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      02-15-2006, 11:49 PM   #1
johnlee
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BMW 330i (E90) As Good As It Gets

I just purchased a 2006 BMW 330i (w/Sport Package), and I have to say, it compares with the best drivers' cars. I bought it as I needed a more comfortable commuter car. My daily driver was a 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S which I plan to keep as a weekender. Prior to the Carrera, I owned a BMW M5(E39), and prior to that a BMW M3(E46). Let me tell you, this relatively inexpensive BMW is as good as it gets. It's steering is more precise and direct than the M3 and M5. It's a little less chatty than the 911, but the trade-off is a greater sense of composure and refinement. The chassis beats all three for poise, balance, and agility. Actually, the M3's chassis was as good but the ride was rather rough. Of course the engine is not as powerful, but its ability to rev quickly and pull hard all the way up to its 7000 rpm limit combined with a great sounding induction growl provides 90% the thrill of the 911's powertrain. What the 330i lacks is low-end torque and a louder soundtrack. As a result, it doesn't provide the full visceral experience of a Porsche 911 w/sport exhaust. Clearly, BMW tuned this 330i for enthusiasts. Yet, in addition to all of its talents as a drivers' car, the BMW 330i has a level of refinement, practicality, and safety on par with the BMW M5 (which is saying alot) but unlike the M5, it is remarkably fuel-efficient and has a sound system that satisfies this audiophile. Finally, to my eyes the BMW 330i looks stunning inside and out even when parked next to the Porsche Carrera 4S. In my opinion, for the enthusiast, regardless of price, the BMW 330i is the world's best all-around car .

Last edited by johnlee; 02-16-2006 at 09:38 AM.
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      02-15-2006, 11:54 PM   #2
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great post! I feel even better about my E90 since you have had all those other amazing cars and still declare E90 the best!

I can't imagine what the e90 m3 version will be like!
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      02-16-2006, 12:07 AM   #3
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I considered the new M5 as a one car solution, as opposed to my current two car situation. However, the new M5 fails big-time in one crucial area. BMW M cars are special because they provide world-class sports car dynamics, yet are practical and refined enough to be daily drivers. The new M5 has a fuel range of (per Road and Track's tests) of 180 miles! The new M3's will be about the same because while it will get slightly better gas mileage, the fuel capacity is less. A fuel range of less than 200 miles is acceptable in a Ferrari which is used primarily on the weekends, but as a daily driver this was a dealbreaker for me.

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      02-16-2006, 12:13 AM   #4
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And the 325 (in 2.5 litre guise) is not too far behind.
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      02-16-2006, 12:21 AM   #5
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Actually David, your BMW has a 3.0 liter engine.
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      02-16-2006, 12:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
Actually David, your BMW has a 3.0 liter engine.

Being that he is in Austalia, he probably does have the 2.5 that is offered elsewhere in the world.
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      02-16-2006, 02:11 AM   #7
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Yes, only North America has the 3.0L engine for the 325i.
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      02-16-2006, 02:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I just purchased a 2006 BMW 330i (w/Sport Package), and I have to say, it compares with the best drivers' cars. I bought it as I needed a more comfortable commuter car. My daily driver was a 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S which I plan to keep as a weekender. Prior to the Carrera, I owned a BMW M5(E39), and prior to that a BMW M3(E46). Let me tell you, this relatively inexpensive BMW is as good as it gets. It's steering is more precise and direct than the M3 and M5. It's a little less chatty than the 911, but the trade-off is a greater sense of composure and refinement. The chassis beats all three for poise, balance, and agility. The M3's chassis was as good but the ride was rough. Of course the engine is not as powerful, but its ability to rev quickly and pull hard all the way up to its 7000 rpm limit combined with a great sounding induction growl provides 90% the thrill of the 911's powertrain. What the 330i lacks is low-end torque and a louder soundtrack. As a result, it doesn't provide the full visceral experience of a Porsche 911 w/sport exhaust. Clearly, BMW tuned this 330i for enthusiasts. Yet, in addition to all of its talents as a drivers' car, the BMW 330i has a level of refinement, practicality, and safety on par with the BMW M5 (which is saying alot) but unlike the M5, it is remarkably fuel-efficient and has a sound system that satisfies this audiophile. Finally, to my eyes the BMW 330i looks stunning inside and out even when parked next to the Porsche Carrera 4S. In my opinion, for the enthusiast, regardless of price, the BMW 330i is the world's best all-around car .
wow, seeing what cars you have owned and currently own, this is such an awesome post!
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      02-16-2006, 03:57 AM   #9
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I used to dream of owning an E39 M5, it was such a great combination of driving dynamics and refinement. It was a subtle statement of sport and luxury.

