2003 BMW 3 Series 325xi 2.5L I6 from North America
Enjoying every mile
Stereo was hissing and crackling; amplifier, then radio "head unit" were replaced.
Spring gadget for popping fuel door opened stuck in "out" position.
After my beloved 1989 Accord was smashed in August 2002, I started shopping for another car. The newer Accords don't look as nice to me, and the V6s were not available with a manual transmission. So I started shopping non-Hondas.
I was surprised to see that a base BMW 325i was under $30k, and gave one a test-drive.
The handling of the car is absolutely outstanding. The engine note is unobtrusive while cruising, and grin-inducing under acceleration. I look for excuses to take the car for a spin.
The car includes four year / 50,000 mile complete coverage: everything, including oil and windshield wiper changes. So if you're figuring total cost of ownership, for the first four years the maintenance cost is zero.
The bad stuff: the base car is relatively inexpensive, but the options can really add up. And the base car lacks many features you would expect in a luxury car (like metallic paint, leather upholstery, electrically adjusted seats).
The car is slightly small for someone my size (6 foot, 230lbs). The sport seats are just a little narrow for my wide arse, and when the sun visor is swung out against the side window, it's distractingly close to my head.
But those are minor complaints. Overall, I'm very happy with the car. The all-wheel drive has come in handy during foul weather. The 184 hp of the 2.5l engine is sufficient for me, and I don't regret not getting the 3.0l.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th June, 2003
Update after nine months of ownership. The fuel gauge became inaccurate, and I ran out of gas with the gauge still indicating a quarter of a tank. I managed to get to a gas station, but not to the pump, and had to push my shiny new car the last ten feet. I felt like an idiot. Fixed by the dealer at no charge.
The interior sliding cover for the moonroof broke some part and came off its tracks. Fixed by the dealer at no charge.
The vanity light over the passenger-side visor turns on even when the mirror slide is closed. Part ordered; will be fixed at no charge.
The air conditioning accumulates moisture and creates a medium for growing smelly mold. The dealer cleaned this once at no charge as a "customer courtesy", but if it gets bad again, they won't do it gratis.
Every once in a while, the second press of the "unlock" remote button fails to unlock the passenger doors. Usually re-locking the driver's door and trying again makes it work (and of course the front passenger door can be opened with the key). Dealer could not duplicate the problem.
None of these problems (except the fuel gauge indirectly) interfere with the pleasure of driving the car. The problems are irritating, but I'm still very glad I have the car.