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· Registered
57 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious. I think the 2003 530i is still the current body, yes? I bought a 2002 330xi and love it. But that TT 530 being talked about for the next version sounds [email protected]$$. Of course, I would never buy a car like a BMW in its first two model years.

But how many of you would trade your 330(x)i for brand new current body 530i with SP?

· 2001 M3:Stick, what else?
3,319 Posts
The E39 is virtually the same in interior space as the E46. Big on the inside, small on the outside. So you will be swapping to a heavier car, that's the same usable space for a net performance loss.

· Hated by hater haters
1,667 Posts
As my 323i came to the end of its lease I was planning to get a loaded 330ci. Just before I was ready to order, I decided to test drive a 5er, and that's what I ended up ordering and getting:

2002 530iA Sapphire Black/Black
Sport, Premioum, Cold Weather
Xenons, Sunshade

I just love this car and have no regrets about not getting a 330ci. In fact I never even give it any thought.

My only regret is not getting a 5-speed, but I did that because I mostly drive in traffic these days.

Now that I drive a 5er the only 3 I would even consider at this point is an M3 (but I do agree that the 330 is a great car).

Anyway, I'm spoiled by the 5. It's a different feel and drive than the 3, but I like it better and it feels a lot more solid and stable to me.

BTW: I still have the 323i. My wife drives it now.

· aka Chi-chi
206 Posts
530i all the way...

The difference in interior dimensions is actually quite significant IMNSHO. Think about it as the difference between a coach seat on People's Express (16" wide) and an American Airlines 777 (18.5" wide). It's only 2.5" difference -- BUT WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!

Here are the 530i vs. 330i dimension differences:

Front Headroom (w/ moonroof): +0.4 inches (530)
Rear Headroom (w/ moonroof): -0.2 inches (advantage 330)

Front Headroom (no moonroof): +0.3 inches (530)
Rear Headroom (no moonroof): +0.3 inches (530)

Front Shoulder Room: +2.4 inches (530)
Rear Shoulder Room: +1.7 inches (530)

Front Hiproom: +1.4 inches (530)
Rear Hiproom: +1.9 inches (530)

Front Legroom: +0.3 inches (530)
Rear Legroom: -0.4 inches (advantage 330)

Passenger Volume: +1 cubic foot (530)
Trunk Volume: +0.4 cubic foot (530)

Externally, the 530i is much larger than a 330i (mainly due to engine compartment space needed to fit the V8 in the 540i). Yes, that adds about 200 pounds and cuts 0-60 speeds by about half a second. For a small loss in performance, you get a more substantial car (again IMNSHO), with much more finesse. After driving a "mid-size" car for the last six years, the 3-series was just too small for my taste (although it's handling was outstanding). Those few inches really count, particularly as the spare tire around my waist starts begging for more hiproom.

All in all, I think it is a clear choice of performance vs. comfort and substance. Either way, you get an outstanding piece of German engineering.

BTW, there is a good article about the 530i in this month's Bimmer Magazine.

Note: Edited to correct headroom numbers w/ and w/o moonroof

· aka Chi-chi
206 Posts
I'm open to being corrected...

but you need to "show me the money." My numbers are for 330i (w/wo moonroof) versus 530i (w/wo moonroof). Anyone who has sat in both cars knows that the interior room is not "virtually identical." The only identical measurement is the total legroom (front + rear).

My numbers are mainly from the BMW 3-series and 5-series brochures, and owner's manuals.

· aka Chi-chi
206 Posts
Here are the raw numbers including corrections:

530i (left number) vs. 330i (right number) and difference in parenthesis:

Front headroom (without moonroof) 38.7/38.4 (+.3)
Front headroom (with moonroof) 37.4/37.0 (+.4)

Rear headroom (without moonroof) 37.8/37.5 (+.3)
Rear headroom (with moonroof)37.2/37.4 (-.2) [advantage 330]

Shoulder room, front: 56.8 / 54.4 (+2.4)
Shoulder room, rear: 55.9 / 54.2 (+1.7)

Hiproom, front: 58.0 / 56.6 (+1.4)
Hiproom, rear: 58.5 / 56.6 (+1.9)

Legroom, front: 41.7 / 41.4 (+0.3)
Legroom, rear: 34.2 / 34.6 (-0.4) [advantage 330]

Passenger volume: 92 / 91 (+1)
Trunk volume: 11.1 / 10.7 (+0.4)

The driver in the a 3-series with moonroof gets only 37 inches of headspace (even less than his passengers or the 5-series' passengers). Welcome to the 3-series, watch your head.

The 5-series (with moonroof) front seat occupants get 0.4 inches MORE headroom, 0.3 inches MORE legroom, 2.4 inches MORE shoulder room, and 1.4 inches MORE hiproom.

The 5-series (with moonroof) rear seat occupants get 0.2 inches MORE headroom than the 3-series driver, 1.7 inches MORE shoulder room, 1.9 inches MORE hiproom, and alas, 0.4 inches LESS legroom.

One missing dimension is the seat height. The 5-series interior is about 0.5 inches taller, which allows the seats to sit a little higher, and thus the passengers to sit more comfortably without bending at the knees (check it out). Get in the back seat of both, and you will be convinced that the rear seat passenger in a 5-series is much better off than either the driver or rear seat occupants of the 3-series.

Finally, unless they are very tall, most 5-series drivers don't position their seats all the way back, which means that rear passengers end-up with more space than the numbers show.

I think Phil puts it in the right context...if you crave better handling and lighter weight over extra space, the 3-series is a better choice.

· Registered
791 Posts
I'm thinking along the same lines as this thread. For around $5K (depending on how you configure the car), you can step up to a 5 series.

A family member of mine has a 530ia (Non-Sports Package). I am always impressed by this car, since it's built like a tank and the acceleration is so smooth. I figure with this same engine in the 3 series, the 3 would be much quicker due to it's smaller and lighter than a 5 series.

I got a chance to drive a 330ia (Non-Sports Package) as a loaner the other day, I liked it, it was fast, but the 530ia seemed smoother, maybe because it's just more refined.

By the way the 530i with the Sports package does look sweet. Love those rims!

One major reason I would still stick with the 330, is it still sportier than the 5 series overall.

One major reason I would not get the 530 now is the redesign coming up. No matter what people say about never buying the new design in the first couple of years, I believe it is even worse to buy a brand spanking new car and then have it considered the last generation model a year later. But the 5 series is a beautiful car either way, I know a lot of people wouldn't mind either.

A perfect example was the Acura TL. The major redesign happenned in 1999 MY and I can't even imagine those that bought the previous 1998 model. I would have never bought my former 1999 TL without these changes.

· Registered
791 Posts
I take what I said earlier back about buying the old generation.

I hear the 540 will have the M sports package for 2003 and if it looks half as good as the M5 in this attached pic, I want it bad!


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