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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. Just joined this forum. Looking to buy a pre-owned 325 or 330xi sedan for my wife (need 4 wheel drive for the winter months.) Are there any special/specific problems with the xi system. How about with the 325 or 330 models in general. Are any years more problematic than others? Heard the steering feel isn't so great on the 2001s but haven't test driven '01 vs. other year E46 to compare myself. I've narrowed down my choices to either the BMW 325 or 330xi or the MB 240 or 320 4Matic :dunno: . Which car would you recommend and why. Can you purchase an extended warranty from a third party company (such as Warranty Direct) that will be honored by a BMW dealer or can you only purchase extended warranty from BMW that will be honored by their dealers. Sorry about all the questions, but will appreciate any and all input.
 

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330xi

Go with the 330..it simply is more fun to drive and I believe that if you were to keep the 325 stock, the extra hp the 330 provides is nice to have with the additional weight the xi system adds. Best bet is to test drive both engines and see what you feel is best. As far as MB is concerned, I have heard a lot of compliants on MB quality as well as performance. If anything, check out a CPO Audi A4 or A6 and compare either model to the 325 or 330 xi models.

Good luck! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Red Baron said:
Go with the 330..it simply is more fun to drive and I believe that if you were to keep the 325 stock, the extra hp the 330 provides is nice to have with the additional weight the xi system adds. Best bet is to test drive both engines and see what you feel is best. As far as MB is concerned, I have heard a lot of compliants on MB quality as well as performance. If anything, check out a CPO Audi A4 or A6 and compare either model to the 325 or 330 xi models.

Good luck! :thumbup:
My wife doesn't care for Audi style too much so it's not in the running. I also found my right shin resting on the center console all the time which won't be too comfortable for long drives. Whichever car we end up getting will remain un-modified as it will be primarily her car. How much extra weight does the xi system add to the vehicle. Is this a good system for winter driving? How reliable. How reliable are the E46 3 series in general.
 

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i had a 325xi. it's way slower than the i's. it's really not the awd that helps the most IMO. getting M+S tires like the contitouringcontacts or pnerozero M+S help more than having awd.
i could be wrong but this is coming from someone who has driven both an i and an xi
 

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325xi is a great all around vehicle. I have an 03 and live in CT it was incredible this past winter compared to the Audi A4 it replaced. If you never drive a 330 you will never know what you are missing. I think she would love the 325xi it is great at everything! 01's were a little light in the steering wheel they did not have quite the road feel, but it has been fixed. You do realize if this is your first Bimmer it will not be your last. You will always compare everything else to it and nothing is quite the same. It is not the same as rear wheel drive, but it has the closest feel. I also had a 328i RWD with Blizzak snow tires and obviously traction control and that car was great in the winter also. Deeper snow xi helps, plowed snowy roads any of the BMW rwd cars with snow tires are fine. Might give your wife peace of mind and I guess sometimes that helps to a degree as long as their confidence does not go beyond car limits. Good Luck
 

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xi adds 200lbs

Tenderfoot said:
My wife doesn't care for Audi style too much so it's not in the running. I also found my right shin resting on the center console all the time which won't be too comfortable for long drives. Whichever car we end up getting will remain un-modified as it will be primarily her car. How much extra weight does the xi system add to the vehicle. Is this a good system for winter driving? How reliable. How reliable are the E46 3 series in general.
2 years 50k km....still loving it.

went with a 325xi cauz it was available in 5 speed.

c 4matic is nicer in automatic
 

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The XIs never got the stupid overboosted steering in 2001. BMW couldn't figure out how to squeeze it in with the drive components for the front wheels. As a result, we have nice, firm oldschool BMW steering. :thumbup:
 

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I would spend the extra money and get the 330xi, the 325xi is SLOW and sluggish. If you are buying used the savings from the lesser car (325) should not be too drastic. If you drive a 330xi, you will not want a 325.

I am in a similar boat as you, I love the 330xi, but it doens't lease out well in NJ and I can get the X5 for $20 more, WTF (but don't want another truck). On the other hand the Audis have a sticker price in the same ball park as the 330xi and actually lease out really well right now - not like the 330. I also do like the new styling of the A4 and their all wheel drive is better that BMW. The A6s 2.7T are being given away right now, they are selling and leasing out for LESS $ than the 330xi, if you like that styling.

