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      05-13-2019, 11:59 AM   #1
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Question Why invest in a 320i?

Hey Fam,

I recently purchased a 320i, at the time, its all I could afford. I love the experience and just being in a BMW. I recently over-indulged myself to many youtube videos, mod pages/forums and seen how enthusiastic drop significant $$ on upgrading the performance. Someone, told me the 320i is "the bottom of the barrel," am I wrong? Also, is there any worth to invest in upgrading the performance? (tune, air-flow. etc.) Thoughts? If you have a 320i and have mod-it, let me know your "Why" towards your investment?
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      05-13-2019, 01:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Hey Fam,

I recently purchased a 320i, at the time, its all I could afford. I love the experience and just being in a BMW. I recently over-indulged myself to many youtube videos, mod pages/forums and seen how enthusiastic drop significant $$ on upgrading the performance. Someone, told me the 320i is "the bottom of the barrel," am I wrong? Also, is there any worth to invest in upgrading the performance? (tune, air-flow. etc.) Thoughts? If you have a 320i and have mod-it, let me know your "Why" towards your investment?
Its just my personal opinion but I really feel that the 320i is for someone who doesn't care about the experience and just wants a BMW badge. In Orange County, I see a lot of young 20 something blonde girls driving them. Most likely mommy and daddy's gift.

Having said that, a tune will really wake it up....whether you go bootmod3 or JB4, they will both change its characteristics drastically. You could buy a used jb4 for a couple hundred or go as high as $600 for a bm3 license. You may also consider a catless downpipe and exhaust upgrade. No point in really modding beyond that (again, just in my opinion) besides maybe better tires when your originals wear out.
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      05-13-2019, 02:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Hey Fam,

I recently purchased a 320i, at the time, its all I could afford. I love the experience and just being in a BMW. I recently over-indulged myself to many youtube videos, mod pages/forums and seen how enthusiastic drop significant $$ on upgrading the performance. Someone, told me the 320i is "the bottom of the barrel," am I wrong? Also, is there any worth to invest in upgrading the performance? (tune, air-flow. etc.) Thoughts? If you have a 320i and have mod-it, let me know your "Why" towards your investment?
The 320i, I understand, has 180 hp, while the 328i has 240 or so. My sporty-ish Buick Regal from 2011 was normally aspirated and also had 180 hp as compared to the Turbos with 260 hp, and when I felt the Regal running out of breath, so to speak, and had to downshift it to get more grunt, I wished I'd bought a Turbo. But --

The car was swift enough moving away from lights, and on the open road, if I wanted to zoom from 40, say, to 70, it revved smoothly and performed beautifully. If I hadn't liked the car, I wouldn't have kept it for five years.

My point is that the 320i may suit you beautifully just as it is. You can always tune it, you can use the transmission lever to drop to a lower gear for more zoom factor if you need to, but even if you don't, you'll have a solidly built car with better handling than most cars out there. Don't think of it as "bottom of the barrel," think of it as "I got a great car for a lot less than I expected!"
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      05-13-2019, 02:10 PM   #4
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careful about tuning 320i, even though the N20 engine is the same, they used weaker/cheaper components inside, putting more stress on it will have a greater affect.
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      05-13-2019, 02:35 PM   #5
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Depends how you quantify the 320's value. If you're wanting personal validation from enthusiasts you won't get much. If you're looking for an affordable car you can have fun modifying, like in my case - I think it's great, no car payments, quick enough at stage 2.

Once upon a time bmw's were about simplicity and handling. Not 0-60, big rims, heated steering wheels or 8" navi screens.

Some ppl have easy access to $ and what they buy doesn't give them any pride of ownership, house, car, travel - they don't really care. Others buy what they can afford and take a great deal of pride upgrading as they go.

I don't drive my imperial blue 320i that much but when I do I enjoy it. My next Bmw will probably be a step up. But for now I enjoy what I have and I take great care of it.
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      05-13-2019, 02:50 PM   #6
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Value is subjective to what you want out of the vehicle. If it's all you can afford, than I would say that it probably has more value to you than to someone who has access to lots of money.

Enjoy your car, mod it if you like, or maybe upgrade down the road if you'd like.

I purchased a 328i because the price was right and I've always loved the 3 series. As much as the 335i or 340i would have been welcomed, I wasn't willing to pay the difference, nor the added upkeep costs.

