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Ubergeek
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(crossposted from bimmer.org/e46fanatics)

All of the "old school" regulars here from years ago should still remember me... I'm the author of the e46 faq over on e46fanatics...

Well, today I turned in my 328i lease. Three years went by quick!

I bought an e30 88 325is to replace it. This should allow me to save up some money to find a better place to live :). I found this 325is with only 77,000 original miles, one previous owner- an elderly couple that was getting too old to drive. Couldn't wish for a better find...
I even registered http://www.325is.com

Who wants to take over the E46 FAQ? Ausgang? exBMWwannabe? :)
 

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Crotchety Old Fart
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Yeah, tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of delivery of the Bavarian Princess. One year left on the lease. It's flying by. It's the first time I've ever had a car that I still LOVE to drive after this long. I'm seriously considering just buying out the lease and keeping her til she dies.

The E30 will be a great car, Kris. Lots of fun, and that mileage is incredible! I love old people..... :p
 

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My 323i will have been in my possesion 3 years in the beginning of August. I am off to the dealer some time in the next few weeks to consider my options. I love the car and might just keep it, but something is telling me its time to go out and get a new one. This time I think I might take a little bigger "risk" and go for the Electric Red/Sand instead of the car you see on every corner look (Titanium Silver)

As of right now, I have a 323i with Metallic Paint, Leather, Sport/Premium and Heated Seats. My tentative specs are a 325i as follows: Electric Red/Sand Leather, SP, PP, Htd Seats and Bi-Xenons and possibly HK. I just need to see how the numbers work out.

I'll be sure to let all you know what decision I am going to make, but I don't think I will go down to the dealer for at least another week or so.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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DrBimmer said:
My 323i will have been in my possesion 3 years in the beginning of August. I am off to the dealer some time in the next few weeks to consider my options. I love the car and might just keep it, but something is telling me its time to go out and get a new one. This time I think I might take a little bigger "risk" and go for the Electric Red/Sand instead of the car you see on every corner look (Titanium Silver)

As of right now, I have a 323i with Metallic Paint, Leather, Sport/Premium and Heated Seats. My tentative specs are a 325i as follows: Electric Red/Sand Leather, SP, PP, Htd Seats and Bi-Xenons and possibly HK. I just need to see how the numbers work out.

I'll be sure to let all you know what decision I am going to make, but I don't think I will go down to the dealer for at least another week or so.
Ditch the leather and the premium package and go for a 330.
 

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Just for the heck of it, I'll check the price for a 330 as well.

I need to get the leather, leatherette is not an option. I don't like the "scent" of the leatherette nor do I like the feel. That is one option I am not giving up. I also want the moonroof. The rest of the items in the premium package are cool to have but not absolutely required. If I could get a 330 with leather, SP, moonroof, Htd Seats and Bi-Xenons I'd be all set. Something tells me its going to be more than I want to spend, though...
 

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Crotchety Old Fart
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258 Posts
robg said:
Hey fuse-

Are you going to do a "Second Anniversary princess post"? Everyone enjoyed the first one...
What would be the point? :dunno:

She runs as well as the day I brought her home. Other than a couple of very minor bugs (all of which have been fixed), I've had no maintenance problems.

I have the old, original, heavy, nice steering.

After having various loaners when I've taken her in for scheduled service, I'm increasingly positive that the "sport" suspension is overrated, and my non-sport suspension is fine. The swaybars on the coupes and 330's are nicer, but the springs aren't any superior. Just harsher. And the performance tires are more of a liability (winter issues) than an asset (what commuter really needs all that lateral grip?).

My soft springs and thick rubber on 15" tires has saved my rims and/or suspension several times, on NYC potholes. I've had many commuting incidents that would have trashed 17" wheels. They look nice, but are nothing but a liability around here.

She's collected her share of character marks. One parking garage put a little crease in the right rear fender, and there are various paint chips, especially on the rear bumper where garages tend to back cars against the walls. But overall she's still shiny an new-looking. I'm not obsessive, but I wax her three or four times over the course of the warm months.

The 2.5L engine (and in the 323 is was only 170hp) is MORE than enough power. I've had 330i loaners, and they are nice, but that much power is overkill in a car this size.

