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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-09-2013, 01:01 PM
Don Whitman Don Whitman is offline
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Totally new to BMW, lots of first time buyer questions. What 3-series should I get?

So I have entered a point in my life where I am ready to upgrade to something with a little more sophistication and style. Currently, I drive a 2010 MAZDA3 (i-Touring) with almost 40K miles. I've only had this car for about a year and a half but I'm eager to move onto better things. First off, let me just preface this thread by saying that in the time I've driven my MAZDA I've really enjoyed it. The fluid handling, interior amenities (bluetooth, Bose audio, steering wheel controls), sunroof, and even styling (to some degree) were all features I enjoyed. The MAZDA3, IMO, is a very solid affordable compact.

But here are some things I did not enjoy: lack of pick-up when accelerating on the highway, no thermostat, no interior luxuries (more on that to come), and finally the snide comments regarding body styling / brand name. Honestly, the pronounced front-grille body styling of the MAZDA3 has never been something that has particularly bothered me yet so many people I know (friends, coworkers, family, etc.) have always felt the need to make some stupid comment.

Anyway, it's time to leave that all behind. Two competitor cars of the BMW that have interested me: Audi and the new Cadillac ATS. Because the ATS is brand new it's still extremely expensive, and thus not an option. I like Audi's new body styling but because it's still so new (and expensive) it's not really an option. Thus, I have decided to go with BMW.

My MAZDA3 cost $16K. It's paid off and once I sell it I'll probably get around $10K, maybe $11 if I'm lucky. My dad just so happens to be a car dealer and so whatever he pays for a BMW is what I'll pay too. Generally he says he finds fairly new 3-series for around $22K. So after the difference between my MAZDA3, I'm hoping to spend no more than $10-15K, which should be around $200-300/month.

But I still have no idea what year I'm looking for and what features I can get at that price. This is where I need some help. I'm clueless when it comes to BMW, I just know that's what I want. I have absolutely no idea, for instance, what E90/E91/etc. means.

I definitely want a modern body style but I'm also pretty sure that the 3-series body styling changed recently, maybe either in 2012 or 2013? That's still pretty new so probably won't be an option. In the end I'll probably go for like a 2010/11.

I'm also still debating between RWD and AWD. I live in MD and so we deal with icy roads, snow, and so forth. I think a lot of people at work just have RWD but I don't know if they put snow tires on or not in the winter. What are the advantages of AWD over RWD and vice versa? Is AWD really necessary? How does RWD handle in the rain? Also is AWD more expensive? What's the difference between the 328 and 335? How about the further trims? How expensive or problematic are BMWs to service? These are all questions I have.

Finally, here is a list of features I really want and am hoping is possible at the budget I have to work with. I would think a lot of these are standard on BMW.

- Halogen headlamps
- Thermostat climate control
- Remote start, keyless entry, and keyless ignition
- Heated seats
- Sunroof
- Good sound system
- Power seats
- iPhone compatibility
- GPS

So there you have it. As you can see I'm currently in the very early market research phase. Any help, insight, knowledge, suggestions, or comments would be very appreciated. Thanks.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. It's all been very helpful. Right now I've narrowed it down to a 328 with AWD, and either '10, '11, or '12. But I still have to consider various options and packages.

Last edited by Don Whitman; 02-18-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2013, 01:35 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Do yourself a favor and review the sticky on this forum, the E90 forum and bimmerforum.com to educate yourself. This isn't a Mazda and these are not inexpensive cars to buy yet alone own if you buy the wrong one.
Regardless of whether you look to buy a 328 or 335 you need to decide if you wish a coupe-convertible-sedan and whether you want ix meaning all wheel drive or i which is not.
328 means 3 series 2.8L engine even though BMW uses a 3.0L engine
335 means 3 series 3.0L engine output of a 3.5L engine since it has twin turbos.

Single greatest advice I can provide is to buy a used BMW that is or has Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) left because if you don't you might be lucky you might not.
Your dad can determine if the BMW has CPO or not by the documentation that should come with the car.
BMW warranty is 4 years/ 50K miles whatever comes first bumper to bumper. That is from the date of delivery to the first owner.

Also BMWs are not Asian cars. They require periodic maintenance and if they don't get it they will cost you a lot more money down the road.
You are unlikely to find any BMW with remote start and if you go to a stereo shop you better go to a place that does them all the time because BMW electronics don't suffer fools well.

Again the best advice is to spend a week reading and researching these forums before asking your dad to look for a particular model. CPO is highly desired...
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2013, 07:02 PM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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Hello Don, Welcome... It seems like you are starting your search correctly, referencing a quality forum and trying to gather information concerning your near-future purchase. Just be careful not to take the info found on the 'fest out of context. Keep in mind that the participants here are not your average run of the mill car owner. By nature, online forums discuss 7 failures for every non-failure (ratio is just a rough guess). My other advice is to get out there (if you havent already) and test drive some of these cars...the correct one will speak to you. I don't think I could own a non-BMW ...Just take your time and dont be afraid of a little travel if your dad can broker you a deal in a neighboring state. Good luck
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  #4  
Old 02-09-2013, 08:18 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is online now
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Don - Do you want a sedan or a coupe? Manual or AT? Do you prefer comfort or sporty? Do you drive quick or relaxed?