Personally, I still prefer the 330xi, but wont make any decisions until I sell my car.
 

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325 Xi

I have an '02 325 XI....and love it. Arguably if I had the extra $$$ I definately would have take the 330Xi.

Yes it's a little heavier and thus as slight performance difference to the i. That being said....for those in weather challenged parts of the continent....XI is the way to go. Steering is good now. As for the performance issue this is what I do:

1) I do not use all season tires. Summers and Winters only. The 4 seasons make it feel a little more sluggish.
2) If you don't have manual, then by using it in the "steptronic" mode....you'll get better pick up....

I will tell you one thing. In the winter...with winter tires....this car rocks!!!

BTW....as for the the other comparable AWD's....I would pick Bimmer all the way for look, performance and handling.
 

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[/QUOTE]BTW....as for the the other comparable AWD's....I would pick Bimmer all the way for look, performance and handling.[/QUOTE]


I agree with this point ...... hangs down one of the sexiest AWD.
 

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As for other companies AWD being better the Audi A4 has a floaty feeling on wintery roads. It feels like you are losing traction on a different tire the entire drive with all season tires. The 325xi does not have this feeling at all- feels very solid and predictable- like RWD on a dry road! I drove them both becuase I like the A$ styling and it was not even close. Believe me I wanted to buy it(Audi) I could have save some cash, but I did not like the feel at all. The turbo motor also is a no comparison to the BMW smooth 6. Just remember half of the people on this site if you say you are looking for a 330i they tell you to buy an M3 instead. If you say x3 2.5 they say buy the x5 4.4. So that may help your decision making. Also, the reason the Audi's are cheap lease is because the A6 is going to change for 2005 and they do not want to have them on the lot when the new ones arrive. Same thing with current Corvette and Porsche 911. 2005 Corvette is pretty close to current ZO6, but much easier to live with and 911 anniversary edition is 17k off sticker at Porsche of Wallingford, CT and at a dealer in the midwest. Nobody will buy it when the new baby rolls in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the great responses. Interesting that some feel that winter tires and RWD is OK for snow driving. Do you guys have a spare set of wheels for the snow tires or do you swap them on your wheels.

SteelBlueXI - appreciate the input on no boosted steering on the 01 xi models. I won't have to take that year out of play.

z3davis said:
Just remember half of the people on this site if you say you are looking for a 330i they tell you to buy an M3 instead. If you say x3 2.5 they say buy the x5 4.4. So that may help your decision making.
LOL :lmao:

z3davis said:
Also, the reason the Audi's are cheap lease is because the A6 is going to change for 2005 and they do not want to have them on the lot when the new ones arrive. Same thing with current Corvette and Porsche 911. 2005 Corvette is pretty close to current ZO6, but much easier to live with and 911 anniversary edition is 17k off sticker at Porsche of Wallingford, CT and at a dealer in the midwest. Nobody will buy it when the new baby rolls in.
I thought BMW is changing the 3 series for 2005 model year. If so, shouldn't current (and used) 3 series prices also drop.
 

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Tenderfoot said:
Thanks for the great responses. Interesting that some feel that winter tires and RWD is OK for snow driving. Do you guys have a spare set of wheels for the snow tires or do you swap them on your wheels.
RWD with snow tires is better in the snow than AWD with all-seasons. By far. AWD cars aren't worth jack in the snow without snow tires. Drivetrain can't compensate for crappy tires.

I run snows on my car during the winter (obviously) and I have them mounted on my OEM wheels. They're in my garage right now. I bought a new set of rims and tires for the summer. Idealy you'd want a slightly smaller rim for your winter tires anyway. That keeps the track of the tire longer. You also want a slightly more narrow tire than you would in the summer.

That being said, I run Blizzack LM-22s in 205/50 17 in the winter and Eagle F1 GS-D3s in 225/40 18 in the summer.

