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      07-22-2013, 06:10 AM   #1
newoldbeemer
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(From a potential accord buyers view)

I see a lot of "buyers remorse" posts around baseline f30 buyers especially about the steering wheel and suspensions, and can relate to that. However, I have a slightly different perspective on this.

Basically: don't compare the baseline 328i with other bmws. Compare with other $35k cars.

Let me explain with my own example. In my case, it was a toss-up between the Accord V6, GTI, Jetta GLI, Legacy 3.6R, 320i sports and base 328i.

Accord V6 fully loaded was actually my first choice. Loved all the gadgets and the "fully loaded"ness of it. Until I threw it into a corner and that was very scary. My front tires almost lost traction. I'm not exactly an "enthusiast" but I understood what fwd means, very quickly. And also, I couldn't feel the 270 horses at all!

GTI- nice little car, but somehow I didn't like it. Wasn't as quick as I'd hoped from reviews, and felt twitchy on the freeway. I felt like it doesn't hold a straight line very well, needs constant steering corrections. Short wheelbase? I don't know. And the sport seats don't go we'll with my wide back (too tight).

GLI felt a bit better but still not very quick. Did feel closer to what I was looking for than the GTI though.

Legacy felt very good to drive but I couldn't actually find a 3.6T anywhere! It's so rare and combine that with the low resale value, I decided to pass.

Since the V6 mazda6 is now gone, it came down to either the base 328i or a 320i with sports pack. I knew i was going to end up missing something either way. After driving both several times, decided to go with the 328i.

After a week- Am I 100% satisfied? I don't know. Maybe I will do differently if I had a chance to go back in time. I'm definitely missing the sports suspension and steering. But hey, I'd started out with a 30k budget, and 35k is stretching it as it is! And I'd rather have the extra 60 horses but that's just me.

After a week of driving, I'm beginning to get used to this cars suspension and appreciate this car for what it is. It may FEEL soft, but it can still take those corners and even slides out the rear sometimes (fun!).

Ironically, three of my friends (fairly new GTI, accord i4, is250 owners) drove my car and had only praises for the car. Two (GTI and accord owners) openly admitted to buyers remorse with their purchases - ironically! While in fact, a major factor in making my decision was the much higher tradein value that I got from the bmw dealer than others for my previous car (loaded e90 335i).

So.. Is my decision a good one? Depends. In my case, the sportsline 328i and G37 are out of reach (and the A4 with Quattro, because of the tradein value I was getting from bmw, but that's a different long story). So yes, compared with a V6 Accord it's a better buy.

This car isnt a patch on the older e90 335i i used to drive. However for a moment if i forget the older car, and judge this car by itself as a $35k car, I think it's brilliant. Very comfortable to drive on the freeway (just did 200 miles yesterday with NO tiredness), can take the occasional corner if you can ignore the roll, brakes nicely, and is rear wheel drive with a nice turbo and a nice transmission at the end of the day.

The only car I regret not cross shopping is a charger RT... But then again 5-speed auto and a Dodge? Maybe not :-)

I think the fact if you have to lose SOMETHING if your budget is strictly 35k and if you insist on a brand new, rear wheel drive with auto tranny, 240 horses, four doors and good resale value.

Of course I guess I can go for upgrades one by one like aftermarket suspension, steering etc if I wanted. However, I hesitate to do that and here's why: the only reason I insisted on going for a brand new car is the symmetry and well-put-togetherness of a car fresh from the factory. What's the point of losing that? I could've gone for a lightly used G37 or E90 instead if I didn't need factory-settings-reliability.

Just thought I'd post the pros and cons for perspective, for anyone shopping for one. This stripper 328i is a fine car in its own right, IF you get it knowing what it is and isnt- and only if you compare with its class in terms of budget. It WILL lose against any other bmw sedan or coupe, with the possible exception of the xdrive models.

Comments welcome
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      07-22-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
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After getting $12k in options on my 328, I largely agree with you. Most are a complete waste of $.

Having had a base loaner for 3 days, I would only buy again:

Sport/M Sport/DHP
Enhanced BT
Heated Fronts
Power Fronts
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      07-22-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
After getting $12k in options on my 328, I largely agree with you. Most are a complete waste of $.

