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Hi all, I'm in the market for a new car, and I feel that BMW is the absolute way to go! I love both the 330i and the 530i and either will be fully loaded with almost every option box toggled. I pose this question to the owners out there: Why would one pick per say a 5 over a 3 or vice versa? I love the 3's looks slightly better but I like the idea that the 5 will have more legroom. I'm single guy with out kids so the legroom would only matter to clients and coworkers who don't mind using up my gas riding along. Price for either isn't too much of a concern as I generally keep a vehicle more than 150 thousand miles. In short, what made you choose your car over the others? One final question, does the 3 have the ability to vent at rest during summer to cool the car down slightly? Thanks a bunch ~ Nathan
 

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Given your situation you can't go wrong with either one.

The 3 series is smaller. Occasional rear passengers is ok but no long road trips unless they are kids.

5 has more room and the handling is not quite as tight as the 3.

The 5 let's you get many options that you can't get on the 3.

I am not sure about the park car vent on the 3.
 

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nathand said:
One final question, does the 3 have the ability to vent at rest during summer to cool the car down slightly? Thanks a bunch ~ Nathan
This is programmable (2 separate timers) if you get Nav/iDrive on the E90.

There's no parked-car ventilation on an E90 w/o Nav.
 

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nathand said:
Hi all, I'm in the market for a new car, and I feel that BMW is the absolute way to go! I love both the 330i and the 530i and either will be fully loaded with almost every option box toggled. I pose this question to the owners out there: Why would one pick per say a 5 over a 3 or vice versa? I love the 3's looks slightly better but I like the idea that the 5 will have more legroom. I'm single guy with out kids so the legroom would only matter to clients and coworkers who don't mind using up my gas riding along. Price for either isn't too much of a concern as I generally keep a vehicle more than 150 thousand miles. In short, what made you choose your car over the others? One final question, does the 3 have the ability to vent at rest during summer to cool the car down slightly? Thanks a bunch ~ Nathan
Good question - I think the best thing is for you to test drive both, equipped as you would purchase them. They drive like two different cars. The 3er is more sporty on the road, the 5er, somewhat less so.

I also liked the 3ers styling better (cannot get past Dame Edna up front) and the fit and finish in the 3er is a bit more refined. The 3er is the beneficiary of two more years of BMW´s engineering as well.
 

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Very Interesting Question

All I can offer is what my situation was like when deciding upon my E90 330i (PP, SP, etc..).
I had somewhat of a similar dilemma (not really). I knew I wanted a 3 series for a while (pre-e90) but hadn't planned on getting a new car. With a world cup trip coming around and the more I learned about ED, I started considering getting a new car. I was always focused on the 3 series for a few reasons. I live in SF, so owning a big car is a hassle. I've never been a fan of big cars anyway (probably because my dad always drove Lincolns). But essentially, when the 330 and 530 had the same engines, it made no sense to me to purchase a larger, heavier car with the same engine. It just seemed like performance-wise, the smaller, lighter car would be more nimble with the same engine. So if I were to get a 5 series, it would have to be at least a 545. But again, I'm just not into bigger cars. The final piece of it was that I wanted a BMW for performance and handling, not for luxury. All the new 3 series luxury refinements are nice and all, and I appreciate them, but I bought the car because of the drive. A 5 series crosses the line from performance to luxury a little more than I wanted.

My 2 cents
 

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nathand said:
Hi all, I'm in the market for a new car, and I feel that BMW is the absolute way to go! I love both the 330i and the 530i and either will be fully loaded with almost every option box toggled. I pose this question to the owners out there: Why would one pick per say a 5 over a 3 or vice versa? I love the 3's looks slightly better but I like the idea that the 5 will have more legroom. I'm single guy with out kids so the legroom would only matter to clients and coworkers who don't mind using up my gas riding along. Price for either isn't too much of a concern as I generally keep a vehicle more than 150 thousand miles. In short, what made you choose your car over the others? One final question, does the 3 have the ability to vent at rest during summer to cool the car down slightly? Thanks a bunch ~ Nathan
Nathan, you sound like me!!!!! :yikes:

The E90 is lighter, sportier, better looking, faster and less money.

It has plenty of room in the front and you're a single guy.

People think the 5 is a better car (more money :rolleyes: ) , but the 3 is more FUN!

Do you want to trade FUN for more rear leg room? :rofl:

I've driven Honda Accords for the last 21 years and plan on keeping my 330xi for at least 10 years.
 

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For me, I want to stick to smaller size cars but not really small. Something between the size of a Corolla and Camry. The 330i fits the bill very well and it has very good value. I'm not sure if I would ever go up to the 5-series size. I personally would probably continue to stick with the 3-series even for future generations unless it got huge.
 

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I think if you post this in the E60 section, the answer will be the 5. Of course the common answer in here will be the 3. I currently own an E90 330i and will also be picking up a 550i in August.

I think the 3 is slightly more "tossable". However, if you are a golfer like I am, the E90 is an extremely tight fit for more than one set of sticks. If space is a large factor, I say get the 5. Otherwise the 3 is an extremely fun car to drive.

Oh, one more thing. If I'm not mistaken, the 5 doesn't weigh much more than the 3 because of the extensive use of aluminum in the body.
 

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Why I got another 3: sportier, easier to park here in SF, feels smaller, I don't need more room since I haven't any offspring or golf clubs.
 

