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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-30-2013, 03:16 PM
Cole Raceway Cole Raceway is online now
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E46 325xi, a little harsh\stiff

I just purchased a 2003 325xi with the sport package and feel it is a little stiff for WV roads. Is the non-sport package much softer? (springs, dampers, tire profile). How does it compare with the 325I sport and non sport suspension?
Thanks for the input!!
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2013, 04:05 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole Raceway View Post
I just purchased a 2003 325xi with the sport package and feel it is a little stiff for WV roads. Is the non-sport package much softer? (springs, dampers, tire profile). How does it compare with the 325I sport and non sport suspension?!
All the 'xi cars have a single suspension - there is no sport package suspension.
The 'xi suspension is a little stiffer and taller than the "normal" non-xi suspension, and not as stiff as the "sport" suspension (available only on non-xi cars).

If the previous owner put anything but 205/55R16 or 205/50R17 tires and wheels on it (those are the OEM sizes), then you should remove the current ones and go back to OEM size.
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2013, 04:10 PM
Cole Raceway Cole Raceway is online now
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Thats exactly the info I was looking for. It does have the OEM 205/50/17 size. Thanks!!!!!
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  #4  
Old 01-30-2013, 04:58 PM
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If you`re used to driving a Buick or a Camry, then yeah, *any* BMW might seem a bit "harsh". You`ll get used to it, just drive faster, it`ll feel *much* better !
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  #5  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:03 PM
Cole Raceway Cole Raceway is online now
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I am comparing it to my 2002 VW Passat 4motion. I can't drive any faster, my drivers license can't handle anymore points. LOL

Last edited by Cole Raceway; 01-30-2013 at 06:05 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:18 PM
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It seems like the problem may be with these WV roads you're using. I run PA's mostly but it took me a while to settle on these. I tried IN's, CA's, even some VA. The NC were by far my favorite - very solid and well constructed. I'll probably go back to those when it's time for an upgrade.

BTW, welcome to the 'fest!
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2013, 06:37 PM
Cole Raceway Cole Raceway is online now
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I've toured the whole east coast by motorcycle (have switched over to 4 wheels) and like KY roads the best. Roller coaster type through farm land with very little traffic. I also like South eastern OH. My son and I race R/C cars. We travel to Cincinnati, Columbus etc. 5hrs by interstate but we always take the back roads. I hate interstate, bores me to death! Looking forward to bonding with the BMW.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:48 PM
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Switching to 16 inch wheels would allow you to use a tire with a taller sidewall which would soak up the bumps more. But if it were me, I'd just get used to it.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2013, 09:05 PM
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Also check the tire pressures. What tires are on it? Believe it or not, I used to run a Bridgestone tire that felt more comfortable with more air in it.
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2013, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
All the 'xi cars have a single suspension - there is no sport package suspension.
The 'xi suspension is a little stiffer and taller than the "normal" non-xi suspension, and not as stiff as the "sport" suspension (available only on non-xi cars).

If the previous owner put anything but 205/55R16 or 205/50R17 tires and wheels on it (those are the OEM sizes), then you should remove the current ones and go back to OEM size.
Not to thread hijack, but after a recent discussion on suspension, I've been looking at some other local 325xi's and I think there is absolutely a difference with sport suspension, even on an xi. Granted all the cars I'm looking at are wagons. But there are three 325xi wagons that I see regularly, two without sport package and one with. The two without have a visibly larger gap above the wheels to the wheel well, especially in the rear. The one with sport steering wheel, seats, and wheels, matches my ride height.

That being said, I agree with going for OEM wheel size, especially the 16" option. I sold my 17's for that exact reason, harsh ride on bumpy winter roads...
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1972ford View Post
... I think there is absolutely a difference with sport suspension, even on an xi. Granted all the cars I'm looking at are wagons. But there are three 325xi wagons that I see regularly, two without sport package and one with. The two without have a visibly larger gap above the wheels to the wheel well, especially in the rear. The one with sport steering wheel, seats, and wheels, matches my ride height...
1) Wagons have a different suspension than sedans.
2) The rear springs on 'xi sedans always fail and break, which causes ride height diffs.
3) If your speculation is correct, it goes against 12 years of knowledge, posts, and realoem lookups.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2013, 07:41 AM
Cole Raceway Cole Raceway is online now
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My car has Dunlop SP Sports. I put the recommended psi in. F 33 R 38. These tires have a square shoulder like a sport tire. Could I just trade someone that has the non sport wheels 16", should mount right up?????? I'm also worried about the low profile being more prone to damage from potholes.
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2013, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole Raceway View Post
My car has Dunlop SP Sports. I put the recommended psi in. F 33 R 38. These tires have a square shoulder like a sport tire. Could I just trade someone that has the non sport wheels 16", should mount right up?????? I'm also worried about the low profile being more prone to damage from potholes.
I doubt the swap to 16s would provide much gain for you....your current 205/50/17s have a fairly tall (by today`s standards, anyway) sidewall.... dropping to 16s would only get you a 55 section height. I suggest just driving the car, you`ll get used to it pretty quick.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2013, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole Raceway View Post
My car has Dunlop SP Sports. I put the recommended psi in. F 33 R 38. These tires have a square shoulder like a sport tire. Could I just trade someone that has the non sport wheels 16", should mount right up?????? I'm also worried about the low profile being more prone to damage from potholes.
Non-sport 16" wheels off a similar BMW should fit fine, and help with the harsh ride, and also they should be less susceptible to damage from potholes... at least that's my opinion after doing the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
1) Wagons have a different suspension than sedans.
2) The rear springs on 'xi sedans always fail and break, which causes ride height diffs.
3) If your speculation is correct, it goes against 12 years of knowledge, posts, and realoem lookups.
The wagon / sedan difference is definitely a factor, i.e. the rear springs will of course be different from wagon to sedan. However, I recently replaced the springs on my car and the resulting ride height is the same as one of the other wagons I see locally (sport package) and unquestionably different from the others (non-sport).

I know it's strange and goes against what is supposed to be true based on reliable information, however, my observations have indicated a difference.
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Last edited by 1972ford; 01-31-2013 at 12:04 PM.
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