My car fits my needs, and therefore I'm happy with it. Enjoy the bimmer!
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      05-13-2019, 03:36 PM   #7
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Thanks, everyone! This helped a lot, I am new to the BMW world and I have family that are major enthusiasts. I consider my 320i a gem since it came with the M-sport package, and, it's fun to drive. I was about to jump on a 328i but, I did save myself from a larger payment a month just for 30-40more hp. I am considering the following mods, in this order: Intake (MST), Exhaust (AWE), maybe a stage 2 tune (if it makes sense $$).
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      05-13-2019, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Hey Fam,

I recently purchased a 320i, at the time, its all I could afford. I love the experience and just being in a BMW. I recently over-indulged myself to many youtube videos, mod pages/forums and seen how enthusiastic drop significant $$ on upgrading the performance. Someone, told me the 320i is "the bottom of the barrel," am I wrong? Also, is there any worth to invest in upgrading the performance? (tune, air-flow. etc.) Thoughts? If you have a 320i and have mod-it, let me know your "Why" towards your investment?
Remember, too, that to non-enthusiasts, a BMW is a BMW is a BMW. The naming scheme won't mean much to them (I didn't get the naming scheme for MBs until I started studying the vehicles). So the "320" won't mean much compared to a "328." The BMW badge will be the big thing. The non-enthusiasts all think BMWs are $80K cars, so yours will shine anyway.

If impressing other people isn't important to you (and let's face it: You can't bring the car into the bar with you to impress the girls), the build quality and the sheer fun of driving it will impress you every time you push the Start button and shift the car into D.

Added to say: If you saved money on the payment, that will please you too, every time you gas up or have service done on the 320i. Yours has the M-Sport package? I suspect you'll get plenty of enjoyment out of your car!
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      05-13-2019, 03:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
Remember, too, that to non-enthusiasts, a BMW is a BMW is a BMW. The naming scheme won't mean much to them (I didn't get the naming scheme for MBs until I started studying the vehicles). So the "320" won't mean much compared to a "328." The BMW badge will be the big thing. The non-enthusiasts all think BMWs are $80K cars, so yours will shine anyway.

If impressing other people isn't important to you (and let's face it: You can't bring the car into the bar with you to impress the girls), the build quality and the sheer fun of driving it will impress you every time you push the Start button and shift the car into D.
Wow, thanks Wolfus! You hit some valid points man. Thanks for the wisdom! Helped a lot!
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      05-13-2019, 03:54 PM   #10
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We all have different value so this is hard to tell. For me, I have a limit of what I would do with my 435i. Dinan Stage 2 and akrapovic cat-back system, that's it for the engine side. I know I can get upgraded turbo, E85, port injection, bigger FMIC, and downpipe, but to me if I were to all that work to get more power, I would have got a M4 in the first place. I got the 435i because of what it offers and what it can do, plus I don't need a M4 at this point of my life.

So do what makes sense to you, logically and financially. I always live by this one rule, life is too short to live up to other's expectation.
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      05-13-2019, 04:03 PM   #11
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I purchased my 320i because it checked all the boxes I was looking for...6 speed, price/milage, and looks. I do mostly highway driving. I have done a bimmertech ID6 retrofit, and have a Catless Downpipe/chargepipe/intercooler/BM3 license waiting to go on after I make the visit to the dealership for a checkup Wednesday. It will never be the fastest or best sounding car but it should get a nice little boost going stage 2 and i enjoy it. Thatís all that really matters anyway!
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      05-13-2019, 04:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridaorange View Post
Depends how you quantify the 320's value. If you're wanting personal validation from enthusiasts you won't get much. If you're looking for an affordable car you can have fun modifying, like in my case - I think it's great, no car payments, quick enough at stage 2.

Once upon a time bmw's were about simplicity and handling. Not 0-60, big rims, heated steering wheels or 8" navi screens.

Some ppl have easy access to $ and what they buy doesn't give them any pride of ownership, house, car, travel - they don't really care. Others buy what they can afford and take a great deal of pride upgrading as they go.

I don't drive my imperial blue 320i that much but when I do I enjoy it. My next Bmw will probably be a step up. But for now I enjoy what I have and I take great care of it.
Thanks for the feedback! Are you currently running stage 2?
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      05-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #13
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If you want a nice car to drive every day, the 320i is good. If you're looking for validation from enthusiasts, you most likely not get it. If you want to upgrade and change things, do it because you want it. Don't do it to get validation from others.

I have a 328i and even then, it is a normal grocery getter for most people. I also have an M3 and the difference is astonishing. People won't care or look twice at the 328i but the M3 draws attention in every day driving or on the track. I enjoy the stealth factor of my 3 series when I don't want attention.
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      05-13-2019, 04:56 PM   #14
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I have a 328i -- and one day the dealership gave me a 320i with the M-sport package, as a loaner. Boy was this thing beat to shit.

BUT... I actually thought it was a LOT of fun. Way more fun than my 328i x-drive with the standard suspension.

And even though the 320i was down on power, part of the fun-factor was flooring the shit out of it -- even if I wasn't going that fast. The manual seats also seemed to go lower than the power seats in my car, which was awesome too.

So, yeah, I think they are worth owning -- especially as a used-car purchase. But at the same time, the power difference between the 320i and the 328i is quite significant -- more than I was expecting. But, as other's have said, a simple tune can cure most of that.

