How "entry level" BMW is the 3-series? - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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#1 (permalink) Old 02-09-2006, 11:39 PM
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How "entry level" BMW is the 3-series?

The "C" class mercedes has always been the entry level mercedes for the average person. I always thought of choosing a Mercedes to buy as being choosing which one you can afford. If you have ~$30,000, you buy a C-class, $50,000 you buy an e-class, $80,000 you buy an s-class. buying something like a c55 seems almost like buying an oxymoron. Who would spend that much money on a C-Class right?

Well I have always thought that this model never applied to BMW. the 3-series was a fast,sporty, fun car. 5-series is bigger family sized sedan, and the 7-series is a big executive type cruiser. You always went to BMW with a car in mind. You never let the budget decide the car.

But recently I have started to realize that most of the attention goes to the 5-series. excluding the M cars, if you buy the most expensive 5 series you will be going faster than the most expensive 3 series. Even including the M cars, I heard the 540i was quicker than the M3 convertible. Is the M3 an oxymoron?

Personally, i'd never buy a BMW that wasn't the 3 series. Of course, I say this as someone in their 20's, who could more easily afford a 330 than a 545. If I made more money, would i need to step up to a 5 series in order to buy a "true" BMW? I'd like to think I appreciate the small, sporty feel of the 3-series enough to buy it over a 5.

Now I understand that the 3series is the entry level BMW. I know it represents something like 50% of total sales. I know that they made 318's and 323's for everyone, but I still always thought that spending 45k on a 3-series would get you fastest sedan that BMW makes. The 3-series is the small and sporty BMW, so it should be the quickest. I also know that 0-60 times aren't everything, and that the 3-series is better handing than a 5, but then why does BMW make its 5-series quicker than the 3-series? is it just because they shove a v8 in the 5 but it screws up balance of a 3?

Is the 3 a "true" BMW? How come nobody laugh's at m3 owners?
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 09:25 AM
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All boils down to your tastes.

i wouldnt say a 323i was 'made for everybody' though, the 318 yes but not the 323.

especialy in E46 form its only .7 seconds slower than the 325i to 60


As i said, all boils down to your taste, personaly ive not seen anyone 'laugh' at someone because they have 'only' got a 3-series.

Clint

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#3 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 09:40 AM
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3 series is available in coupe and convertible. 5 series is only sedan. Even the M5 is a sedan. So, if you're going for a sporty vehicle, you typically dont want the 5 series, as they are significantly bigger.

I like my 3 series more than I believe I would the 5 series. I think the 5 series is a bit too big. Of course, being in my 20's I havent a family yet. Since its only the fellas riding in the back seat, no need for the cruiser.

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#4 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 10:01 AM
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Just wait for the new M3... It will have fun with the new M5 in the twisties.. but not in a straight line... should be interesting.

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#5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynotony
The 3-series is the small and sporty BMW, so it should be the quickest.
I never knew of that rule.

There are a few things that are not entirely true in your argument. The 540i was never quicker than the m3. In fact, the current 550i (brand new engine) has the same 0 - 60 time as the outgoing (old) m3 convertible. The outgoing m3 coupe destroys the 550's 0-60 time.

I think it is not all that weird that the most expensive 5 is faster than the most expensive 3 (all non-M). I think you also pay for higher performance whe you take on the price tag for the 5. Remember, the 3 is the entry-level model. Entry-level, as in least expensive, and bound to have the least amenities.

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#6 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 11:53 AM
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For me personally I think its all about taste as someone said already. When I was in high school I decided I would buy a BMW....cause whenever anyone talked about someone sucessfull....they said you know what he had a Beemer...WOW!!! Frivolous reasoning....but strong nevertheless lol. So when in college (read very very poor) I grudgingly drove a Mazda (MX6 by the way...no sissy machine but still.....). So the month before i graduated and had a job offer....I knew what I wanted. Now "TECHNICALLY" i could have afforded to lease either a 525i or a 3er (note emphasis on technically...:-)). Yet when I saw bothe the 525i and the 325xi (which i proudly own for two years now) the 325xi felt so much better. No i am not a gearhead so i never cared about the 0-60 and all that humbug.....just that when i cornered on the xi ......WOW!!!.....it was a mindblowingly smooth playa as compared to the lumbering 525i. I mean yeah definitely you could live out of a 525i with all the amenities.....but the 325xi was a fun machine. Small and diminutive so that i could park it right next to me Boss's Honda Civic (chuckle).....and not having my head torn out (imagine going to work as a start up sales exec in a 525i....what would be my reasoning for the next raise???)...hahaha. Anyways....bottom line is sit in one and you will know if its meant for you or not. More like searching for a wife....you have to ride her to know if she is the right one????......Signing out Kulmeister.
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-10-2006, 07:55 PM
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In BMW it's all about taste. I originally liked the 1997-2002 5 series the best, until I drove a 3 series. I recently purchased the 325i. I am 6 foot 4 inches tall and guess what? The 3 series has more legroom than the 5 or the 7 series! No kidding. I need that leg room. Of all the Japanese luxury cars and the Germans I tested, the Audi A4 and the 3 series were the only two cars that I felt VERY comfortable in. Also, try to find a 5 series with a stick--pretty tough unless you have $35-40k to spend.

