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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 10-14-2005, 08:38 AM
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Switching from e90 to e46! Oh the humanity...

So I thought it would be humorous after driving an e90 for almost 6 months now to use an e46 for a week and see what the differences were.* I drove an e46 for 3 years, but coming back to it from an e90 my perspective completely changed. Luckily, my wife is not using her 2003 325xi this week, so I have been commuting in the old beast and have some opinions (please excuse my bullet point review)

+ Generally the e46 feels very loose. The steering, handling, fit and feel are all closer to a Buick that I would like.
+ The steering wheel feels amazingly too slim in my hands. Like I am driving an old car ...from the 70s.
+ What crazy loon would put the window controls in the center console?!?!
+ Not having the automatic lights and wipers is a real drag.
+ I can not for the life of me get used to turning this car on. Insert a key and rotate it? That is so weird. Where is the Start button??!?!
+ I will never ever EVER buy a car again which does not have Bluetooth phone integration. Feels amazingly unsafe now to talk on the phone while holding it in my hand.
+ That passenger side door seems really close....as does the rear seat. This is a much smaller car.
+ Using a baby seat with the 2003 seat belt set up (the 2003 has no latch system and it's not just a lap belt in the middle seating position, but a shoulder belt too) makes the baby seat way less secure than with just a lap belt or with the latch (love the latch system).
+ My head touches the ceiling. If I did not have a moon roof, this would be a bigger problem (I'm 6'2")
+ While it's great having huge honking cup holders in the center console, they are freakin' ugly and do not fit the look of this interior.
+ I miss the ability to hide my ipod and it's wires in the center console (e46 ipod wired to the aux in in the glovebox & powered by cigarette lighter)
+ Where the hell is the iDrive controller on this thing?
+ The armrest in this car is a little weird when you think about it. Hovering in the air like that and somewhat covering up one of the cupholders.
+ These wipers are crap
+ Standard wheels on the e46 look much better than the standard ones on the e90.
+ The absence of the e90 seat belt clicking all the time is blissful.
+ The non-xenon lights of this e46 are so dim I want to put them permanently on hi beam. It's like I taped a couple of flashlights to the front of the car. I also miss the headlamp turning action of my e90. That's a rockin' feature in my deer filled country neighborhood.
+ The rump of the car looks really small compared to my e90.
+ The entire car is looking much older is design now. Definitely a not current model.
+ Ride is softer over the obstacle course known as downtown Philadelphia (pothole anyone?)
+ This size of the volume control on the dash is better than the small one on my iDrive e90

You will be glad to know after my review that this e46 will be replaced in March 06 with a 2006 e91 325xiT and my driving the old car this week has definitely informed what options I will be getting in the new one.

*I realize that some of the options not on my e46 were available for that model, but hey this is supposed to be unofficial and fun. Many people have the more basic models of e46 and many of the options of an e46 became standard on the e90 so the comparison is not totally without merit.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2005, 11:02 AM
kalemkea kalemkea is offline
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Blax, thanks for the entertaining review.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2005, 11:30 AM
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I wholly agree with your opinion that that the steering feels looser on the E46. I had one as a loaner for a few days. It's still a wonderful car, and I really don't know why I went with a Volvo S80 instead of the E46. But it made me miss my E90 even more.
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2005, 01:51 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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ONe thing- about the IPod location. I use the icelink (hooked up to the trunk) in my e46. And, i'm able to fit an ipod inside the armrest compartment. Works very nicely.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2005, 01:53 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Interesting observatoins...

ONe thing- about the IPod location. I use the icelink (hooked up to the trunk) in my e46. And, i'm able to fit an ipod inside the armrest compartment. Works very nicely.

Also regarding the location of the e46 armrest-- yeah it sucks that it blocks 1 cupholder. But, I'd rather have the option of using 1 or 2 solid, easy to reach cupholders occasionally or a well-placed and comfortable armrest. With the e90, you can always use the cupholders, but they're inconvenient and not as solid. And the armrest isn't as well placed or comfortable IMO.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2005, 02:38 PM
seanwalmsley seanwalmsley is offline
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Great perspective!

Having traded in my 2003 325xi for a 2006 325xi just last week, I really can relate to your comments--in fact if I had to make my own list, it would be almost identical. The 2006 325xi is better in almost every area, and by substantial margins! My ONLY complaint--voice commands don't work (or I can't make them work). Strange really, because if you call BMW Customer Service, it has the most incredible voice recognition I have ever encountered!

My ipod fits snugly inside the center console, where I can adjust it much more easily than in the glove compartment (but why oh why didn't they integrate it with the nav system?? You pay 2000.00 and don't get what a regular non-nav car gets? I don't get it.)

