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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 05-03-2005, 04:59 PM
sfwanderer sfwanderer is offline
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330i options

I've never owned a BMW before and I am considering a purchase of an '05 330i. I'm stretching to get the 330 instead of the 325, so I need to make sure that I only get the options that are worth it.

(1) The NAV: I've seen it on older models and was unimpressed by the jog dial as compared to the touch screen Nav systems on other vehicles. Feedback on the convenience of the NAV would be appreciated. I was considering going without it and getting a little portable GPS if I really needed one. Anyone have experience with that?

(2) Sport Suspension: I'm wondering whether the Sport suspension or any other feature of the performance package is going to make a big difference in the feel of the drive. I'll use the car for city driving and like to accelerate at the low speeds. Any opinions?

(3) Leatherette. Does it last and wear well? My current car has leather and I love it, but it was difficult to tell the difference betw the leather and leatherette at the bmw dealership. I also have a dog, so I'm wondering how well the leather would hold up.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2005, 05:39 PM
whitewagon whitewagon is offline
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1) dont know

2) You're likely to be stuck with whatever you can find, with the '06's coming out. But if you can I would actually lean towards the non-sport suspension for the streets of SF. My non-sport 325 wagon handled it with no problem, but it also had 16" rims, while all 330i's have 17". My sport-pkg 330ci is a little rough, but acceptable most of the time.

3.) Again, it will probably be hard to find a 330i with leatherette, I think most of them are optioned with leather. My wagon had leatherette and looked new when I sold it, and it was good with the dogs. BMW does sell a sort of leatherette pet pouch which will protect your back seats.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2005, 06:01 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfwanderer
(1) The NAV: I've seen it on older models and was unimpressed by the jog dial as compared to the touch screen Nav systems on other vehicles. Feedback on the convenience of the NAV would be appreciated. I was considering going without it and getting a little portable GPS if I really needed one. Anyone have experience with that?

The nav inteface can be cumbersome at best. That being said, it DOES work, and it has come in handy a LOT. No more printing out directions ahead of time, no more worrying about finding the closest gas station.

You can get the same function from a Streetpilot 2610, but the integration into the dash (compared to a big device on top of the dash) is worth the difference in price in my opinion.



As far as #2, I think the sport suspension is a requirement. I understand that it's not that way for everyone, but I enjoy driving way too much to drive on regular suspension .
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2005, 06:15 PM
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SizzlerMA SizzlerMA is offline
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Skip the Nav. Do it aftermarket if you need it . . .

I love the perf pkg---drives like a dream, but honestly, if you're going to drive in the city and accelerate slowly, why do you even need the extra power/handling of a 330 vs a 325? Get the 325 and save some $.
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  #5  
Old 05-04-2005, 12:55 PM
adgrant adgrant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfwanderer
(1) The NAV: I've seen it on older models and was unimpressed by the jog dial as compared to the touch screen Nav systems on other vehicles. Feedback on the convenience of the NAV would be appreciated. I was considering going without it and getting a little portable GPS if I really needed one. Anyone have experience with that?

(2) Sport Suspension: I'm wondering whether the Sport suspension or any other feature of the performance package is going to make a big difference in the feel of the drive. I'll use the car for city driving and like to accelerate at the low speeds. Any opinions?

(3) Leatherette. Does it last and wear well? My current car has leather and I love it, but it was difficult to tell the difference betw the leather and leatherette at the bmw dealership. I also have a dog, so I'm wondering how well the leather would hold up.

Thanks in advance!
1) Definitely get the NAV. I used a portable GPS unit before I got a car with NAV and there is no comparison. A built in NAV is much easier to use, even one that does not have a touch screen. A built in system will still work in a tunnel, a hand held unit will not. A built in unit typically has all the maps for North America on a single DVD in the trunk, you typically have to load the handheld from a PC. You will hear the audio instructions from the built in unit via the cars sound system.

2) I would not go with the sports suspension in a car that was mostly used for city driving. Then again, I live in NYC.

3) I have always hated leatherette and would never buy a car which had it. For me the choices are cloth or leather. For BMW coth is not an option in the U.S., so for me leather is not really an option either. I have to get it.
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2005, 01:14 PM
Nefilim Nefilim is offline
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I believe all 330s has the sport suspension, not the wheels though....
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2005, 01:22 PM
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hugh1850 hugh1850 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nefilim
I believe all 330s has the sport suspension, not the wheels though....

You are right. The 330i comes standard with the sport suspension. The sport package has upgraded seats, steering wheel, wheels, and a different front and rear bumper. The only way to soften the ride is to have 17's w/ all-seasons (non-sport wheels). The Performance Package has 18" w/ performance wheels and a more aggressive suspension package.
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  #8  
Old 05-04-2005, 02:16 PM
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norihaga norihaga is offline
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Your dog will gouge the leather badly - you want leatherette, which is easy to clean after your pooch snarfs that bowl of popcorn and has a "negative reaction" all over your back seat. It will also resist paws and claws better.

Leatherette not only looks just dandy when it's new, it will look like that in 5 years. Definitely the way to go.

As to sport suspension, if you mean the Performance Package (a/k/a ZHP) suspension, I don't know, but if you don't, the "sports" suspension is actually standard with the 330. Only the non sport-kit 325i has a different, non-sport suspension set up. Coupes and the 330i come with the same, firmer suspension.

