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Discussion Starter #1
Help! I'm completely stumped as to what I should do, and would appreciate anyone's comments, suggestions, etc.

For about the same price, I can either buy a 320i manual with sports suspension (I'm in Canada) or a 325i with similar options, but no sports. Unfortunately, a 325i with sports isn't in the equation right now. In addition, the local dealers don't have any 320i's with the sports package, so I can't do a back to back comparion.

So, what would you suggest? I'm a little concerned that the 320i is fairly slow. I've seen stats that its 0-100kmph is 8.7s! (A 325i is listed as 7.6s). At 8.7s, that's slower than some SUVs, a Honda Accord, and ties with a Ford Explorer to give some examples......

On the other hand, I gather the sports package adds a huge amount to handling, and the driving experience, but is it enough of a difference to make up for the lack of get up and go?

Any help much appreciated!

Thanks,

Mike
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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I personally would get the 325i without sport pkg. Then look on these boards... someone is always selling OEM Sport sways & springs for cheap. Add them in there. Or better yet, buy R/D or UUC sways and aftermarket suspension in a few years.

That 2.2L has got to be a dog (never driven it). Get the bigger motor... you can always change the suspension (aftermarket) but you can never add the lost power.

- JP
 

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Traffic Surgeon
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I don't know if Canadian prices differ much from the US, but how much more is the SP for the 325? I would think that over the long haul, it would only come down to a few dollars difference in your payment. Gotta get the sports package! I would hold out/save up and go with the 325i SP...if you don't you may always wonder... :D
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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I forgot about the excellent sport seats. They are worth the money.

I'd forget every option available (get a stick) and try to get the sport pkg.

320i Base:$34,500
Sport Pkg: $3,900
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$38,400


325i Base:$38,900
Sport Pkg: $2,900
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$41,800

$3,500 difference.

What about a low mileage 2001 325i with SP and a few extra options for the same money?
 

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get the 325 and upgrade as you see fit over time. you can always make a 325i w/out SP into a 325i with SP, but making a 320i into a 325i will be more difficult.

besides, the sport package is great but standard suspension is still pretty good.
 

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Grumpy and Cynical
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Go with the 325. As others have stated, it's a lot easier to upgrade the suspension (and seats) on the 325 than to upgrade the engine of the 320!

Ed
 

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I agree with JP -- go for a 325i slightly used and get it with sport, if you can live with a used car that's not exactly to your specs. I was at a BMW dealer, and I sat in a 320i -- much of the car is decontented from the 325i. You're not only getting a little less motor, but you weren't (at least for 2001) getting xenons, fogs, map lights.

On the other hand, as JP noted, you're looking at a $3,500 difference -- which over the life of the car really isn't a whole lot of money (especially in C$....). The seats in the sport are worth the price of admission themselves.

However, just to confuse you even further, if you really can't bear the thought of a used BMW, and you really can't come up with the extra $3,500, the 320i with sport probably won't kill you. Everyone talks about how much faster the 330i is than the 325i, and there's about one second difference between the two to 100km/h. I have the 325i and it's just fine to me. Let's face it, these cars aren't drag strip kings, but where they really shine is carving up the twisties. For me, I'd give up the second to 100km/h (which can often be compensated for by driving skill), and keep the better handling and seats.

I've been living in Europe for the past year and a half (I did ED on my 325i, and it frankly was one of the faster cars on the road). There are lots of 320i's and 320d's which are even slower, and I don't think a lot of people here (where gas is double what you're paying in Canada) sweat over the loss of one second to 100 km/h.

Good luck!
 

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I agree w/ what Steve said. I lived in Germany for a year and rented various BMWs. On several occasions I drove 320s and 520s. I even drove a 520 touring. You'd expect that this car would be a hopeless pig-- but it was able to keep up just fine on the autobahn. It provided steady smooth acceleration. The 320i's I drove felt even zipper of course. Usually I got a 318 or even 316 and was still able to manage fine and enjoy the great feel and handling of the e46 platform. With this background, it was easy for me to buy a 325 (the lowest model in the US) and not feel slighed. If I could've gotten a 320i and save a few thousand, I'd have been very tempted.

In the US, we require llots of torque (and generally bigger engines) because of all the stop and go (cut and thrust) driving we do. If you don't tend to do this kind of driving, then you'll be fine w/ the 320. My 325 doesn't exactly push me back into my seat w/ its acceleration, so you won't miss much from that perspective. If there is any way you can take an hour long drive of a 320, I'd highly recommend that. You'll probably get a feel for whether the car is too slow for your needs vvery quickly. Of course, other here do have a very good point that you can easily upgrade the suspension, buts its much harder to upgrade your engine.
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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robg said:
Of course, other here do have a very good point that you can easily upgrade the suspension, buts its much harder to upgrade your engine.
There is virtually no way to upgrade the 2.2L. It's not available in the USA, so no US aftermarket company is going to make anything for it. You are stuck.

