Buying a 2005 BMW 330xi


#1

I’m looking for any advice on what to look for when shopping for this car. I’ve already test drove it and know I love the handling and performance. I just feel in my element behind the wheel. How many miles should I be looking for? Below 40k? I major decision has been to buy a certified from a BMW dealer or save $2,000-$4,000 or so buying from a random dealer or used car dealer. Does anyone feel the certified tag is just a gimmick to make money? The extended two year warranty matters very little to me. How much should I expect to pay for one with leather and about 30k?

Thanks everyone!


#2

A certified car that is backed by BMW has had a number of evaluations done to ensure that it is worth the certification. BMW provides a warranty for the car beyond the usual new car warranty. Check it out here:

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/CPO/Default.aspx

It might be worth it to you if yo plan to keep the car for a long time.


#3

BMW certified is a nice comfy feeling however you pay for it. The likely case is that the difference for a certified BMW you will not pay out being your own warranty company(eg paying repair out of pocket).

If you buy used look for one from a private owner with full dealer records. BMW/Audi is a smart company for servicing the first 4yrs 50k miles. They include it into the purchase price. Lexus and MB fall on their face in this aspect turning their owners off with overpriced but very cushy service paid out of pocket. MB & lexus may find their (lease)cars at Jiffy Lube with improper oil changes/service by low wage oil change techs and no service check performed otherwise by technicians.


#4

BMW/Rolls Royce is not part of the VW/Audi/Bentley/Porsche group, though they may offer similar maintenance packages.


#5

TW1013,

Excellent choice of vehicle to pursue. Although I would suggest if you plan on keeping the vehicle for a long time to skip the all-wheel drive model and instead opt for a 330I instead. The rear wheel drive model will have slightly better fuel mileage and in the long run be less costly to repair. The year you are interested in is a good one, as BMW had sorted out all the small issues with these cars by then. In fact 2004 or later is fine for these cars known as the “E46” in BMW circles (3 series cars built between 1999 and 2006).

On a car this new I would suggest pursuing it through a BMW dealer. Most late-model BMW’s on used car lots are there for a reason which may include accident damage, paint or mechanical issues, or multiple owners. A BMW dealer will never send a clean late model car off to auction. However, some people do trade them into other high end dealerships and the cars may have a clan history, but ask yourself this- If they traded it in for a Lexus doesn’t that suggest they were dissastisfied with the car in some way? Perhaps it was a bit of a lemon, who knows. A warranty counts for a lot on a BMW and you’ll be thankful it’s there when you need a $2,000 repair. Trust me, both myself and my family have worked for BMW and I know these cars.

As for buying details- I actually like to see higher miles on a newer car as that suggests to me it’s lived an easy life on the highway. I’d say 45,000 miles sounds about right for a 2005. There were 3 major options on that car-a sport package, a premium package and a cold weather package. The premium package gets you leather (although the leatherette looks as nice and wears better) and luxuries. The sport package gets you supportive sports seats, special wheels, etc. You can rack up $10,000 in options on these cars so the value of the car should be determined at KBB.com or Edmunds.com. A stripped down car will command a much different price than a loaded car with navigation.

Good luck.


#6

Thanks for the advice thus far. I would love to go for the rear wheel drive option if I didn’t live in New England where ice and snow is a serious issue. How much would you say I should actually expect to pay for this car with the premium package and about 35-40k since KBB, NADA, and Edmunds are what you might expect to see as an asking price? I would guess no more than $25,000.


#7

I will state price out 4 quality winter tires/rims for AWD or RWD. A worthwhile investment if you like to stop and turn around a bend in the winter conditions whether RWD or AWD. Tirerack.com is a good source of pricing however currently they are likely sold out of most.


#8

tw1013,

A 2005 330xi with a premium package and 40K miles carries a Blue Book Retail of $25,380. I wouldn’t expect to get the car for less than $22,000 at any dealer to be honest. However, I too am from New England (Boston to be exact) and I can tell you my inside source at a BMW dealer says the BMW used car market is a bit weak at the moment. On top of this the market is a bit flooded with E46’s coming off lease. This is an excellent time to negotiate for a vehicle. Find a nice certified used vehicle you like through the BMW USA website and then make an offer through the internet that’s low, but realistic. More than likely they have $19,000 in the car, so offer $21,000 and negotiate from there.

As for choosing AWD because of the snow, I have driven dozens of BMW’s in ice and snow and how they perform all comes down to the tires, which are not created equal. Although the 3 series is RWD by nature, and this strikes fear into potential owners, the car is unusual in that it has a 50/50 weight ditribution between its front and rear wheels allowing it to perform in poor conditions far better than the average RWD car. Ideally a set of excellent performance winter tires for the months of December through April 1st is called for. Standard tires on an AWD BMW will allow you to accelerate from a stop in poor conditions, but they will NOT allow you to stop any better. The 4WD and AWD mentality gets people into trouble because they assume because they can accelerate quickly the car will negotiate turns and stop quickly as well. Of course ice doesn’t care how many wheels drive your car when you apply the brakes. As for tire brand I am biased towards Michelin, as I have found them to generally be of the highest quality over the years and perform very well.

Hope this helps,

Dave G.