Edit: if you're buying a 5-speed or a ZHP, and you drive mostly in the city, I agree that you might want to consider the 325. If you don't get to stretch the car's legs frequently the extra power and torque won't get used. If you make regular trips down the PCH, then you will want the ZHP and some doughnut-seeking missiles.

Remember, this car has higher dynamic limits than your average front-wheel drive econobox - it's no sports car, but you need to be really pushing on to get close to using its performance on the street. You can't realistically do that in a built-up area - you would be going far too fast with no room for error. So a sport-package 325i will be more than enough car for SF traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfwanderer
I've never owned a BMW before and I am considering a purchase of an '05 330i. I'm stretching to get the 330 instead of the 325, so I need to make sure that I only get the options that are worth it.

(1) The NAV: I've seen it on older models and was unimpressed by the jog dial as compared to the touch screen Nav systems on other vehicles. Feedback on the convenience of the NAV would be appreciated. I was considering going without it and getting a little portable GPS if I really needed one. Anyone have experience with that?

(2) Sport Suspension: I'm wondering whether the Sport suspension or any other feature of the performance package is going to make a big difference in the feel of the drive. I'll use the car for city driving and like to accelerate at the low speeds. Any opinions?

(3) Leatherette. Does it last and wear well? My current car has leather and I love it, but it was difficult to tell the difference betw the leather and leatherette at the bmw dealership. I also have a dog, so I'm wondering how well the leather would hold up.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by norihaga; 05-04-2005 at 02:23 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2005, 02:26 PM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norihaga
Your dog will gouge the leather badly - you want leatherette, which is easy to clean after your pooch snarfs that bowl of popcorn and has a "negative reaction" all over your back seat. It will also resist paws and claws better.

Leatherette not only looks just dandy when it's new, it will look like that in 5 years. Definitely the way to go.

As to sport suspension, if you mean the Performance Package (a/k/a ZHP) suspension, I don't know, but if you don't, the "sports" suspension is actually standard with the 330. Only the non sport-kit 325i has a different, non-sport suspension set up. Coupes and the 330i come with the same, firmer suspension.

Edit: if you're buying a 5-speed or a ZHP, and you drive mostly in the city, I agree that you might want to consider the 325. If you don't get to stretch the car's legs frequently the extra power and torque won't get used. If you make regular trips down the PCH, then you will want the ZHP and some doughnut-seeking missiles.

Remember, this car has higher dynamic limits than your average front-wheel drive econobox - it's no sports car, but you need to be really pushing on to get close to using its performance on the street. You can't realistically do that in a built-up area - you would be going far too fast with no room for error. So a sport-package 325i will be more than enough car for SF traffic.
Yes. My '99 323i with 117K on the clock has Leatherette seats that are virtually mint. My '04 M3 with 100K fewer miles shows abotu the same wear. And that's only because I use the Maddux brothers ingress/egress technique. Otherwise, the leather will crack and crease badly within a year or two.
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2005, 03:35 PM
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wag-zhp wag-zhp is offline
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1) I would buy a map or use mapquest and save my money for # 2.
2) I wouldn't buy a BMW without the sport package. The seats alone are worth the price.
3) Leatherette holds up better than leather. The general population can't tell the difference between the two, but nearly everyone on this board can. Personally I like leather, but it is expensive. You might want to drop it.

If you're trying to save money drop the nav. You might not be able to find many 330's without leather. Good luck.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2005, 03:44 PM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfwanderer
...I'm stretching to get the 330 instead of the 325...
Bad idea.

I can understand stretching to own a home, but stretching yourself financially to own a car, a depreciating asset, only spells disaster.

If your annual income is less than 2X the out-the-door price of the 330, think twice.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2005, 04:51 PM
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NetEngWiz NetEngWiz is offline
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I love the NAV and it has been well worth the money. My wife is jealous and is determined to get a NAV option in her next vehicle. Also, I would not pass up the sports package.
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2005, 07:03 AM
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hugh1850 hugh1850 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK
Bad idea.

I can understand stretching to own a home, but stretching yourself financially to own a car, a depreciating asset, only spells disaster.

If your annual income is less than 2X the out-the-door price of the 330, think twice.
Crap, Does that mean I need to make in exess of $300K to get that DB9?
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2005, 08:20 AM
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iateyourcheese iateyourcheese is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh1850
Crap, Does that mean I need to make in exess of $300K to get that DB9?
That rule is only for daily drivers and doesn't count for garage queens.
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  #15  
Old 05-05-2005, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iateyourcheese
That rule is only for daily drivers and doesn't count for garage queens.
Actually, for garage queens or exotics, you need a lot more than 2X the out the door price of the car. I wouldn't attempt to own a $100,000+ car unless I make over $400,000 a year, or have the extra $100,000 lying around I don't need, or if I'm LEASING.

The second your lifestyle changes (marriage, divorce, lose your job, company in the crapper...etc), that $100,000 immediately become a liability. You need to make significantly MORE to afford the upper echelon cars.
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:51 AM
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2005, 10:09 AM
mfstout mfstout is offline
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Imo

In my humble opinion:

Skip Nav, skip i-Drive, definitely skip active steering.

Get leather (cover seat for dog) get sports package (ride is awesome and wheels look much better than 17" things, seats are nice) get premium only if you care about bluetooth and lumbar support, otherwise skip premium.

Enjoy!

m
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  #18  
Old 05-05-2005, 07:50 PM
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I recommend SP, Leather and Bi-Xenons. Get the 6-spd manual and save another $1200.00 over the sliptronic.
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