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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 02-10-2007, 09:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Help deciding on a BMW

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and BMWs I currently own a 2001 Honda Civic which I use to commute to work. I've been looking for a used BMW at cars.com and see that 540i is within my budget of $12,000, I like this car but a friend told me to stay away from the 8 cylinder and that I would be better off in a 325i, 328i. Honestly I like the horse power that the 540i has but it does require premium gas and there might be some reliability issues (???). Can someone recommend a reliable and dependable model and year, I will primarily be using this for commuting during the week and for me and my wife and two children on the weekends. Any advise will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

-Ed
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Old 02-10-2007, 01:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a 1995 325I and I get about 28 mpg on the highway if I baby it then it can get better but that goes with any car. Im a domestic Car man and own a Camaro and a New corvette , I bought my BMW for the same reason you are looking at one for and I LOVE IT !!!!!!! Good Car , Handles Great and you can't beat the performance and Gas milage it offers. If you want GAS only you can get a 318 but if you want a little more peppy I say go for a 325I. Just My opinion !!!!!
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Whats the difference between the 325i and the 328i?
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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318= 1.8 liters 3 stand for the series. 325= 2.5 liters 328= 2.8 liters and so on. This goes for the 5, 6, 7, and 8 series.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsav00
Whats the difference between the 325i and the 328i?
sup dude, welcome to bimmerwerkz....

325i:
Produced late 1991 until 1995
OBD1 - (better for modifications)
from 6/91-7/92 the motors did not have vanos (the V-tech of BMW's)
2.5 liters
"I" means 4 door, "IS" means 2 door
no traction control


328i:
Produced late 1995 until 1999
OBD2 - stricter on emisssions
all the motors have vanos (the V-tech of BMW's)
2.8 liters
"I" means 4 door, "IS" means 2 door
traction control


now as far as the use of the car, would it be for fun or just to get around? or both?
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have driven the 3 and 5 series. I love my 540i and did not like the 6cyl. I would not say they had reliability issues, but all BMWs relative to Honda are high maintenance.The 540 is extremely well balanced and rock solid..I avg about 23mpg @ 85 on the hwy,19around town.The 3 series are a little more tossable, the 5 is heavier and more to the luxury side. Either way you can't go wrong, just don't assume you will not spend some money.

Happy hunting
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I will be using the BMW as my primary vehicle.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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i would go for a 330is which is what im gonna be driving here in a while.very nice on the eyes and the power is there if u need it all round good car
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Old 02-11-2007, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i would go for the 3 series, but thats just me

pros
smaller
a bit cheaper (you could get a new 3 series)
i think it looks nicer (but thats just opinion)
better gas mileage
8 cyl is expensive to fix if it breaks

cons
smaller

good luck
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Heres your basic guide to the 3 series.

318 = 1.9 liter motor 4 cylinder
325 = 2.5 liter motor 6 cylinder
323 = 2.5 liter motor 6 cylinder
328 = 2.8 liter motor 6 cylidner
M3 = 3.0 liter motor in 1995, 3.2 liter motor in 1996-1999 (same power as 3.0) 6 cylinder

That's it for the e36.

e46
323 = 2.5 liter motor 6 cylinder
325 = 2.5 liter motor 6 cylinder
328 = 2.8 liter motor 6 cylinder
330 = 3.0 liter motor 6 cylinder


The e46 will probably be out of your price range.

Because of your price range, and your lust for power i'd recommend a 1995-1999 M3. Although becuase you want a 4 door your best bet is to find a 1997 or 1998 Sedan M3. Most of these came in Automatic. Don't know if that's your preference.

This vehicles use premium gas and get low 20 s mpgs. Although they've got sportier suspension, and plenty more power.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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here is my opinion, if you want horsepower, reliabilty, and for doors, decent gas milage and major fun factor along will a 5 speed. 1998 four door M3. hands down great car for the money. my dad recently sold one to a friend and i drove it and it was wounderful. my dad has also driven a 740il and now drives a e39 540i like you said. go with the M3. about 10-12k probly.
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