I'd still go for the 325i non-SP over the 320i SP and upgrade with slightly used OEM suspension parts for next to nothing.

Then again I would pay $3500 difference for the 325i with SP and not get any other options.

- JP
 

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So keep in mind that the 320 is a marketing mis-nomer to give a greater perceived difference between the 325 and 320. The 320 actually has a 2.3 liter (really a 323 which actually was a 2.5, blah blah blah..) and is still pretty fun to drive.

However, I agree with many posting above. Get the 325. You won't miss the sport seats until you have had them. Suspension upgrades are much easier than engine.

My $0.02.

P.S. I purchased mine in the Ottawa area, so if you are looking for recommendations on who to deal with, let me know...
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks!

Many thanks to all who posted - your suggestions, comments, etc. were quite helpful and much appreciated!!

For all those who recommended going with a 325i with sports pacakge, I indeed wish I could. Unfortunately, the price point I want to be at, and that I can get away with with my better half, is basically a 320i with sports or 325 without :cry:

I had indeed contemplated getting a stripped 325i, but while I could give up some of the options, I really, really don't want to do without heated seats, DSC, & pass through. However, it is a valid choice I should perhaps reconsider.

I also looked over all sorts of used 325i's and even 328i's. Unfortunately, BMW (and other dealers) want *WAY* too much for them - ludicrous amounts! It's as if the car's never depreciate..... Bizzarely enough, I even had one BMW used salesmen acknowledge that the prices were nuts.

Thanks again,

Mike
 

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Mike-

I've noticed the same phenomenon w/ certified used cars here in the northeast US. I"ve noticed that even 2000 model year cars have sticker prices of 31k or more-- about the same as new 2002. Very wierd. I wonder if anyone actually buys these cars for these prices. The only scenario I can think of would be:
ignorant buyers think they are getting a good deal because its a certificed used car. They don't even bother to check what anew on costs because they think they can't afford it.

I just can't imagine that many people would be stupid enough to pay the prices BMW dealers ask for these used cars.
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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Re: Thanks!

MikeS said:

I had indeed contemplated getting a stripped 325i, but while I could give up some of the options, I really, really don't want to do without heated seats, DSC, & pass through. However, it is a valid choice I should perhaps reconsider.
DSC is not necessary! The Std ASC+T traction control is fine for Ontario.

Heated seats is another issue, but I'd strip the thing and get a 325 SP than the 320 SP with a couple of options.
 

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Re: Re: Thanks!

JPinTO said:


DSC is not necessary! The Std ASC+T traction control is fine for Ontario.

Heated seats is another issue, but I'd strip the thing and get a 325 SP than the 320 SP with a couple of options.
Totally agree with JP. I don't have DSC, don't miss it.
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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Adrian 330Ci'01 said:
So keep in mind that the 320 is a marketing mis-nomer to give a greater perceived difference between the 325 and 320. The 320 actually has a 2.3 liter (really a 323 which actually was a 2.5, blah blah blah..) and is still pretty fun to drive.
The 320 has a 2.2L engine @ 168hp/155 lbft.

The 323 had a 2.5L engine @ 170hp/181 lbft.

The 325 has a 2.5L engine @ 184hp/175 lbft.


- JP
 

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Strip the 325i to a 325i sport, convince your better half it's a better deal, and get cloth seats and you can forget about having the heated seats. On the other hand, my wife wanted the heated seats with 'ette. In Ottawa, it's a bare necessity....
 

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Oh THATs why the 323 feels so much different than the 320.

I really felt a seat of the pants difference between the 2.2 L 320 and 2.5 L 323.

I was surprised since the HP values we 2 HP off. But what a difference in the Torque!! 26 lb-ft!

Yah, go with the 325... or even better a loaded used 323.

Thanks JP.
 

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I agree with everyone else on DSC. I have never yet driven a car with traction control that did NOT make me want to turn it off. I personally dislike all the nanny programs BMW has added. My old '94 E36 325i didn't even have ASC+T and it was perfectly fine in the snow and bad weather, so long as the tires has tread on them. (That car never saw winter tires, only had all seasons for a very short time).

Find find a way to stretch it to the 325i with sport... Have you negotiated a price, by the way? I should think that you would be able to at least something off. Certainly the price of the sport package.
 

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by the way..... how big of a difference would 11 lbft be ?

would u be able to feel the difference ? ...sorry... a lil off topic
 
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