Click to go to Forum Home Click to go to maXbimmer Home

Go Back   maXbimmer Forums > General > General Discussion
User Name

Welcome to!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-26-2006, 11:08 AM   #1
6th Gear Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North York
Posts: 6,726
2001-2004 BMW 330i: Still the benchmark for true driving fans

Still the benchmark for true driving fans

John LeBlanc
National Post

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Four doors, big tires and a lip spoiler don't necessarily translate into sports sedan heaven. But the inherent versatility of this trio of pre-owned, entry-level sports sedans means you get day-in and day-out driving pleasure and can still carry a few of your friends and/or family and their stuff -- all without drawing an inordinate amount of attention from you-know-who in the process.


The CTS replaced the woeful, Opel-clone Catera. As the largest and heaviest car of this trio -- even with the 255-horsepower, 3.6-litre V6 that was added in 2004 along with the existing 220-hp, 3.2L V6 -- the littlest Caddy is the most deliberate when being hustled. Nonetheless, with a five-speed manual transmission (Cadillac's first five-speed automatic was optional) and Germany's fabled Nurburgring as a test track, the CTS is a legitimate enthusiast's car. The optional Sport Package, which included 17-inch wheels, an anti-skid system, speed-variable steering assist and upgraded brakes, further added to the Caddy's ability to negotiate a twisty back road without falling all over itself. Trouble spots Fuel gauge will read empty after filling up if the engine is left running. "Service steering system" warning light comes on because of failure of the variable-effort-steering solenoid. Passenger-side carpet gets wet in winter from ice forming in the HVAC plenum drain hose (2003). Automatic transmission may quit working due to fluid loss. Battery may go dead overnight if the brightness lever for the panel lights is set too bright. Catalytic converter brackets may crack or break (2003-'04). What you'll pay Low end: 2003, 3.2L V6, five-speed manual, 60,000 km, wholesale: $21,125, resale: $24,025. High end: 2004, 40,000 km, Bose sound, nav, sport pack, power sunroof, wholesale: $28,825, resale: $32,625. Bottom line Build quality and materials are a cut below the Infiniti and BMW, and the overall driving impression is one of too much weight -- especially in the steering. But if you like the CTS's bold looks, all bets are off.


As the four-door sedan of Nissan's front-midship, rear-wheel-drive chassis --shared with the 350Z and the swoopy G35 2 + 2 coupe -- you know the Infiniti four-door should be a hoot to drive. Nonetheless, despite sharing Nissan's smooth 3.5L V6 (the sedan gets a 260-hp motor, down 20 from the Zed and the Coupe, but the most of this trio), the four-door never feels all that quick off the line. The steering is a contradiction of too light at slow speeds and too numb at high speeds. The driving position is very good, but some of the controls have a cheapness that reminds you of the G35's Nissan heritage. Trouble spots A/C belt may squeal or break because the compressor goes out of alignment. Automatic transmission may engage slowly, shift hard or go into the wrong gear, requiring reprogramming of the transmission control module (2003). On vehicles not equipped with Brembo calipers, the brakes are noisy, particularly when backing up. The radiator cap gasket may swell and not allow the cap to vent properly, resulting in overheating and lost coolant (2003-'04). In cold conditions, the starter may not run and may require replacement of the Intelligent Power Distribution Module What you'll pay Low end: '03, Luxury, five-speed manual, 60,000 km, wholesale: $21,575, resale: $25,225. High end: '04, Sport, five-speed automatic, 40,000 km, Bose sound, nav, leather seats, sunroof, wholesale: $32,675, resale: $36,925. Bottom line More refined than the CTS, the G35 still has some rough edges compared with our winner. However, getting silver to the BMW 3 Series' gold is nothing to be ashamed of here.

FIRST PLACE: 2001-2004 BMW 330i

Balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis, sweet straight-six engines and driver-focused interiors -- the 3 Series has defined the sports sedan class since the legendary 2002 from the early 1970s. Despite the 225-hp, 3.0L in-line six being the least powerful engine here, the 330i's suspension handles bad pavement and road undulations brilliantly, and the steering delivers the perfect balance of feel and responsiveness. The BMW can tackle the most enthusiastic roads yet provide a controlled and comfy highway ride. Pimp for a 330i with the Performance Package's 10-hp bump, six-speed manual, 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and exhaust tuning and you'll have the closet thing to an M3. Trouble spots None. What you'll pay Low end: '01, five-speed manual, 50,000 km, wholesale: $33,950, resale: $38,450. High end: '04, Performance Pkg., six-speed manual, 40,000 km, wholesale: $34,800, resale: $39,300. Bottom line Critics complain of BMW's high prices. However, pre-owned, the 330i is similar to the CTS and G35. Instead of "just like a BMW," why not get the real thing?

© National Post 2006
europrince is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2006, 11:48 AM   #2
6th Gear Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: toronto
Posts: 1,514
i think they screwed up on the price for the low end on the BMW. It should be 23,950 not 33,950. However...this articles just brings a smile to my face being the proud owner of one of these fine machines
I'm just a crazy m*thrf*cker, livin it up, not givin a f*ck, living life in the fast lane
cisco911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2006, 12:10 PM   #3
6th Gear Member
Darkness95m3's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 2,676
Yup BMW all the way,
However their customer satisfaction sucks
Darkness95m3 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Maxbimmer Copyright 2001 - 2018