems like the small, fun, tossable, value-for-money BMWs are now the 1-series and upcoming 2-series.


Robert A 03-31-2013 10:35 AM

What about a 320i with sport and tech for around 39k?


Quote:

Originally Posted by woodswatchco (Post 7484455)
A black or white sportline, 328i will get you closer to the glory days BMW's of the past. With the F30 you'll still get better gas mileage, idrive, tremendously better 8sp auto transmission, and more horsepower than the older generations.

full retail: $40,245
street price: $38,245 (or maybe less)
Also, BMW lease deals are insanely low.

You'll get power everything, sport seats, idrive, ipod connectivity, sport suspension, 18" wheels, 240hp turbo engine, 34 mpg highway, rear wheel drive, and an actual choice of an awesome 8sp auto or manual transmission.

At under $40k, the F30 sportline is a pretty attractive choice. The BMW roundels come standard. Nothing wrong with a little snob appeal thrown in! :)


AzWildcatG 03-31-2013 10:44 AM

Great thread! Thank you!

My wife and I have chosen the 3 series to purchase now. We want a 328i sport in Mineral Grey - White or Bronze. Light Grey leather int with black highlights and Anthracite wood trim. For me the Xenons are a must!

Local dealership CA very nice and professional, but not responsive. The Lexus dealership CA made no impression on us, but reached out to us with a letter thanking us for test driving a IS.

My new car Auto Trader and Cars.com search has not yielded the combo we are looking for here in the west. A special order mite be what is needed or I mite look into a base 335i after reading this thread.

Question: the factory $1K off has a ending date. How often is this done or has this been a ongoing promotion?

krash 03-31-2013 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robert A (Post 7484519)
A 3 is not a 5. The size may have caught up, but the quality is still a 3.

We're not comparing a 3 to 5 of today. We're comparing 3 of today to a 5 of 10 years ago.


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