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2001 BMW 3 Series

2001 BMW 3 Series

The 2001 BMW 330 remains identical to current 328s, except for engine and brake upgrades. The 3.0L engine now replaces the 2.8L engine,... Read More
The 2001 BMW 330 remains identical to current 328s, except for engine and brake upgrades. The 3.0L engine now replaces the 2.8L engine, providing an additional 32 horsepower. Front and rear brake rotor size is increased by one inch. A new addition to the line-up is an all-wheel drive model, the 330Xi. This AWD configuration is available only on the four-door sedan. The optional AWD Sport Package is offered for the 330Xi model, while The Sport Package is available on all models except the 330Xi. Leather bucket seats are standard on the Ci convertible. The power windows feature anti-pinch protection for safety, and the optional multi-functional steering wheel includes finger controls for cruise control, audio, and phone accessories. Minimize
Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars
89 Reviews from

By:   mybird67
Feb 11, 2006
2001 BMW 3 Series

325xiT - BMW's AWD touring wagon

Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars

Pros: Wagon versatility, glue-like traction, BMW solidity, in-line six engine, great seats, gas mileage

Cons: BMWs are not for everyone due to cost of infrequent repairs

The Bottom Line: 
A great, versatile, fun car. Find a private BMWCCA-listed BMW mechanic and you won't regret it. Be prepared to pay for infrequent but not inexpensive repairs.

Author's Review
I bought my 325xiT used with 32,000 miles. I am now in my 3rd winter with the car, it now has over 70,000 on it. I am sharing my mixed experiences with the vehicle.

This is my 3rd BMW, all of which have been 3 series. I still have my 1994 325i convertible as my summer car. I really like BMWs and this wagon has been no exception. But this is not a car for everybody. You have to be willing to overlook the occasional (regular?) high cost repair that these cars require.

About my car. It is titanium silver with gray leather interior. It has both the sport and premium packages and has a manual transmission.

About the transmission. This was the first year (I believe) of the electronic as opposed to mechanical shift linkage. The electronics in the shifter take getting used to. The takeup point at which the clutch engages is very sudden, very abrupt. I have been driving standard transmissions for over 30 years. After 50,000 miles I still stall this car occasionally. I prefer the mechanical linkage in my 1994 convertible. Also, the clutch is very light, much more so than the 1994. This is closer to a Honda or Toyota than to older BMW's I've driven.

I love the inline six engine. That is the heart of these 3 series and the best part of the car. It is not a rocket in straight line acceleration but it has plenty of usable power everywhere in the power band. Interestingly the car is quicker off the line than my 1994, even with the Stage 1 chip in the convertible. I understand it's a simple matter of the 2001 being geared lower.

The sport package is a mixed bag. The best part of it is the great seats. My sister has the same car without the sports package and the seats are only ok. My seats are incredible. I make 2 hour drives routinely and I am never fatigued or achy at the end. I like the sports steering wheel. I can't remember all the details of the sports package but the one that I think is unnecessary is the 17" wheel option (for me anyway). The car handles great with the 17" wheels, but it also handles great with 16" wheels too. I bought the car for my winter driver, and it is very hard to find 17" snow tires. In contrast 16" snow tires are acquired easily. I have taken off my 17" wheels and bought some nice looking "M" style 16" wheels. They have simple spokes, stay clean easily, and with snow tires this car is unstoppable in snow.

Some gripes. There is too little storage in the car. Where do you keep a cell phone? Wallet? There are two cupholders but one is obscured by the center armrest. The center armrest has a tiny cubby that won't hold much of anything. For me, such conveniences are very minor but for some it might be important so I mention them. BMW's cruise control is weird, with all the different buttons you have to push to set it. Once you learn it it becomes second nature.

The traction control is very effective. Sometimes it's annoying. I learned to drive with rear-drive vehicles in the snow and I like to let the rear end swing out sometimes, for fun and even control. Once this car gets slightly out of line, the traction control kicks in and puts an abrupt stop to that nonsense. You can turn off this no-fun nanny simply with a button on the dash.

It's not a particularly room car in the back seat, but you don't buy a 3 series to take a family of adults on long trips. My daughter is about 5'3" so she doesn't mind the back seat when we use the car to go to ski races. I keep the split seat folded down to carry skis inside rather than on the roof. The fact that you can open the rear hatch's window separately is a very nice feature.

Most of these cars came with a roof rack. I took mine off and replaced the holes with panels you can get from the dealer. I think it gives the car a sleeker, more 'euro' look. Others have told me they think it was stupid to take it off. Whatever. My point is only that you do have the option.

The car has not been inexpensive to maintain. Oil changes are pricy. I don't follow the BMW 'drive forever between oil changes' recommendation, choosing instead for the 3-5k interval. Last month the water pump failed suddenly, scaring the heck out of my wife who was driving the car at the time. I had to have the car towed. Suspension parts are expensive (especially with the sports package) and I just spent a bunch of money on new front brakes, adjusting the e-brake and having two wheels straightened after they were bent hitting potholes. Allocating $1000+ per year in maintenance is just part of owning a BMW that's out of warranty. Clearly it's not for everyone. For me it's the price of driving a car that makes me smile every time I turn the key.

Oh, if you're curious about mileage, my real-world experience is that I get 30 mpg going a steady 70 mph on cruise control on the interstate, and 26 when I'm driving back roads, shifting a lot and pushing the accelerator a bit.

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