You'll find most people around here who have to deal with snow have a similar setup for their cars. Big, wide, sticky tires in the summer and smaller, more narrow snow tires in the winter. :thumbup:
 

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I was in the same position that you are in right now...but that was last year. I was looking to spend about $30k on a used 325xi or a new g35. I had been consistently looking at cars.com daily for at least three months and probably weekly for 2 years... i had never found the 'perfect' car that was somewhat nearby with decent options. I went to the BMW dealer and drove the 325xi...I knew that it didnt have as much go as the 330, but i was pleasantly surprised...it was enough for me. Later on that month, i hit up the inifiniti dealer and drove the g35 and loved it... i was basically set on getting a new g35, so i called up my dad and told him what i was planning. he said to check the used listings once more just to see....and voila. I found a 2001 330xi with 40k miles on it black on black with premium package and heated seats. It was in Chicago (about 300mi away) but it was selling for a steal price of $25,900. Bluebook at that time for a trade-in was $29-30k. I knew what i had to do...i called them up, put a $500 deposit on the car and drove up the next day to check it out...and it was perfect...bought it and have had a great time ever since. If I had driven the 330 before i drove the 325, I would not be happy with a 325, but since I had never driven a 330 prior...it was all good. I did end up with the 330 in the end, but hey...things just work out sometimes

I did end up buying some new tires as the contis were getting old. The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires I bought are great for winter....made it thru 4" of unplowed snow with no problems
 

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Go with the 330xi...more power/more fun...

I had an M3/4 back in the day, then a 2001 330ci, now the xi...The xi is more solid car all around then ci...Doesn't have then get-up-and-go that my M had but its still a fun car to drive - just one thought - lower it so it looks the way a BMW was meant to look...and feel.
 

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Actually, I disagree. This past winter (I live in Boston, MA), the hill where I live, was iced over one night. My wife drives a 330xi, with stock all season goodyear tires, and I have a 330i with winter tires. We both got to the base of the hill, and there was a small jam because all the MB, and Volvos were stuck, spinning on the lower hill (for some reason, people don't understand they need to invest in winter tires, especially when u own RWD vehicles :dunno: ).

Anyhow, my wife drove up the hill just fine (I asked her later and she said she didn't feel anything, it was just as normal). I also was able to get up, however, I had to have a slight rolling start, and the wheel had traction maybe 60% of the time. There are also VERY bad speed bumps long the way which I just had to fly through, otherwise I'd be stuck like the rest of them, the bumps didn't affect the Xi any, my wife slowed down and slowly went over all of them, as normal.

In another instance, we had around 15-20cm of snow, unplowed, on night, our Xi just plowed right through it, barely slipped, all in the stock all season tires, and the car is lowered with H&R coilovers. I can only imagine how much better it'd do if I had snow tires on the car. Anyhow, I wouldn't worry about its performance in snow, the AWD is one of the best I've ever driven (with the exception of the new X-Drive I guess). :thumbup:

BTW, u have to test drive both stick and auto. The Xi clutch could be a killer, and I find it very hard to drive that car smoothly, well, more difficult than a standard RWD bimmer. When my wife drives my 330i, she's one of the smoothest, but when in the Xi, u'd think shes only been driving it for a few month. A clutch stop definitly helps tho.

SteelBlueXI said:
RWD with snow tires is better in the snow than AWD with all-seasons. By far. AWD cars aren't worth jack in the snow without snow tires. Drivetrain can't compensate for crappy tires.

I run snows on my car during the winter (obviously) and I have them mounted on my OEM wheels. They're in my garage right now. I bought a new set of rims and tires for the summer. Idealy you'd want a slightly smaller rim for your winter tires anyway. That keeps the track of the tire longer. You also want a slightly more narrow tire than you would in the summer.

That being said, I run Blizzack LM-22s in 205/50 17 in the winter and Eagle F1 GS-D3s in 225/40 18 in the summer.

You'll find most people around here who have to deal with snow have a similar setup for their cars. Big, wide, sticky tires in the summer and smaller, more narrow snow tires in the winter. :thumbup:
 

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otacon said:
Actually, I disagree... This past winter (I live in Boston, MA), the hill where I live, was iced over one night. My wife drives a 330xi, with stock all season goodyear tires, and I have a 330i with winter tires. We both got to the base of the hill, and there was a small jam because all the MB, and Volvos were stuck, spinning on the lower hill (for some reason, people don't understand they need to invest in winter tires, especially when u own RWD vehicles :dunno: ).