The E60 M5 on the other hand is like driving around pulling a marching band behind you. Its loud, and I don't mean the engine. Unfortunately its no longer the exercise in subtle beauty that drew me to the E39 version.

Glad you love the 330 so much. Welcome to The Post!
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      02-16-2006, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I just purchased a 2006 BMW 330i (w/Sport Package), and I have to say, it compares with the best drivers' cars. I bought it as I needed a more comfortable commuter car. My daily driver was a 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S which I plan to keep as a weekender. Prior to the Carrera, I owned a BMW M5(E39), and prior to that a BMW M3(E46). Let me tell you, this relatively inexpensive BMW is as good as it gets. It's steering is more precise and direct than the M3 and M5. It's a little less chatty than the 911, but the trade-off is a greater sense of composure and refinement. The chassis beats all three for poise, balance, and agility. The M3's chassis was as good but the ride was rough. Of course the engine is not as powerful, but its ability to rev quickly and pull hard all the way up to its 7000 rpm limit combined with a great sounding induction growl provides 90% the thrill of the 911's powertrain. What the 330i lacks is low-end torque and a louder soundtrack. As a result, it doesn't provide the full visceral experience of a Porsche 911 w/sport exhaust. Clearly, BMW tuned this 330i for enthusiasts. Yet, in addition to all of its talents as a drivers' car, the BMW 330i has a level of refinement, practicality, and safety on par with the BMW M5 (which is saying alot) but unlike the M5, it is remarkably fuel-efficient and has a sound system that satisfies this audiophile. Finally, to my eyes the BMW 330i looks stunning inside and out even when parked next to the Porsche Carrera 4S. In my opinion, for the enthusiast, regardless of price, the BMW 330i is the world's best all-around car .
BMW owes you some commissions for this endorsement. You'd probably sell more e90s than most of the salesmen on their workforce. Very insightful, no BS review
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      02-16-2006, 08:57 AM   #11
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Having owned an e46 M3 for 3 years I would have to agree. The e90 is the perfect blend of performance with comfort. After a certain length of time the stiffness of the M3's suspension starts to grate on you. My wife used to describe it as "riding in the stagecoach." My current ride is a 550i, and it lacks the pure driver's feel of the e90. On the other hand it has a more luxurious ride, a ton of torque, has a driving range well in excess of 300 miles, and still outhandles almost every other sedan on the planet.
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      02-16-2006, 10:52 AM   #12
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Coming from you who has first hand experience with other (EXCELLENT) vehicles, validates what we all feel about the E90. Great Post.
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      02-16-2006, 02:17 PM   #13
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The fact that the 3 series is BMW's bread and butter, I'm sure there were voices within BMW to make it less of a focused driver's car. The ride with the sport package is to me a very good balance of superb handling and ride comfort, but to your average buyer, it will come off as overly firm and busy. The steering is direct and the weight is satisfyingly hefty, but again, I'm sure they'll get complaints about that too. BMW deserves kudos for making the 3 series a true drivers' car. And don't worry about their sales. Remember, its enthusiasts like us that give the brand much of its cachet . Ditto for Porsche.
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      02-16-2006, 02:44 PM   #14
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      02-16-2006, 03:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I considered the new M5 as a one car solution, as opposed to my current two car situation. However, the new M5 fails big-time in one crucial area. BMW M cars are special because they provide world-class sports car dynamics, yet are practical and refined enough to be daily drivers. The new M5 has a fuel range of (per Road and Track's tests) of 180 miles! The new M3's will be about the same because while it will get slightly better gas mileage, the fuel capacity is less. A fuel range of less than 200 miles is acceptable in a Ferrari which is used primarily on the weekends, but as a daily driver this was a dealbreaker for me.
If you are worried about the gas consumption, then you probably shouldn't be buying an M5
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      02-16-2006, 04:25 PM   #16
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I think you're missing my point. I could care less about the cost of fuel. I'm a cardiologist and I drive ~400 miles per week driving from hospital to hospital. An M5 with a fuel range of less than 200 miles would require me to go to the gas pump THREE TIMES A WEEK! I have better ways to spend my time.
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      02-16-2006, 05:35 PM   #17
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I also went from owning an E46 M3 for 3 years to an E90 330i Sport. In the handling department it's pretty much on par with the M3, and I'll even go so far as to say it has a slightly tighter feel around corners. It does a decent job in acceleration, but naturally it does not pack the punch the M3 did.