Having had a base loaner for 3 days, I would only buy again:

Sport/M Sport/DHP
Enhanced BT
Heated Fronts
Power Fronts
Power front seats, as well as folding rears became standard for '13 anyway.
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      07-22-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Thank you for the review! I'm going to be in a similar situation for my wife's car in the next 3 months. We are planning to test an Accord vs the 320i.. realizing that the Accord is going to be quite a bit cheaper. She doesn't care about performance so that's why we are thinking the 320 might be a better bet than the 328i. Ideally our budget would be ~ $36k w/ a lease under $400.

Thinking 320 w/ Sports & Lighting packages, and probably Enhanced BT.
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      07-22-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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The F30 328i is a great car. Depending on your needs and wishes, the options can make the car better (for you), but the baseline is still a great car.
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      07-22-2013, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
After getting $12k in options on my 328, I largely agree with you. Most are a complete waste of $.

Having had a base loaner for 3 days, I would only buy again:

Sport/M Sport/DHP
Enhanced BT
Heated Fronts
Power Fronts
For me the list would be leather, moonroof, xenon, and dark trim(either walnut or black). I used to love sports suspension and big wheels, after pulling out a couple front bumpers at parking lot mishaps and bending a few 18 to 20-inch wheels I learnt my lessons. I love my base 328i with 17-inch and non-sport clearance, it is a great ride.
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      07-22-2013, 12:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mntbiker View Post
Thank you for the review! I'm going to be in a similar situation for my wife's car in the next 3 months. We are planning to test an Accord vs the 320i.. realizing that the Accord is going to be quite a bit cheaper. She doesn't care about performance so that's why we are thinking the 320 might be a better bet than the 328i. Ideally our budget would be ~ $36k w/ a lease under $400.

Thinking 320 w/ Sports & Lighting packages, and probably Enhanced BT.
Another alternative is X1 s28i(RWD) with 245HP N20(same as 328i), it is faster and yet cheaper(base model) than 320i, at the expense of old chassis tech and a hatchback driving feel.
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      07-22-2013, 12:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for this. It's nice to be reminded once in a while that you don't NEED to option the 328i up to $53k to get a really really nice car. For slightly more than the price of a loaded WRX, you can get a BMW with more space, more class, same speed and right-wheel-drive handling.
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      07-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #9
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agree with the OP - all one needs is some perspective. I was traveling last week and had the ahem pleasure of driving a few full sized sedan rentals - was itching to get back to my car all week
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      07-22-2013, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f30fanboy View Post
Another alternative is X1 s28i(RWD) with 245HP N20(same as 328i), it is faster and yet cheaper(base model) than 320i, at the expense of old chassis tech and a hatchback driving feel.
Great point! I often forget about this option since my wife prefers a 6MT Oh, also the residuals are quite a bit worse than the 3 series.

But, certainly you can get more power and a lot more features if you're willing to take a base X1.. We'll need to do some test driving!
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      07-22-2013, 02:07 PM   #11
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We've all got budget constraints and the best thing to do is enjoy what you've got and not worry about other things you didn't '

Congrats!
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      07-22-2013, 02:52 PM   #12
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Thanks. Actually I did test drive the x1 too, forgot to mention it here. I liked it but a sudden maneuver on the freeway reminded me that this isn't a sedan, it still sits higher so isn't as "throw-around" friendly as a sedan. But then that's just me. If that isn't important, I think the x1 is the best value for money offering from bmw right now- especially with that hydraulic steering.
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      07-22-2013, 03:06 PM   #13
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what an insightful read!
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      07-22-2013, 08:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
After getting $12k in options on my 328, I largely agree with you. Most are a complete waste of $.

Having had a base loaner for 3 days, I would only buy again:

Sport/M Sport/DHP
Enhanced BT
Heated Fronts
Power Fronts
Really wish I had gotten the enhanced BT but otherwise the base model is great as it comes. Power Front came standard in my 2013. Also, this past week with the heat wave all week, wish I had tinteds too but got the sun shade or would've been roasted by the leatherette!
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      07-22-2013, 09:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamy
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
After getting $12k in options on my 328, I largely agree with you. Most are a complete waste of $.

Having had a base loaner for 3 days, I would only buy again:

Sport/M Sport/DHP
Enhanced BT
Heated Fronts
Power Fronts
Really wish I had gotten the enhanced BT but otherwise the base model is great as it comes. Power Front came standard in my 2013. Also, this past week with the heat wave all week, wish I had tinteds too but got the sun shade or would've been roasted by the leatherette!
Enhanced BT is a must to do everything via smartphone.
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      07-23-2013, 03:41 AM   #16
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A few things I couldn't figure out, let me know if you happen to know:

- is there a way to remove the rear middle headrest? It seems I can fold it but would like to remove it if I can

- is there a way to change random songs (next song when in random mode) from the steering wheel?