The 2006 325 does make one wonder (a) why one would fork out thousands more for a 330, and (b) why one would fork out even more for a 5-series. My car feels like a 5-series, and even looks like one from inside the car.

Bravo!
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2005, 03:56 PM
adc adc is offline
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I don't necessarily want to rain on your parade - but just because I can (and because I sensed a little humor in your post) - I'll offer some counterpoints. I left out the items that you added in jest and those that (I hope) you realize could be fitted to the E46 (either in packages or even retreofitted).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blax
+ Generally the e46 feels very loose. The steering, handling, fit and feel are all closer to a Buick that I would like.
+ What crazy loon would put the window controls in the center console?!?!
+ Using a baby seat with the 2003 seat belt set up (the 2003 has no latch system and it's not just a lap belt in the middle seating position, but a shoulder belt too) makes the baby seat way less secure than with just a lap belt or with the latch (love the latch system).
+ While it's great having huge honking cup holders in the center console, they are freakin' ugly and do not fit the look of this interior.
+ Where the hell is the iDrive controller on this thing?
+ These wipers are crap
+ Well duh. It's the AWD version that doesn't have a true sport package.
+ Not a crazy loon, but a genius. When driving a stickshift your right hand always hovers around the gearknob while the left hand always holds the steering wheel. In this configuration it's easier to use the console controls. I'm reminded of that every time I drive my wife's X3...
+ Every car model from 2001 on has LATCH. Your 2003 most definitely has it. RTFM.
+ You can make the cup holders go away with the European tray insert that has a sliding cover. Neat, elegant and cheap at around $50 or so.
+ Thank God they don't have it on the E46. It would bring my spirits down everytime I saw it...
+ Get the blades changed under warranty. I do this at least once a year.

All in all, I find almost all your complaints to be positive things in the E46's favor. That's just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions...

adc
03 330 ZHP
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2005, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc
+ Well duh. It's the AWD version that doesn't have a true sport package.
+ Not a crazy loon, but a genius. When driving a stickshift your right hand always hovers around the gearknob while the left hand always holds the steering wheel. In this configuration it's easier to use the console controls. I'm reminded of that every time I drive my wife's X3...
Amen, if I want window controls on the door, I'll buy a Civic!
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2005, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanwalmsley
The 2006 325 does make one wonder (a) why one would fork out thousands more for a 330, and (b) why one would fork out even more for a 5-series. My car feels like a 5-series, and even looks like one from inside the car.
Definitely, seems crazy to spend so much more for the 5 when it's the same size and has a funkier interior.

The only reason I don't ED an E90 330i is cause it's too big, I don't want a 5 series.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2005, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Interesting observatoins...

ONe thing- about the IPod location. I use the icelink (hooked up to the trunk) in my e46. And, i'm able to fit an ipod inside the armrest compartment. Works very nicely.

Also regarding the location of the e46 armrest-- yeah it sucks that it blocks 1 cupholder. But, I'd rather have the option of using 1 or 2 solid, easy to reach cupholders occasionally or a well-placed and comfortable armrest. With the e90, you can always use the cupholders, but they're inconvenient and not as solid. And the armrest isn't as well placed or comfortable IMO.

You hooked up a IPod to a e46? How easy is it to do?
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2005, 05:56 PM
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Saintor Saintor is offline
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Cool

I'll offer graciously my counterpart.

After having driven many E90 for a few hours and going back in my E90, I had a different perspective.

My E46 felt like a smaller and nimbler car, more kind of a go-car. I don'T get the "loose" impression you are talking about. Like somebody said, Xi are not as good as RWD Sport Pack. The E90 definitelky feels larger and quieter.

The styling of E46 is a better interpretation of what a BMW should be.

I am not dismissing the E90, it is just that unlike the E46, it is not instantly love.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2005, 06:10 PM
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tom @ eas tom @ eas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
You hooked up a IPod to a e46? How easy is it to do?
Very easy, send me a quick email and I can send instructions.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2005, 09:23 PM
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Blax Blax is offline
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adc, thanks for realizing I was not being serious, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc
+ Every car model from 2001 on has LATCH. Your 2003 most definitely has it. RTFM.
holy crap!! I had no idea. You are of course correct, and in my mind are now a king among men. Thanks for the tip. Baby is so new he has not been in that car yet, but I am sure he thanks you too.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2005, 09:32 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
You hooked up a IPod to a e46? How easy is it to do?

Did you mean "e90"? I say that because it seems strange that anyone who frequents these boards would be surprised that you could hook up an ipod to an e46. There's a lot of different optoins. Icelink, Apple/BMW, aux-in, etc.
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2005, 09:46 PM
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EdCT EdCT is offline
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I've driven both E90's, the 325 w/SP, the 330 without.