Answer those, I'll find you an example car in your price range so you can get an idea of features/price you are looking at for your budget.

PS welcome to the Fest.
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  #5  
Old 02-09-2013, 08:41 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Whitman View Post
....here is a list of features I really want and am hoping is possible at the budget I have to work with. I would think a lot of these are standard on BMW.

- Halogen headlamps
- Thermostat climate control
- Remote start, keyless entry, and keyless ignition
- Heated seats
- Sunroof
- Good sound system
- Power seats
- iPhone compatibility
- GPS

Dear, oh deary-o....you're pretty green.

First and foremost, this is a European snooty car. Thus, you pay for every little option.

If you buy a warrantied vehicle, thank the heavens that BMW covers you bumper t'bumper. Buying used, CPO is widely preferred.

"Wha?" you say? 'Cause $1k repair bills are not at all unusual in the world of BMW. Out of warranty, I recommend you take very good care of your baby, as the cost of abuse is quite a rush.

That said, I've severely modded mine, and it's Rebel Yell good! Plus, whoa, I got NO repair bills! But I pays attention and I cares for my ride. The car's a DIY paradise, with just about every function of the vehicle documented w/repair DIY posts and videos.

A kick to own, it demands to be driven, not ridden in, and can be a fascinating study.
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  #6  
Old 02-09-2013, 09:12 PM
Cultr Cultr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Whitman View Post
- Halogen headlamps
The 335s come with xenon HIDs... so halogens might be tough to retrofit...
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  #7  
Old 02-09-2013, 09:24 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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Fyi

The only OEM sound system worth having is the Logic 7 System .
The base stereo system in the 2010 and early 2011 is very bad.
Also Turbo's mean trouble not just in a BMW but any car.
If you need that kind of performance you have to be willing to pay for it.
Actually the CPO does not cover entertainment electronics and some other things
its not like the first 50k everything is covered warranty.

You should be aware of the issues with Run Flat Tires.

Last edited by ctuna; 02-09-2013 at 09:30 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2013, 10:30 PM
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Chop362 Chop362 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Dear, oh deary-o....you're pretty green.

First and foremost, this is a European snooty car. Thus, you pay for every little option.

If you buy a warrantied vehicle, thank the heavens that BMW covers you bumper t'bumper. Buying used, CPO is widely preferred.

"Wha?" you say? 'Cause $1k repair bills are not at all unusual in the world of BMW. Out of warranty, I recommend you take very good care of your baby, as the cost of abuse is quite a rush.

That said, I've severely modded mine, and it's Rebel Yell good! Plus, whoa, I got NO repair bills! But I pays attention and I cares for my ride. The car's a DIY paradise, with just about every function of the vehicle documented w/repair DIY posts and videos.

A kick to own, it demands to be driven, not ridden in, and can be a fascinating study.
Listen to CW... All truths now hit the books and do your homework this is totally unlike any Asian auto purchase trust me.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2013, 10:48 PM
drunkryan drunkryan is offline
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Location: Arizona
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 328i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Whitman View Post

- Halogen headlamps
- Thermostat climate control
- Remote start, keyless entry, and keyless ignition
- Heated seats
- Sunroof
- Good sound system
- Power seats
- iPhone compatibility
- GPS
I understand where you are at, jsut bought my first BMW. if you are debating the differences between turbo (335) and non (328) than i think things like climate control or iphone compatibility should be much further down the road. go test drive a couple cars and put them through the corners, thats the best way , imho, to figure out what you want.
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2013, 05:44 AM
FormerRotor FormerRotor is offline
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Mein Auto: 335d, M-Sport
Things I miss from my Mazda (RX)...lightweight vehicle handling, sound system.
Thing I don't miss...replacing my engine periodically, gas mileage, putting clients into the rear seats.

If you had the premium package in your Mazda, you may find yourself actually missing luxuries unless you find a 3er loaded with options. My cliff notes? Sport package is mandatory. IDrive is something I preferred, but this is personal preference. Comfort access is worth finding. CONSIDER THE 335D!

Best of luck, bud.
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  #11  
Old 02-18-2013, 06:24 AM
Don Whitman Don Whitman is offline
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Mein Auto: MAZDA3
Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
Do yourself a favor and review the sticky on this forum, the E90 forum and bimmerforum.com to educate yourself. This isn't a Mazda and these are not inexpensive cars to buy yet alone own if you buy the wrong one.
Regardless of whether you look to buy a 328 or 335 you need to decide if you wish a coupe-convertible-sedan and whether you want ix meaning all wheel drive or i which is not.
328 means 3 series 2.8L engine even though BMW uses a 3.0L engine
335 means 3 series 3.0L engine output of a 3.5L engine since it has twin turbos.