Where the 320i probably doesn't make sense is if you start doing all kinds of upgrades -- because then you would be better off just getting the 328i. So, I'd say, do the tune and call it a day.

The only other disadvantage of the 320i is that BMW goes to extra-lengths to make the interiors look cheaper. So, the steering wheel might be missing the silver trim piece, the trim in the middle of the dash isn't as fancy, and of course the screen for the base stereo looks utterly terrible -- stuff like that.
But that's cosmetic.
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      05-13-2019, 05:19 PM   #15
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I certainly understand that a properly equipped RWD 320i with the Sport Pkg (there is no "M-Sport" on a 320) will be a solid, great handling fun car. But so is a GTI (yes, I know its FWD). There are other "fun" cars out there you could drive, without having to pay the upcharge to have a Roundel on it, but lack features that peer vehicles (Audi, MB, etc) have--like power seats and auto dimming rear-view mirrors.

If someone in the market for a 320 with Sport Pkg tells me that, for the money, it's the best handling, all around "fun" car they could purchase, then go for it. But then again, it's not my car, so my approval is not a requirement. But "thoughts" were solicited by OP.

Those are my "thoughts". Bottom line--enjoy your car.
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      05-13-2019, 05:21 PM   #16
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Its just my personal opinion but I really feel that the 320i is for someone who doesn't care about the experience and just wants a BMW badge.
While this may be the case for the majority of the crowd, I got my 320i as I feel itís the perfect DD. My 335 is the fun car.
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So there is actually more of a chance to get more hp out of a 330 then a 335 in my opinion
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      05-13-2019, 05:51 PM   #17
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320i+sport package+6 speed+no sunroof=fun!
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      05-13-2019, 06:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by floridaorange View Post
Depends how you quantify the 320's value. If you're wanting personal validation from enthusiasts you won't get much. If you're looking for an affordable car you can have fun modifying, like in my case - I think it's great, no car payments, quick enough at stage 2.

Once upon a time bmw's were about simplicity and handling. Not 0-60, big rims, heated steering wheels or 8" navi screens.

Some ppl have easy access to $ and what they buy doesn't give them any pride of ownership, house, car, travel - they don't really care. Others buy what they can afford and take a great deal of pride upgrading as they go.

I don't drive my imperial blue 320i that much but when I do I enjoy it. My next Bmw will probably be a step up. But for now I enjoy what I have and I take great care of it.
Thanks for the feedback! Are you currently running stage 2?
Stage 2 - yes
I wanted Low miles, no accidents, no payments.
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      05-13-2019, 06:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Hey Fam,

I recently purchased a 320i, at the time, its all I could afford. I love the experience and just being in a BMW. I recently over-indulged myself to many youtube videos, mod pages/forums and seen how enthusiastic drop significant $$ on upgrading the performance. Someone, told me the 320i is "the bottom of the barrel," am I wrong? Also, is there any worth to invest in upgrading the performance? (tune, air-flow. etc.) Thoughts? If you have a 320i and have mod-it, let me know your "Why" towards your investment?
I purchased my 320I in Jan 2019 after I decided that I had gotten my money's worth from my 2004 325I after 190k miles. That car was a tank for reliability and made me loyal to BMW.

I had just purchased a condo in Irvine, CA in mid 2018 so I didn't want to spend alot of money on a car but still wanted a BMW. I do wish that I had purchased a 328I instead for the additional power but do love driving my 320I. I replaced the halogen headlights with LEDs and just ordered a JB+ in hopes of a little more power, but that will likely be the extent of any mods.
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      05-13-2019, 07:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpalvarez View Post
Thanks, everyone! This helped a lot, I am new to the BMW world and I have family that are major enthusiasts. I consider my 320i a gem since it came with the M-sport package, and, it's fun to drive. I was about to jump on a 328i but, I did save myself from a larger payment a month just for 30-40more hp. I am considering the following mods, in this order: Intake (MST), Exhaust (AWE), maybe a stage 2 tune (if it makes sense $$).
Congrats on the car! I like the 320i, that said I didn't think MSport was an option on the 320 in the US, am I wrong?
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      05-13-2019, 08:09 PM   #21
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Congrats on the car! I like the 320i, that said I didn't think MSport was an option on the 320 in the US, am I wrong?
There was the ZSP package which came with the M Sport suspension (704) and the M Sport steering wheel. So functionally an M Sport car, though it was never called an M Sport since it didn't come with the other convenience features and appearance bits.
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      05-13-2019, 08:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by upsidedownfunnel View Post
There was the ZSP package which came with the M Sport suspension (704) and the M Sport steering wheel. So functionally an M Sport car, though it was never called an M Sport since it didn't come with the other convenience features and appearance bits.
got it - thanks
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