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I had the same dillema for a while. But i finally settled on the 3, which at this time is still on a boat somewhere over the ocean :) .

I test drove both. the 5 is a brillant car, and the sport seats with the sport package is HEAVEN. But there are some drawbacks as far as i can tell:

1. the same engine drive both cars, but the 5 is heavier.

2. some of the interior elements on the 5 does not sit well with me. The rear center armrest with the integrated head restraint look pretty bizzare and the center console and armrest area is trimmed with plastic. the center armrest in the 3 (front) is leather. Overall, the 3 is a step towards design maturity of the new BMW design template.

3. Logic 7 costs extra on the 5. Its standard on the 330i

4. Small car is mroe managable in tight spaces. Of course, living in Houston that might not be your primary concern.

In all, i simply like the 3 better than the 5.
 

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I went through the same thing. Finally decided on the 5 as I really needed more interior room as I normally have many adult passengers and I really wanted the SMG.
 

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Are you buying new?

Because within a couple months the question will become 530 vs. 328i or 335i, and the answer there will of course be a little more complex.
 

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Even more complex if they put the new twin turbo engine into the 530i and make the 530i a 535i.

I'm guessing that this will be an eventual change.

I would go with the 335i Sedan over the as is 255 hp 530i...

But...

It is a much tougher question if BMW upgrades the current 530i engine.
 

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MrSilver said:
Even more complex if they put the new twin turbo engine into the 530i and make the 530i a 535i.
I guess we must have different ways of thinking. To me, if they both had the new turbo, then the question would be virtually identical to what it was when he first asked. That is to say, the powerplant would not be a factor, making it less complex than a 335i vs. 530i comparison.
 

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I would tell you 3. I traded in my E60 (2004 530i) for an E90 330i. Why, in my honest opinion, the new 5 is crap! I also had until recently an E39 (2003 530i) previous body style, and that IS a car!

Just test drive them both. Take the 5 out to an interstate or so, bring it up to 70mph at least, and feel the wind just move the car, like if you were on a sailboat, not a BMW. No feel of the road. Like you are driving your dad's Buick. Now get in the 3 and hit it! You will have your answers then...
 

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Jspira said:
Good question - I think the best thing is for you to test drive both, equipped as you would purchase them. They drive like two different cars. The 3er is more sporty on the road, the 5er, somewhat less so.

I also liked the 3ers styling better (cannot get past Dame Edna up front) and the fit and finish in the 3er is a bit more refined. The 3er is the beneficiary of two more years of BMW***180;s engineering as well.
:thumbup: I agree with this guy 100%. You MUST take a test drive of each, and as importantly, just sit in the backseat for a little while in each car with the front seats positioned adequately for adults to see how much "real" rearseat legroom you get.

Based on your situation I might lean towards the 3 if the fun of driving is a big factor. Additionally, what percentage of the time will you have people in the backseat. If you will be transporting just one other person then he'll be in the front and enjoying the ride with you! Good luck.

One other thing - I believe the e90 3series is roomier than previous versions (i.e. the e46) and I've had average size adults in the backseat for short trips with absolutely no complaints.
 

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torrentami said:
All I can offer is what my situation was like when deciding upon my E90 330i (PP, SP, etc..).
I had somewhat of a similar dilemma (not really). I knew I wanted a 3 series for a while (pre-e90) but hadn't planned on getting a new car. With a world cup trip coming around and the more I learned about ED, I started considering getting a new car. I was always focused on the 3 series for a few reasons. I live in SF, so owning a big car is a hassle. I've never been a fan of big cars anyway (probably because my dad always drove Lincolns). But essentially, when the 330 and 530 had the same engines, it made no sense to me to purchase a larger, heavier car with the same engine. It just seemed like performance-wise, the smaller, lighter car would be more nimble with the same engine. So if I were to get a 5 series, it would have to be at least a 545. But again, I'm just not into bigger cars. The final piece of it was that I wanted a BMW for performance and handling, not for luxury. All the new 3 series luxury refinements are nice and all, and I appreciate them, but I bought the car because of the drive. A 5 series crosses the line from performance to luxury a little more than I wanted.

My 2 cents
I'm also in the market for a 330i (which is one of the reasons I joined this forum) and I must say this thread is most appealing to me. It might as well have been titled 'the 330i vs TL, A4, IS' in addition to the 530i. I quoted Torrentami as I echo almost to a T what torrentami said. The only exception is that I have kids and I do golf, however I have my wifes Murano for hauling all of us around. (Mind you I plan on getting her an A3 anyway :) )

I have an FX now, and had a G35 coupe before that (which was absolutely the best 'driving' car I ever had). I want to 'feel' the road again, I want to feel that 'tight' ride. I hope the E90 can deliver that.

Until joining here, I had no idea that the 335 sedan was coming out and now my dilemma is whether to wait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Awesome responses, thanks for the info. I just started hearing about the 335i coming out, and the coupe is very nice IMO. I plan on going on test drives to see which wins me over. I have driven my 4x4 GMC Yukon for so long that I'm sure it will take some time to really feel the difference between the 3 or 5. My Dad's new z4 is so sporty compared to the Yukon which I used to think drove nicely. I plan on looking into the CPO 7 series and see whats available and how its warranty looks. A 2 year old 745Li seems to be around my 50-60k price range and that would definitly make an impression pulling into the office! I'm off this weekend to drive cars and learn all I can. Thanks everyone ~ Nathan
 
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