I'm very happy with my purchase and I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the coupe, which I plan to upgrade to in September (or whenever it comes out). Then I'll just have to sit tight until the E92 M3 comes out.
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      02-16-2006, 05:38 PM   #18
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You need to get yourself a 997 S.
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      02-16-2006, 07:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sadat
I also went from owning an E46 M3 for 3 years to an E90 330i Sport. In the handling department it's pretty much on par with the M3, and I'll even go so far as to say it has a slightly tighter feel around corners. It does a decent job in acceleration, but naturally it does not pack the punch the M3 did.

I'm very happy with my purchase and I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the coupe, which I plan to upgrade to in September (or whenever it comes out). Then I'll just have to sit tight until the E92 M3 comes out.
For me, upgrading is when the four-door M3 comes out - I HOPE!
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      02-16-2006, 09:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee
I just purchased a 2006 BMW 330i (w/Sport Package), and I have to say, it compares with the best drivers' cars. I bought it as I needed a more comfortable commuter car. My daily driver was a 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S which I plan to keep as a weekender. Prior to the Carrera, I owned a BMW M5(E39), and prior to that a BMW M3(E46). Let me tell you, this relatively inexpensive BMW is as good as it gets. It's steering is more precise and direct than the M3 and M5. It's a little less chatty than the 911, but the trade-off is a greater sense of composure and refinement. The chassis beats all three for poise, balance, and agility. Actually, the M3's chassis was as good but the ride was rather rough. Of course the engine is not as powerful, but its ability to rev quickly and pull hard all the way up to its 7000 rpm limit combined with a great sounding induction growl provides 90% the thrill of the 911's powertrain. What the 330i lacks is low-end torque and a louder soundtrack. As a result, it doesn't provide the full visceral experience of a Porsche 911 w/sport exhaust. Clearly, BMW tuned this 330i for enthusiasts. Yet, in addition to all of its talents as a drivers' car, the BMW 330i has a level of refinement, practicality, and safety on par with the BMW M5 (which is saying alot) but unlike the M5, it is remarkably fuel-efficient and has a sound system that satisfies this audiophile. Finally, to my eyes the BMW 330i looks stunning inside and out even when parked next to the Porsche Carrera 4S. In my opinion, for the enthusiast, regardless of price, the BMW 330i is the world's best all-around car .

Very well put.
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      02-16-2006, 11:24 PM   #21
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Congrats on your new car Nice review

E90 is getting popular in Vegas rapidly
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      02-16-2006, 11:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sadat
I also went from owning an E46 M3 for 3 years to an E90 330i Sport. In the handling department it's pretty much on par with the M3, and I'll even go so far as to say it has a slightly tighter feel around corners. It does a decent job in acceleration, but naturally it does not pack the punch the M3 did.

I'm very happy with my purchase and I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the coupe, which I plan to upgrade to in September (or whenever it comes out). Then I'll just have to sit tight until the E92 M3 comes out.
So in four years you'll have owned a total of four different cars? It is interesting that you call it "upgrading" to an E92 when I would have thought everything (until new M3) is a downgrade from your e46 M3. Is the M3 reall that "bleh" of a car? I drove one once and I thought it was awesome.
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