Mileage has been fine.

I'd like to have a 6-disc changer. If I buy her off lease and keep her, I'm going to add one.

If I keep her, I probably also will upgrade the swaybars, without touching the springs.

I love having a moonroof, and I use it almost every day.
 

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zeddy
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fuselier said:


I'm increasingly positive that the "sport" suspension is overrated, and my non-sport suspension is fine. The swaybars on the coupes and 330's are nicer, but the springs aren't any superior. Just harsher. And the performance tires are more of a liability (winter issues) than an asset (what commuter really needs all that lateral grip?).

If I keep her, I probably also will upgrade the swaybars, without touching the springs.

Fuse,

You and I have almost the same car.

Mine's a Y2k 323i, old steering, step, pp, non-sport but 16 inch wheels with 205/55's.

I've tracked my car at Lime Rock on the 1.53 mile road course and was extremely impressed with its handling. I wrote an extensive post back in March about it. Suffice to say, its capabitlities were well beyond mine.

Later, in April, I had the pleasure of running my car on one of Lime Rock's autocross courses after several laps in a Dodge viper during the two-day skip Barber driving school I attended. Here, I was able to get my car within an nth of the speed I could with the Viper. I turned a pro-level time in the Viper a year earlier (under 20 seconds) and I was about as fast this time out (though we weren't yet being timed)with the bimmer.

Sadly, i broke my leg (tibial plateau fracture) later in the day in the school's rally event by stupidly running and falling trying too hard to tag my teamate during a driver switch. I won't be walking for another 5 weeks (total time: 12 weeks)

My 323i was built in SA and has had flawless quality and reliability.

Frankly, I get a chuckle at many of the younger guys here who fret over sport packages, manual trannies and big wheels and tires and yet, give no thought to driver skill or improving theirs. Many of the below-50-series tires don't give warning when they breakaway and I'm afraid a lot of inexperienced drivers get into trouble.

I'm going to add sways and 225/50/16's when the Conti's wear (they'll fit right on my rims).

Outside of that, my stock 323i suits me just fine.

Continue to enjoy!!!

Ed
 

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Elected by grace
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Hi Kris,

Looks like you really picked up a cherry ride there! As a previous owner of an E30 I still think the looks are classic. I still wish I had kept that car ('91 318is), because it still was more fun to drive than both the E36 (sadly sold, also) & E46 that I currently have.

Congrats on the purchase, and good luck in upgrading your digs. You've got your priorities in the right order.
 

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Crotchety Old Fart
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EdCT said:


Frankly, I get a chuckle at many of the younger guys here who fret over sport packages, manual trannies and big wheels and tires and yet, give no thought to driver skill or improving theirs. Many of the below-50-series tires don't give warning when they breakaway and I'm afraid a lot of inexperienced drivers get into trouble.

Oh, you are SO right.

The first bit of nonsense is the manual tranny BS. Unless these boy-racers are actually well trained (and I mean heel-toe clutching and power shifting), me and my STEP will beat them every time. There is a very real advantage to not having to lift your foot off the gas when you shift.

The second bit of nonsense is that the standard suspension is too soft. I think you and I already addressed that. The springs are fine. The sways could use a bit more backbone, however.

The third bit of nonsense is the sport seats. They are nice. They are comfortable. But to hear some of these yahoos tell it, you'd think the regular seast are like flat pieces of greased Teflon, and you slosh around the inside of the car like marbles in a tin can.

Hogwash. The standard seats are quite fine, and have plenty of lateral hold. If you slide around on the standard seats, I think yous ass must be too skinny, and you need to eat more steak.
 

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fuselier said:


Oh, you are SO right.

The first bit of nonsense is the manual tranny BS. Unless these boy-racers are actually well trained (and I mean heel-toe clutching and power shifting), me and my STEP will beat them every time. There is a very real advantage to not having to lift your foot off the gas when you shift.

The second bit of nonsense is that the standard suspension is too soft. I think you and I already addressed that. The springs are fine. The sways could use a bit more backbone, however.

The third bit of nonsense is the sport seats. They are nice. They are comfortable. But to hear some of these yahoos tell it, you'd think the regular seast are like flat pieces of greased Teflon, and you slosh around the inside of the car like marbles in a tin can.

