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Discussion Starter #1
I have two options
2004 325i vs 2003 330i (both auto trans, milage is the same roughly 140k km)
Both have been taken care for and maintained by owners.

Naturally, I would want the 330, however the 325 has a couple more options. My issue of indecisiveness is this:

325i
1k cheaper
younger (not sure how much this matters)
has sports seats (preferred)
3 spoke steering wheel (preferred)
comes in black (I prefer/want black)

330i seems pretty standard.
1k more than 325
older than 325
does not have sport seats (does have lumber support)
comes with the square four spoke steering wheel (which I hate and will spend money to swap for sport wheel if I do)
comes Silber-grau Metallic (It's fine but it's not black)

Luckily they both come with xenon headlights (a must for me) and they both have premium audio with the branding on the tweeters.

My thoughts are that I'm getting exactly the same car (as a daily driver) minus the engine specs and saving money if I go with the 325i. I can live with not having sport seats but I know I'll always be on the lookout to swap them out and it's not cheap to find a fair condition set of sport seats plus the steering wheel. All in all, I'll save probably around 1.5k-2k going with the 325i. Are these savings worth not having the 330i spec? Am I missing some things that come standard on 330i that doesn't come on 325i?

Please throw your thoughts and suggestions, any help is much appreciated.

Thanks ladies and gents!
 

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I think in this situation I would go for the 325. I'm not sure what it's like for second hand parts for these cars where you are, but generally for me you can find 3.0 engines and box's for a fair price quite frequently, so if the extra 40hp really bothers you that much you could always buy one and swap it in, especially if you have spare cash left over from buying the car,that way you're getting the color and options you want, which would cost more overall to swap into the other car than just finding a 3.0 lump and swapping it in

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Consider patience and a manual? ...and I loved my 328, but the 330 is definitely the choice over a 325...cheapest you'll get a superior bmw experience....and don't care so much about too many superficial things when considering buying a 15-20 year old car...you can't be that fussy. Pick a car based on mechanics and needed accessories. Also, fyi, I loved my non-sports seats in the e46...hate the sports seats in my f30.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I think in this situation I would go for the 325. I'm not sure what it's like for second hand parts for these cars where you are, but generally for me you can find 3.0 engines and box's for a fair price quite frequently, so if the extra 40hp really bothers you that much you could always buy one and swap it in, especially if you have spare cash left over from buying the car,that way you're getting the color and options you want, which would cost more overall to swap into the other car than just finding a 3.0 lump and swapping it in

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I have no interest in doing a swap, that's way over my head. I owned a 325i previously, I did all basic maintenance: break pads, oil filter gasket, valve cover gasket, expansion tank/coolant hoses, thermostat, rad fan, intake boots, sway bar links. Although very satisfying I wouldn't want to take on any more advanced DIYs.


Consider patience and a manual? ...and I loved my 328, but the 330 is definitely the choice over a 325...cheapest you'll get a superior bmw experience....and don't care so much about too many superficial things when considering buying a 15-20 year old car...you can't be that fussy. Pick a car based on mechanics and needed accessories. Also, fyi, I loved my non-sports seats in the e46...hate the sports seats in my f30.
I'm 6 months in... ideally I would love a M Package 330 or ZHP with manual but even a 330 in the condition and milage I want is out of my budget. It also being my daily and only car I don't mind getting the auto. The mechanics of both cars are sound. I would like to have the options that I know will make me happy with my purchase.

Did you ever try sports seats in e46? I drive long distance often in the summer to visit my friends cottage (about 4hours) and it's so uncomfortable for me this discomfort is the main reason I want the sport seats... plus they keep the cabin modern I think.

Prehaps if you havent try driving them both.The difference in power is noticable.
Very true, I will drive both but would still like to hear the voice of the forum.
 

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In this case the 325i is probably the better bargain, considering higher spec level, a year newer, the color and options you want, and $1k less.
Also consider the 325i will get better gas mileage and is less likely to burn oil.
Get the car you are leaning toward first, and drive it while you save up for the car you really want.
 

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You get slightly larger brakes standard with 330i as well as sports suspension (which likely has or will need to be replaced at this point)
 
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
In this case the 325i is probably the better bargain, considering higher spec level, a year newer, the color and options you want, and $1k less.
Also consider the 325i will get better gas mileage and is less likely to burn oil.
Get the car you are leaning toward first, and drive it while you save up for the car you really want.
I failed to mention I owned a 325 for three years and it was 'enough' but I was always wanting a little bit more (I feel like I just answered my question). From what I read around the difference in gas mileage between the 325 and 330 is negligible, am I mistaken?
Are the 330's more prone to burns oil? is this piston rings / head gasket related?

You get slightly larger brakes standard with 330i as well as sports suspension (which likely has or will need to be replaced at this point)
Ah this! Can someone tell me if this alone is worth getting a 330i over 325i no matter what?
Also I'm expecting with either car to be replacing the suspension anytime soon.
 

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I have two options
2004 325i vs 2003 330i (both auto trans, milage is the same roughly 140k km)
Both have been taken care for and maintained by owners.