Anyhow, my wife drove up the hill just fine (I asked her later and she said she didn't feel anything, it was just as normal). I also was able to get up, however, I had to have a slight rolling start, and the wheel had traction maybe 60% of the time. There are also VERY bad speed bumps long the way which I just had to fly through, otherwise I'd be stuck like the rest of them, the bumps didn't affect the Xi any, my wife slowed down and slowly went over all of them, as normal.

In another instance, we had around 15-20cm of snow, unplowed, on night, our Xi just plowed right through it, barely slipped, all in the stock all season tires, and the car is lowered with H&R coilovers. I can only imagine how much better it'd do if I had snow tires on the car. Anyhow, I wouldn't worry about its performance in snow, the AWD is one of the best I've ever driven (with the exception of the new X-Drive I guess). :thumbup:
The XI with all seasons will probably trump a RWD bimmer with snow tires in straight line traction. The reason I said RWD with snow tires is better than AWD with all-seaons is because AWD does not help you turn and stop. Only a good snow tire will do that. It's a much safer combo to have.

As for how much better an XI is with snow tires, I recommend you get some this season. It makes it a pure beast in the snow. I felt far more in control then I ever did in my Explorer with all-terrain tires.

otacon said:
BTW, u have to test drive both stick and auto. The Xi clutch could be a killer, and I find it very hard to drive that car smoothly, well, more difficult than a standard RWD bimmer. When my wife drives my 330i, she's one of the smoothest, but when in the Xi, u'd think shes only been driving it for a few month. A clutch stop definitly helps tho
Agreed. The XI clutch is nasty. It's the strongest E46 clutch with the exception of the M3. BMW put in a clutch delay valve to try and smooth out the shifting, but I find it just makes things worse for the experienced driver. It is tricky to drive smoothly, but can be done with practice. It took me about 5 months to master driving mine. And yeah, a clutch stop really, really helps.
 

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Luckly, my wife isn't the "agressive" type of driver. And I always stress that just because u have a AWD, does NOT mean the car is safer, ur stoping + turning are still at the mercy of nature and physics. However, I do have her slow down by downshifting, having the engine aid her in slowing down drasticaly reduces skidding and sliding, but yeah, I might invest in some snows this year. The only reason I didn't is because we don't get that much snow, and if we do, the plows here are so efficient that the roads are plowed before we get up.

SteelBlueXI said:
The XI with all seasons will probably trump a RWD bimmer with snow tires in straight line traction. The reason I said RWD with snow tires is better than AWD with all-seaons is because AWD does not help you turn and stop. Only a good snow tire will do that. It's a much safer combo to have.

As for how much better an XI is with snow tires, I recommend you get some this season. It makes it a pure beast in the snow. I felt far more in control then I ever did in my Explorer with all-terrain tires.


Agreed. The XI clutch is nasty. It's the strongest E46 clutch with the exception of the M3. BMW put in a clutch delay valve to try and smooth out the shifting, but I find it just makes things worse for the experienced driver. It is tricky to drive smoothly, but can be done with practice. It took me about 5 months to master driving mine. And yeah, a clutch stop really, really helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
SteelBlueXI said:
The XI with all seasons will probably trump a RWD bimmer with snow tires in straight line traction. The reason I said RWD with snow tires is better than AWD with all-seaons is because AWD does not help you turn and stop. Only a good snow tire will do that. It's a much safer combo to have.
:thumbup: Makes sense. Primary reason for us considering the xi is winter driving. Didn't realize RWD with snows are very effective as well. Come to think of it, I don't recall seeing many bimmers stuck in snow. Anyway, for peace of mind, I still believe AWD is the way to go.


SteelBlueXI said:
Agreed. The XI clutch is nasty. It's the strongest E46 clutch with the exception of the M3. BMW put in a clutch delay valve to try and smooth out the shifting, but I find it just makes things worse for the experienced driver. It is tricky to drive smoothly, but can be done with practice. It took me about 5 months to master driving mine. And yeah, a clutch stop really, really helps.
It will be an auto steptronic for the missus, but good to know about the xi clutch.

This is a great forum, lots of informative input. How about the general reliability of xi and 325/330s?
 
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