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Discussion Starter #1
My step-mother (63 years old and her Lexus 430 is too soft for her) is going to order a steel blue metallic 325 convertible with the optional (and expensive) hardtop. According to her local dealer she can order the car and hardtop separately and receive the car (less top) in 4 weeks. If she orders the car and top together she will have to wait for 12 weeks. Is there any advantage to waiting the extra 8 weeks? Will the color match be more precise if the car and body arrive together? Has anyone had good or bad experiences on this?

Also: When I bought my Cooper S I found the Harmon-Kardon system was a BIG improvement over the standard sound system. Is this also the case in the 325?

Note: I am new to this forum and the Search engine is not working, so I apologise in advance if my questions have been covered extensively in the past.
 

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Hey - I just got my 2004 325cic, deliberated about the hardtop but opted not to go with it. My dealer told me there usually isn't a problem with color match for after-orders. Everyone I spoke to who had actually seen the hard top installed said the car looks kinda funky with it on. Perhaps, more importantly in light of your step-mom's age, it takes two people to lift it on and off, storage can be a problem as can scratching the top and/or vehicle while taking it on and off.
I'm in Florida so cold/snowfall isn't really a problem. When the top is up the ride is really quiet, and I'm glad I didn't end up ordering the hardshell (and shelling out the $2000).
I spent the extra dough for the HK sound system and most glad I did. The auto control volume thing is great, and I can notice a big difference in sound quality over my girlfriends 525i, which only has the stock stereo system.
A couple things are a little strange, though - the display doesn't give much info about the currently playing track. It tells you what number song is playing, but it won't show the time remaining or even time elapsed. A minor point, but still... Also, the system has great bass, especially considering there is no subwoofer, but maybe its too great - when I turn it up some, the bass rocks so hard the disc begins to skip. Me no likey that.
If cost is a consideration for your step-mom, tell her skip the hardtop, go with premium and sport package, and the HK sound system. As long as she doesn't live in blizzard conditions, she should do fine with the soft-top (and the cool luxury of one-touch lowering and raising the top that comes with the premium package).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the useful information Studio945. I'll try to convince her to pass on the hard top.
 

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I purchased Steel Blue 330Cic with hardtop (add ~$2300) August '03 with European Delivery. So far I really like it! I'm living in CA and we have a rains now and hardtop works very well.
Yes, you need two persons to install/remove it. It weights ~100lbs. but installation is very simple.
Storage - I build a special shelf at the roof of my garage and rigging system to hung it, so it doesn't require any additional space. It just flys over my car when not it use. It should be done carefully, you don't want to find it fallen an your car, of course. But if your hands are not growing from your ass, you can do it!
So, I hardly recommend the hardtop!
 
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