Hogwash. The standard seats are quite fine, and have plenty of lateral hold. If you slide around on the standard seats, I think yous ass must be too skinny, and you need to eat more steak.
I have all of the above-- manual w/ sport seats and sport suspension.
I chose the manual not so much for any performance advantages-- you're right, I probably couldn't outshift your steptronic. Rather, I just really enjoy the feel of the BMW shifter. Its one of my favorite aspects of the car. I may be slower to 60 than a grandma in her 77 Dodge Dart, but I enjoy every second getting there.
-I chose the sports package mostly for the sport seats-- I really found the regular seats to be uncomfortable-- I think mostly because you can't tilt them like you can the sport seats. I agree, some people make it out like you need the sport seats or else you'll be almost falling out the window at every turn--definitely not true. The sport seats also seem to have a bit more lower back support- which I also like.
-Your absolutely right about the regular suspension-- it just needs some thicker anti sway bars. Of course, I got the sport suspension and 17" wheels as part of my "deal w/ the devil (err BMWNA)" to get the seats and I agree with you that these 2 features aren't good for our terrible northeastern roads. I'm considering switching to 16" wheels/tires so that I can lessen the amount of tramlining and wandering I have to put up with. I actually don't think the sport suspension itself is too harsh-- even over our wonderful roads here--but the regular suspension is probably better suited to most american roads.
 

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I like cookies.
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fuselier said:


Oh, you are SO right.

The first bit of nonsense is the manual tranny BS. Unless these boy-racers are actually well trained (and I mean heel-toe clutching and power shifting), me and my STEP will beat them every time. There is a very real advantage to not having to lift your foot off the gas when you shift.
Those of us that can drive really enjoy the manual. I do. Even those that don't enjoy shifting.
fuselier said:

The second bit of nonsense is that the standard suspension is too soft. I think you and I already addressed that. The springs are fine. The sways could use a bit more backbone, however.
Right on this, the standard suspension is not overly soft. It is a comfortable suspension and is sporty enough for most. Plenty more sport than is needed even on moderately agressive driving. It is NOT the sways that is the problem on the non-Sports suspension, they are only 1mm narrower. The springs and shocks are what are the most important component. Body roll is related to springs as much as roll bars....
fuselier said:

The third bit of nonsense is the sport seats. They are nice. They are comfortable. But to hear some of these yahoos tell it, you'd think the regular seast are like flat pieces of greased Teflon, and you slosh around the inside of the car like marbles in a tin can.

Hogwash. The standard seats are quite fine, and have plenty of lateral hold. If you slide around on the standard seats, I think yous ass must be too skinny, and you need to eat more steak.
Agree 100% People that think that the sport seats are really necessary for their lateral grip are crazy. The only way this happens is if these people are moving around a lot in the turns. I have driven in both seats on road courses, the lateral support was almost identical, but the non-SP seats on my 328 were more comfortable. The SP seats look more bolstered than they are. M5 seats are much grippier. Go drive/ride in a race car with Sparco race seats and then talk about lateral support....
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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nate328Ci said:


...snip
Right on this, the standard suspension is not overly soft. It is a comfortable suspension and is sporty enough for most. Plenty more sport than is needed even on moderately agressive driving. It is NOT the sways that is the problem on the non-Sports suspension, they are only 1mm narrower. The springs and shocks are what are the most important component. Body roll is related to springs as much as roll bars....
You'd be suprised how much 1 mm. in thickness will do for handling. The UUC swaybars are only 1mm thicker up front than the sports sways. I think the M3 sways are about 1 mm thicker all around than the normal E46 sports sways.


Agree 100% People that think that the sport seats are really necessary for their lateral grip are crazy. The only way this happens is if these people are moving around a lot in the turns. I have driven in both seats on road courses, the lateral support was almost identical, but the non-SP seats on my 328 were more comfortable. The SP seats look more bolstered than they are. M5 seats are much grippier. Go drive/ride in a race car with Sparco race seats and then talk about lateral support....
I agree about the Sparco or Recaro seats being 1000X better than the normal sport seats. However I also think the normal sport seats are much better than the none sports seats. Whenever I drive my wife's car I always fumble for the tilt switch, which isn't there. The sports seats are also longer and support my fat *** much better from front to back. Not baggin' on the regular seats, since they're much better than what 90% of cars out there has, but the sports seat IS worth the sports package IMHO.
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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FWIW, the M3 sways are 26mm F, 21.5mm R.

