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Old 07-11-2005, 10:49   #1
fnfalman
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Test drove 2006 BMW 330i - wow!!!

http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/3/2006330iSedan

I was on vacation and got nothing else better to do so I went and test drove the 2006 BMW 330i at Sandia BMW in Albuquerque. Yes, WOW!!! It's that good. The demo car was a plain jane 330i with auto slushbox, no Sport Package (ie 18" wheels, performance tires, tighter suspension), no iDrive idiot box either (thank God!). The keyless keyfob and the starter button kind of turn me off though. Cute on a Honda S2000 but silly in a BMW sedan.

The inline 6 got a boost from 225-hp to 255-hp and torque from 217-lbft to 220-lbft. Those numbers are extremely deceptive because due to the new engine and new power ranges, the 2006 (E90 series) accelerates much harder than the previous generation (E46 series). Even at mile-high altitude this new engine puleds strongly and of course smooth as butter. The handling is BMW typical: tight, responsive but communicative. It corners much flatter than the previous 3-series. The brakes are phenomenal although a bit touchie. You touch it and the car comes to a shuddering stop. The ABS threshold is set high so that you can control your braking for quite a bit before ABS would kick in. Nice for the enthusiastic driver. The active steering is better tuned than the one in my Z4 (first generation). The transition from steering weight of lightness to hardness isn't quite as abrupt.

The 6-speed slushbox works quite well on its own, upshifting and downshifting with authority and cripsness. When put in the manual mode, the shift is very immediate upon your tapping the shifter forward or backward (up or down respectively). It ain't no stick, but damn good. Supposedly BMW will introduce the SMG (sequential manual F1 style shifter) for it soon.

Of course, typical of BMW, traction control can be fully turned off instead of just dialed down.

The car is a big wider and a bit longer and you can the dimensional difference too. It has more of a "presence" than the more compact E46 platform. But I think that the weight is just about the same at around 3500-lbs.

I didn't spend a lot of time learning about the various luxurious doodads (I'm a driver and not a gadget freak) but the quality and finish is also typical BMW. I don't care what BMW claim, the cars that are made and assembled in Germany seem to be more solid than the cars assembled in the US. The leathers and fit and finish are much better than my assembled-in-South Carolina Z4.

For those who are gluttons for punishment, there is an iDrive option for the 3-series E90 platform.

Hopping back onto my adopted father's Acura TL to head to Santa Fe then later on cruised the asphalt jungle in one of my best friend's Chrysler 300C V8 and I can see why BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine. The Acura's fit and finish are better and the navigation system is a techno geek's delight with such a revvy V6 and the Chrysler 300 with its tire smoking V8 is a hot rodder's darling. But the machines are always more than the sums of their parts. If you want a true driver's car, then the 330 is for you. I can't wait for the next Z4 to be built on this chassis.

And to be sure that I wasn't totally biased (hehe), I took the Chrysler owner to Sandia BMW for a test drive the next day. His comment was, "Whoaa, this thing has a 3 liter six?"

The E90 isn't just a slightly updated E46 but an entirely new animal with a great leap forward in performance. Supposedly there are the usual plethora of luxury and electronic wizardry but I didn't bother to find out. I was too busy burning rubbers.

Yes, you can buy the Chrysler 300C or the Dodge Charger with a V8 and a lot more room for much less price. Yes, you can buy a boosted up rice burner (WRX Sti, Evo) for much less price and a whole lot more performance. Yes, you can buy a Mustang GT convertible for a lot less price and more performance. Yes, you can buy a GTO for about the same price with a whole lot more performance. Yes, you can buy an Acura or Lexus for a lot more refinement. Yes, you can buy a Nissan for a lot more refinement and performance. But if you want a compact sport sedan that will put a smile on your face for years to come, I can't think of something better. The best news is the E90's base price is about $600 higher than the E46's base price.
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Old 07-22-2005, 14:15   #2
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I looked at the Z-4 and the car you drove and took the Z-4 for a drive too. I decided to lease a Lexus GS 300 (AWD) with everything on it except the Nav system. So far, I love it.
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Old 07-22-2005, 19:49   #3
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I liked the 330i too. Not enough to buy it, but it seemed like a nice car.

FNFALMAN...I gotta tell you, your riding suit makes the Vancouver Canucks uniforms of the early 80's look tasteful.

http://www.geocities.com/nhl_fan_sit...oldsnepsts.jpg
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Old 08-03-2005, 22:40   #4
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I have an 05' 545i and truth is BMW's are just "better". I really like the look of the new 3 series too.
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Old 08-05-2005, 08:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by micah
FNFALMAN...I gotta tell you, your riding suit makes the Vancouver Canucks uniforms of the early 80's look tasteful.

http://www.geocities.com/nhl_fan_sit...oldsnepsts.jpg
Thank you very much!!! It's better to be noticed and disgusted than getting my ass ran over by a cager because I'm too busy lookin' cool in Marlon Brando black. ;f
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Old 08-05-2005, 22:20   #6
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I will be buying one!!^5

It'll be the 325, and I have to wait my finances are right, probably in the spring . (;1 )
But I have to curb the enthusiasm I'm feeling already! Otherwise I'll drive myself nuts.
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Old 08-08-2005, 09:43   #7
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If somehow, by hook or by crook, you can squeeze out the extra cash for the 3.0 engine, then do it. Otherwise, you WILL regret missing out on the extra oomph.
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Old 08-08-2005, 09:45   #8
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I'm waiting for the 2007 M3.
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Old 08-10-2005, 17:54   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by fnfalman
If somehow, by hook or by crook, you can squeeze out the extra cash for the 3.0 engine, then do it. Otherwise, you WILL regret missing out on the extra oomph.
Both the 325 and 330 have a 3.0 engine, but the 330 does have more hp. The induction system (and other stuff) is different.