Single greatest advice I can provide is to buy a used BMW that is or has Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) left because if you don't you might be lucky you might not.
Your dad can determine if the BMW has CPO or not by the documentation that should come with the car.
BMW warranty is 4 years/ 50K miles whatever comes first bumper to bumper. That is from the date of delivery to the first owner.

Also BMWs are not Asian cars. They require periodic maintenance and if they don't get it they will cost you a lot more money down the road.
You are unlikely to find any BMW with remote start and if you go to a stereo shop you better go to a place that does them all the time because BMW electronics don't suffer fools well.

Again the best advice is to spend a week reading and researching these forums before asking your dad to look for a particular model. CPO is highly desired...
Thanks for the feedback. Based on what you've said I would opt for the 328 xi. I don't need the more powerful, more expensive 335 right now. And being in a Northeastern climate, I'd rather go for the xi or x-drive. Apparently, AWD on the 2012 models and up is called x-drive?

My dad has said the same thing about BMWs being pricey to service but as long as it's nothing too radical and too frequent, I don't think it will be a problem. I'm also one to take care of my stuff.

How is the stock stereo system in the 3-series? I think the Bose system in my MAZDA3 is pretty decent. Before that I was driving a 08 KIA Spectre so anything sounded vastly better than the sound system in that car.

I'm glad I've really narrowed the next car I want down to a BMW 3-series though. I swear I see them all the time now on the highway, in the morning, etc. Just today while driving through my small hometown, a 2012 335i pulled out in front of me and man did it look gorgeous. I would love to have the 2012 328 xi - I think the refreshed body styling is very nice - but I'm afraid that would be way out of my price range. But then again who knows, as long as I'm around $200/300 a month I'll be happy. I'll probably get $10K for my current car and if I put $5K down on a $30K car that would still only be $300/month.

Just the other day my dad told me he almost bought a 2011 328 xi with 50K miles for $21K. Very, very impressive.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:57 AM
Don Whitman Don Whitman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMME30W View Post
Don - Do you want a sedan or a coupe? Manual or AT? Do you prefer comfort or sporty? Do you drive quick or relaxed?

Answer those, I'll find you an example car in your price range so you can get an idea of features/price you are looking at for your budget.

PS welcome to the Fest.
Sedan, AT, prefer comfort but sporty somewhat as well. Also, AWD. And awesome, thanks for the help!
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:01 AM
Don Whitman Don Whitman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cultr View Post
The 335s come with xenon HIDs... so halogens might be tough to retrofit...
Can you get xenon headlamps in the 328? I just want the sharp, brighter, whiter headlamps.
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  #14  
Old 02-18-2013, 11:47 AM
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bear-avhistory bear-avhistory is offline
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Get the newest you can afford that has a warranty, either factory or CPO.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:54 AM
Cultr Cultr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Whitman View Post
Can you get xenon headlamps in the 328? I just want the sharp, brighter, whiter headlamps.
Yes you can, they are also standard for the coupes. You said you required halogen in the first post, that just couldn't happen in a 335.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:04 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Whitman View Post
Sedan, AT, prefer comfort but sporty somewhat as well. Also, AWD. And awesome, thanks for the help!
Here ya go.

And its in Ellicot City.

http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/...a-a79372b320cd

One comment, AWD and "sporty" dont typically go hand in hand.
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Last edited by MMME30W; 02-18-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:46 PM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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Comment on stereo systems

Comment on stereo systems

There are three common ones offered in the US only the L7 or Harmon Kardon is good.
The other two are the Hi Fi and stereo or base system.
The Hi Fi is a I can just about live with this system that easy but not inexpensive to modify .
The stereo system has no amp and is a POS. It only slipped into the US in the 2010 model year and a few early build 2011,s . Its what the rest of the world gets if they don't want to pay
for an upgraded system, although I would hardly call the Hi Fi system very good for a 40 to 50k car.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352586

http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...2&d=1266451970
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2013, 06:01 PM
sonitm sonitm is offline
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As if you didn't get enough advice, here's mine too:

First, if you want all the goodies on your wishlist, the 335 with premium package seems the right choice. Of course there is a higher aquisition price, but more importantly it will have a higher ownership cost.

My advice is to start small, get an entry model 3 series or even 1 series (they're a ton of fun to drive). While used cars are better bang for your buck, a new car comes with warranty and knowing that you never abused it.

As far as RWD and AWD, of course AWD is safer and has better traction on snow. But it also makes the car heavier, thirstier and less responsive. A set of winter tires on a RWD will do the job very well, believe me, I live in Canada and I've seen a few snow storms...

I hope this helps, and that you'll be behind the wheel of a beamer in no time!

Cheers!
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