I also got SP pretty much strictly for the seats, since the rest of it can be done aftermarket for pretty cheap. The normal seats are fine, but feel noticeably flatter and less supportive than the SP seats. I like the feeling of sitting IN rather than ON a seat. As for ass grip, with the cloth I think its a non-issue, although I've never sat on cloth standard seats.
 

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I like cookies.
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The HACK said:


You'd be suprised how much 1 mm. in thickness will do for handling. The UUC swaybars are only 1mm thicker up front than the sports sways. I think the M3 sways are about 1 mm thicker all around than the normal E46 sports sways.
1mm will make a difference, but it is the springs that make the biggest difference.

The HACK said:

I agree about the Sparco or Recaro seats being 1000X better than the normal sport seats. However I also think the normal sport seats are much better than the none sports seats. Whenever I drive my wife's car I always fumble for the tilt switch, which isn't there. The sports seats are also longer and support my fat *** much better from front to back. Not baggin' on the regular seats, since they're much better than what 90% of cars out there has, but the sports seat IS worth the sports package IMHO.
No, I disagree about the seats. I like the regular seats more. More comfortable, equal (better??) lateral support, and cheaper. What was the SP when our cars were out? It was $1200, right? Not worth that much for them only, get some REAL driving seats for that money. Anyway, the SP wasn't even in production when both my 328Cis were built...
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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nate328Ci said:


1mm will make a difference, but it is the springs that make the biggest difference.

No, I disagree about the seats. I like the regular seats more. More comfortable, equal (better??) lateral support, and cheaper. What was the SP when our cars were out? It was $1200, right? Not worth that much for them only, get some REAL driving seats for that money. Anyway, the SP wasn't even in production when both my 328Cis were built...
Dunno about MSRP, but invoice was $800.

For me, I thought the $800 was worth the seats alone. The better looking 7 spoke style 44s rather than getting the Y spoke P.O.S. was another incentive but I ultimately replaced the 44's anyway. :dunno:
 

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zeddy
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robg said:


I have all of the above-- manual w/ sport seats and sport suspension.
.
-Your absolutely right about the regular suspension-- it just needs some thicker anti sway bars. Of course, I got the sport suspension and 17" wheels as part of my "deal w/ the devil (err BMWNA)" to get the seats and I agree with you that these 2 features aren't good for our terrible northeastern roads. I'm considering switching to 16" wheels/tires so that I can lessen the amount of tramlining and wandering I have to put up with.
Rob,

I've driven manuals for years and if my wife could learn to drive one, I'd probably have gotten one in the bimmer. But it's a moot point in our house.

I did try out an SP-equipped 325 before I "found" ( bought it off the lot for 500 dollars over invoice)my gem of a 323i.

The SP, even on a relatively short drive through some truly washboard-ridden roads in and around Ridgefield, Danbury and Redding, CT was quite punishing. The thing also hopped and skipped on the worst surfaces ( I think the tires were way too hard; too much air) and was much less pleasant to drive than the model I ended up getting. I also noticed at the time (Oct, 2k) the lightness of the steering in the 325 sp car compared to the non-sp 323i; I kept asking myself why the 323 felt "better" and, blasphemy, sportier.

Well, now we all know, it's the steering!!

Years ago, the Cornell students who wrote the definitive book on vehicle dynamics (used to help design Lime Rock's 1.53 miler) identified steering feel as a vehicle's most important attribute for high-speed handling - particularly the FEEL in the steering.

I wholeheartedly agree!!!

Ed
 

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Ed-

Completely agree on steering feel. I actually had the steering in my car "retrofitted" to get the rack that you have in your 323. I'm hoping its just an alignment problem-- but ever since i've had this done the car really tramlines badly. I love the increased weight of the steering-- feels much better. You did the right thing by getting that 323!
 
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