The 06 325 does have more hp than the 05. I'm thinking with the 6-speed the 325 ought to be good to go. But the 330 would be sweet...
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Old 08-13-2005, 20:18   #10
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Dont get me wrong BMW makes a great car. I have a friend that drives a 2005 545. What a nice ride.

Instead of spending that much money (60k+) and since I never buy new cars I went out and bought a 2001 Saab 93 Viggen.

If you are able to get used to Saab "quirks" IMO it is a better ride then a BMW 3 series. (This is my 2nd Saab)

The Viggen ranges around 230HP and 258 ft.lb torque.

I had a BMW 330 try to beat me today...I was on the outside lane taking a left hand turn. Once I punched it, it was over. The BMW 3 series lost.

If it was my friend in his 545 I expect he would have won.
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:01   #11
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Sorry but I gotta call BS on this. A front-wheel-drive Saab with a chassis that dated back to 1994 outhandles a BMW 330i? You may have outran a puny 325i, but I seriously doubt that your Viggen can outaccelerate or out top end a 330i.
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Old 08-15-2005, 14:14   #12
tgtshuter
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Quote:
Originally posted by fnfalman
Sorry but I gotta call BS on this. A front-wheel-drive Saab with a chassis that dated back to 1994 outhandles a BMW 330i? You may have outran a puny 325i, but I seriously doubt that your Viggen can outaccelerate or out top end a 330i.
...puny 325i

Whadda mean, calling a 325 "puny"? It isn't as fast as the 330, but a 325 with MT is no slouch, IMO, especially taking turns.

I read the above story and wondered myself how it went. How old was the 330? Too many variables like; driver of each car, condition of vehicle...
I hope it wasn't meant as a comparison between Saab and BMW. Both nice vehicles, but different. FWD vs. RWD, 2.0 turbo vs. 3.0.
There's little price difference between 3 series (besides M3) and the Saab 9-3.

Like comparing Sigs to Glocks. Both work well, both have loyal users.

Last edited by tgtshuter; 08-15-2005 at 14:28..
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Old 08-15-2005, 20:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by fnfalman
Sorry but I gotta call BS on this. A front-wheel-drive Saab with a chassis that dated back to 1994 outhandles a BMW 330i? You may have outran a puny 325i, but I seriously doubt that your Viggen can outaccelerate or out top end a 330i.
First of all as I stated above BMW makes a fine car. My post was about my expirence with my Saab.

2nd the Saab 93 Viggen is not based on a 1994 chassis. They were only made from 1999 (if I remember correctly) to 2002. The engine/transmission/suspension/seats etc was only in a Viggen. The frame is the same yes but the powerplant etc is different from a standard 9-3.

Granted it was not a true test (perhaps my driving skills are better) then the BMW driver next to me on route 29 in VA. but I assure you I did beat a late model (say 03 to 05) 330i (whenever the 330i is built) as I described.

Frefoo

BTW what are the specs of a 330i in terms of HP and torque?

Lastly the SAAB 93 Viggen (highly modified) Won the Pikes Peak climb in 2000 not bad for a front wheel drive car. Where were all of the RWD cars that day?

"Behind the wheel of a 750 horsepower Ecopower Saab 9-3 Viggen, Per Eklund, the 1999 European Rallycross Champion, realized his dream of competing at Pikes Peak. In an impressive rookie performance, he captured first place in the Open Class, set a new record for this top division and finished with the second fastest overall time of the day 21.58."
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Old 08-18-2005, 11:20   #14
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I'm selling my Audi A4 and buying a new M3. I had one a few years ago, but a deer totaled it. After getting a ECU tune-up by Absolute and a tuned exhaust it will be one fast automoble. My wife is upset because my other car is a Porsche Carrera 4S with well over 350 hp (chipped and exhaust update)that sits covered in the garage until the weekends.
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Old 08-18-2005, 16:55   #15
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The Viggen ias one of the only cars that I've driven that I would describe as "violent". That is one of the most fun cars to drive that has ever existed. Best kept secret on the road...BMW has made a ton of great cars, but they have never made a car that fun.
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Old 08-18-2005, 17:33   #16
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BMW 2002Ti
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Old 08-20-2005, 15:23   #17
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sweet car i love the way they look. but i think i am holding out for a coupe. dealer says next year :(. i am sure the m3 will be sweet but $50k.

james
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:02   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liquid
sweet car i love the way they look. but i think i am holding out for a coupe. dealer says next year :(. i am sure the m3 will be sweet but $50k.

james
Don't forget, it's now going to be called the M4
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Old 08-24-2005, 20:58   #19
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thanks yeah i heard the m4 thing any idea of any pics?

james
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Old 08-26-2005, 19:37   #20
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I sold BMWs for a couple years, and YES, the new 3 is the best car in it's class by far. I was fearfull that they would screw up the near perfect car they had. But, they did it right. Well, the looks are still growing on me.
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