Naturally, I would want the 330, however the 325 has a couple more options. My issue of indecisiveness is this:

325i
1k cheaper
younger (not sure how much this matters)
has sports seats (preferred)
3 spoke steering wheel (preferred)
comes in black (I prefer/want black)

330i seems pretty standard.
1k more than 325
older than 325
does not have sport seats (does have lumber support)
comes with the square four spoke steering wheel (which I hate and will spend money to swap for sport wheel if I do)
comes Silber-grau Metallic (It's fine but it's not black)

Luckily they both come with xenon headlights (a must for me) and they both have premium audio with the branding on the tweeters.

My thoughts are that I'm getting exactly the same car (as a daily driver) minus the engine specs and saving money if I go with the 325i. I can live with not having sport seats but I know I'll always be on the lookout to swap them out and it's not cheap to find a fair condition set of sport seats plus the steering wheel. All in all, I'll save probably around 1.5k-2k going with the 325i. Are these savings worth not having the 330i spec? Am I missing some things that come standard on 330i that doesn't come on 325i?

Please throw your thoughts and suggestions, any help is much appreciated.

Thanks ladies and gents!
330 unless u don’t have the dough
 

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I failed to mention I owned a 325 for three years and it was 'enough' but I was always wanting a little bit more (I feel like I just answered my question). From what I read around the difference in gas mileage between the 325 and 330 is negligible, am I mistaken?



Ah this! Can someone tell me if this alone is worth getting a 330i over 325i no matter what?
Also I'm expecting with either car to be replacing the suspension anytime soon.
Personally, yes. 330i gets larger brakes, sports suspension, harmon kardon, bigger 3L engine, power seats
 
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Ah this! Can someone tell me if this alone is worth getting a 330i over 325i no matter what?
No. This alone should not drive the decisions. Upgrading 325i front brakes to 330i brakes is pretty easy and cheap even if you have to pay someone to do it.

We are talking about automatics here...so maybe the extra hp of the 330i is not all that noticeable.

I would opt for the car in better overall condition - body, interior, and mechanical. I also prefer a black interior over beige and gray
 

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30 probably was driven harder, but would still be my vote. I bought one with similar mileage last year after driving a 325 and the 330Ci I bought. Not a complete night and day difference, but it was notable.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No. This alone should not drive the decisions. Upgrading 325i front brakes to 330i brakes is pretty easy and cheap even if you have to pay someone to do it.

We are talking about automatics here...so maybe the extra hp of the 330i is not all that noticeable.

I would opt for the car in better overall condition - body, interior, and mechanical. I also prefer a black interior over beige and gray
Both have black interior and they are both in great condition. I'm only torn between deciding because of the difference in price and options
 

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330 hands down IF you were looking at manual transmissions.
Seeing as both are automatics.. I'm assuming you're more looking at a enjoyable, comfortable A-B with some spirited driving occasionally.
I'd go for the 325. Spend the saved cash on suspension refresh and enjoy it.

On the technical side. Both are M54 engines, with the same issues. Both can have less than ideal oil consumption, 330s can have "oil pump nut" issues if tracked hard. The 325 will use a bit less gas.
Pretty much identical engines besides stroke/cams and a couple differences on the exterior parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I vote for the 325i. My bet is PO drove harder on 330i than 325i. Grandma would have bought 325i instead of more expensive and more power 330i.
Haha this logic is sound. However, the 330 is actually owned by an older gentleman and the 325i is a younger guy. Can't say on the original owners though.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
30 probably was driven harder, but would still be my vote. I bought one with similar mileage last year after driving a 325 and the 330Ci I bought. Not a complete night and day difference, but it was notable.
would you say the difference in driving experience is worth an extra 1k?
 

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would you say the difference in driving experience is worth an extra 1k?
If/when you get tired of the performance difference between the 325 compared to that of the 330, $1,000 would not even get you close in time/labor in a goal to make up the difference in power.....
Jus Sayin'.
 

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I wouldn't be buying either of these cars if you were looking for pure speed and acceleration. You would have to buy an M3 to get that. I bought my e46 for the handling. I think the previous comment about driving both is important. Also look closely at all the known "issues" with these cars e.g. rear subframe cracks, leaks, repair history. Get look closely around the engine bay and under the car. Having 20% more horsepower is nice. Having an extra 1.5K to refresh the car is nice also.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
330 hands down IF you were looking at manual transmissions.
Seeing as both are automatics.. I'm assuming you're more looking at a enjoyable, comfortable A-B with some spirited driving occasionally.
I'd go for the 325. Spend the saved cash on suspension refresh and enjoy it.

On the technical side. Both are M54 engines, with the same issues. Both can have less than ideal oil consumption, 330s can have "oil pump nut" issues if tracked hard. The 325 will use a bit less gas.
Pretty much identical engines besides stroke/cams and a couple differences on the exterior parts.
If/when you get tired of the performance difference between the 325 compared to that of the 330, $1,000 would not even get you close in time/labor in a goal to make up the difference in power.....
Jus Sayin'.
this is a good point... I'm leaning towards the 330 but every time I do I think "OH but the sport seats.. and saving money!" To be clear... I can afford both cars I'm just so cheap and frugal I feel guilty about spending on things I don't need. Practically speaking the 325 is less money and does exactly the 330 does... Ugh, I'm doomed.
 
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