- does the base 328i have Sirius capability? Even the dealer seems confused. I did see a Sirius brochure in the glove compartment.
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      07-23-2013, 04:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikneo View Post
agree with the OP - all one needs is some perspective. ....
+1

We read so many threads with all kinds of conflicting comments "this vs. that", but usually it is because we are comparing apples with pears and not seeing things in perspective.

Just decently I got out of my F11 535i wagon (loaded with options) and into a hire car, a UK model F30 320d EfficientDymanics auto, with a base specification (includes cloth seats). The first drive was 90 miles, so a fair distance to assess the car.

Now I'm familiar with driving small diesels and that includes the small BMW cars, I didn't know what to make of the 320d, it didn't feel very BMW at all. The base trim wasn't helping either. But as I drove it around for a couple more days and tried hard to see it for what it is, I could see why it is rated so highly here in the UK and getting great recognition as being the best car in the class.

Yes, it is keeping perspective and constantly acknowledging specification and options can completely change the feel of the cars. But underneath there is still a BMW even in base form.

Good topic.

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      07-23-2013, 04:33 AM   #18
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thanks for the review post a picture of your car

for the second question - the answer is NO - only from the central panel - hit the right arrow , you can go to next random from the front wheel.

Good luck !
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      07-23-2013, 05:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newoldbeemer View Post
A few things I couldn't figure out, let me know if you happen to know:

- is there a way to remove the rear middle headrest? It seems I can fold it but would like to remove it if I can

- is there a way to change random songs (next song when in random mode) from the steering wheel?

- does the base 328i have Sirius capability? Even the dealer seems confused. I did see a Sirius brochure in the glove compartment.
It is my understanding that every new BMW comes Sirius ready. It just needs to be reprogrammed to display the content. Rates very as to what the dealers will charge to do this.
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      07-23-2013, 10:24 PM   #20
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Funny - a loaner f30 328i, also a base I assume (only thing different from my car was it had moonroof) felt very different from mine. It felt even more floaty, steering loose (and sometimes weirdly tight), engine sounded rough and the dash was showing "service in 700 miles" though the car had only 900 miles in total. And of course it stank of seafood, but I attribute that to the previous user.

Is there a way that could've been a different "line"? It did look like a pretty stripped down car, similar to mine... Except for the presence of the moonroof.

Also, does the steering weight actually vary from time to time in Comfort mode? I didn't feel that way in my car so far but definitely felt that in the loaner. Does the car try to "adapt" or something like that?

Or is it just the newness of my car that makes it feel different? Ayway, I felt very happy to get back in mine .

(Don't even ask why I needed a loaner so soon after purchase - that's silly and ridiculous - my car was missing a clamp in one of the taillamps, making it dangle weirdly. Dealer needed to order it and fix it. "I got a new BMW." "Congrats! Where is it?" "It's in the repair shop" "Oh of course. Congrats anyway" )

Last edited by newoldbeemer; 07-23-2013 at 10:30 PM.
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      07-23-2013, 10:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newoldbeemer View Post
Funny - a loaner f30 328i, also a base I assume (only thing different from my car was it had moonroof) felt very different from mine. It felt even more floaty, steering loose (and sometimes weirdly tight), engine sounded rough and the dash was showing "service in 700 miles" though the car had only 900 miles in total. And of course it stank of seafood, but I attribute that to the previous user.

Is there a way that could've been a different "line"? It did look like a pretty stripped down car, similar to mine... Except for the presence of the moonroof.

Also, does the steering weight actually vary from time to time in Comfort mode? I didn't feel that way in my car so far but definitely felt that in the loaner. Does the car try to "adapt" or something like that?

Or is it just the newness of my car that makes it feel different? Ayway, I felt very happy to get back in mine .

(Don't even ask why I needed a loaner so soon after purchase - that's silly and ridiculous - my car was missing a clamp in one of the taillamps, making it dangle weirdly. Dealer needed to order it and fix it. "I got a new BMW." "Congrats! Where is it?" "It's in the repair shop" "Oh of course. Congrats anyway" )
No adapting, unless it had DHP. Almost no dealer inventory have DHP, so I highly doubt the loaner did.
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      07-23-2013, 10:48 PM   #22
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what an insightful read!
Agreed. I would have made the same choice as OP.
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