Both were very nice cars to drive with the sp equipped model eliciting complaints from my wife regarding the ride.

I was not impressed with the interiors of either car finding obvious signs of cost-cutting, particularly in the headliner and A and B pillar materials.

Nice steering wheel and feel, particularly on the sp-equipped model. The 330 had excellent power even with the step.

However, after having driven both cars, getting back into my 323 (w/47k on it) feels no less fun and of no less quality - my car has no sense of looseness (you might want to get that checked), is nimble, comfortable and I still prefer its interior.

To each his own, I guess

Ed
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2005, 10:19 PM
Alfred Neuman Alfred Neuman is offline
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the window buttons in the center console was a brilliant idea.

how many times have i rolled my window down and smoked to only get the switch wet and replaced? way too many times.
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  #17  
Old 10-14-2005, 10:25 PM
Alfred Neuman Alfred Neuman is offline
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you forgot the e46 has a spare tire : and dipstick (just had to rehash the stuff people been sayin heh)

personallyi find the design of the e46 a tad nicer than the e90. i can blame a lot of it due to the window buttons in the middle. that to me, reminds me of a bmw. to me, its those small quirky things that i liked bout the e46.

im sad i cant purchase anew e46 or i wouldve. i might look into the e90 coupe if it looks nicer, but by that time i'll be driving a TL or is350.
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  #18  
Old 10-15-2005, 12:49 AM
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I was tossing up on a pretty stock M3 or a more loaded E90.

I went for the E90 - while I like the M3 - I am finding as I see more E90's around that the E46 - even the M3 - is starting to look aged in styling. IMHO

I am glad I went the E90 road - after my 3 year lease I'll be picking up an E90 M3
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  #19  
Old 10-15-2005, 11:15 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawg90
Amen, if I want window controls on the door, I'll buy a Civic!
Amen indeed. I drove a Renault Megane rental recently (hey, if you want light steering, try this car then get back into your E46 and it will feel like a race car) and had to deal with the window switches on the door. You change gear with one hand, and operate the window (frequently, with kids, warm weather and lost asking for directions) with the other. All in one place would be nice, so one hand can be kept on the wheel without swapping. Small point, obviously
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  #20  
Old 10-15-2005, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robg
Did you mean "e90"? I say that because it seems strange that anyone who frequents these boards would be surprised that you could hook up an ipod to an e46. There's a lot of different optoins. Icelink, Apple/BMW, aux-in, etc.
Why?

I just purchased a IPod and never thought of hooking it up to my e46.
I guess I'm late to the game.
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  #21  
Old 10-15-2005, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
Why?

I just purchased a IPod and never thought of hooking it up to my e46.
I guess I'm late to the game.
No worries, better late than never. I just emailed you a bunch of information on the ice>Link Plus - you'll be an expert by the afternoon.
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  #22  
Old 10-17-2005, 08:51 AM
adc adc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blax
Thanks for the tip. Baby is so new he has not been in that car yet, but I am sure he thanks you too.
Your arms and back will thank me too.

adc
03 330 ZHP
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  #23  
Old 10-17-2005, 08:56 AM
adc adc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artslinger
You hooked up a IPod to a e46? How easy is it to do?
Not to step on Tom's toes (he's a great resource) - I just recently hooked up my new iPOD to my 2003 330i in about 30min and $65. I used the OEM Aux-In connector kit (plugs in the back of the radio in 2002+ models and gives a line-in connection) and a Belkin TuneDok holder for the iPOD that goes in the cupholder (in black, to match the interior).

Now the iPOD sits at finger reach and the sound through the AuxIn is superb, better than the CD player. That's because I use 320kb compression on the songs (CD quality) and because you can use various EQ settings on the iPOD to modify the sound that goes out, thus compensating for some defficiencies in the OEM setup.

But if I ever wanted a totally stealth and perfectly integrated system, I'd use the ICE Link Plus. (Xmas is getting closer ).

adc
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  #24  
Old 10-17-2005, 09:09 AM
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iateyourcheese iateyourcheese is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawg90
Amen, if I want window controls on the door, I'll buy a Civic!
The e90 people counter the lack of a driver-oriented dash with "yeah well our window switches have moved."
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  #25  
Old 10-17-2005, 09:31 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is online now
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Artslinger-

No problem. Hope you find a solution that works well! BTW, if you have a 2001 or older E46 be careful about buying the Icelink. You may have a bunch of issues ( I do ). Make sure that whoever you buy from offers a money back guarantee if you're not happy with the way it works. It'll work, but just not as well it should.
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