So, "entry level" or not, everyone respects the "little, ol' three". I think the next car I will purchase (perhaps) is the new (2006ish) 540 with a 6 speed. Or maybe the 330i....ah.....I really like 'em all.

Cheers.

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#8 (permalink) Old 02-11-2006, 01:41 PM
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I have to disagree with the theory... The three series does make up the entry level BMWs in the USA, (there is always the 1-series in EU) but, the 3- series is in fact the bread and butter of the range for BMW. It is what kept BMW alive for all these years, and it is the closest to the core values of the brand. It is, in my opinion, the ideal BMW.

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#9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2006, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerJD
I have to disagree with the theory... The three series does make up the entry level BMWs in the USA, (there is always the 1-series in EU) but, the 3- series is in fact the bread and butter of the range for BMW. It is what kept BMW alive for all these years, and it is the closest to the core values of the brand. It is, in my opinion, the ideal BMW.
I would like to think this as well.

Question: Assuming bmw offers an m3 sedan, and you were in the market for BMW's highest performing sedan, and price wasn't an issue, would you go for the m3 or m5?

Same question for bmw's highest performing coupe.

Most people would say the m5 and m6.
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-11-2006, 05:16 PM
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is it only a matter of time now though, until the 3 series is no longer the entry level BMW series? BMW is coming out with the 1 series in the states i think.

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#11 (permalink) Old 02-11-2006, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynotony
I would like to think this as well.

Question: Assuming bmw offers an m3 sedan, and you were in the market for BMW's highest performing sedan, and price wasn't an issue, would you go for the m3 or m5?

Same question for bmw's highest performing coupe.

Most people would say the m5 and m6.
I like the 5er, but because I like the overall looks better than the new 3. However, the m3 will be faster than the m5. As it is, the m3 in coupe form (heavier than a sedan) is only 0.3 seconds slower 0 - 60 than the new m5. I am certain that the new m3 (which would be the m3 in the same generation as the current m5) will be certainly faster.

Another thing: you need to decide what you want from BMW. I mean you, personally. You can't expect the 3 series to be the entry level model and also be the highest performing model.

I don't agree with the emphasis being on the 5 series. The 3 series gets you the most bang for your buck. Bang being not only performance but also amenities. New technologies are often first introduced in the 7 and 5, and then become standard on later 3s, once BMW figures out a way to reduce the cost to fit the 3's bracket.

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#12 (permalink) Old 02-13-2006, 01:22 PM
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Of course you all realize that you are asking this question to a bunch of biased 3-series owners. Go ask the 5 and 7 series guys in those forums and you'll get a whole different slew of answers. Bottom line: 3 series is the cheapest "base" BMW so it's the best "entry level" and has the largest range of options. If you like 'em, then drive 'em. I personally don't care what peole think about me. I bought the car for me, not them.

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#13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2006, 10:40 PM
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The spy photos of a new m3 show that it could be a 4 door! Yeah the current m3 is slower than the new e60 m5 from 0-60 by a few milliseconds so the new v8 m3 will definatelly be faster!

Until the m6 comes out, m3 will be bmw's fastest production car and maybe even then the new m3 will still be faster!

imo

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#14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2006, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarNox
The spy photos of a new m3 show that it could be a 4 door! Yeah the current m3 is slower than the new e60 m5 from 0-60 by a few milliseconds so the new v8 m3 will definatelly be faster!

Until the m6 comes out, m3 will be bmw's fastest production car and maybe even then the new m3 will still be faster!

imo
The m3 will be faster. I don't anticipate the m6 being much (if any) faster than the m5. It will have a CF hood, but the coupe configuration is heavier by nature in BMWs.

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#15 (permalink) Old 02-15-2006, 07:41 PM
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But luckily BMW's aren't just about speed. I'd take a 6 series over an M3 personally. But different strokes for different folks, eh?

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