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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With all the recent IS350 vs. 3 series talk going on in the forums due to the new IS coming out... and with so many people proclaiming BMW to be the King of all I had to witness it for myself. So today I went and test drove a BMW 330i.

From the exterior... I'd say the front of the new 3 looks very "badassed"... and is actually not as bad as it looks in pictures. The rear on the otherhand is another story... it makes me want to puke. The interior of the car I found to be very "cold" and sterile. Everything worked... but it just had this cold feeling to it... it excited me as much as looking at an old fridge. The whole interior was black except for a metal strip going across the centre of the dash. The IS300's interior is way more unique... and the IS350's interior looks WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better to me.

Now for driving the car... I find it odd that although there is a push button starter for the car... you still need to insert the key fob into the dash! What's the point of that? I think the IS350 has a much better system where you can just leave the key in your pocket and then start the car.

In terms of driving characteristics... I did NOT see God when I drove the BMW... but it definetely was a very confidently handling car. The car accelerated much quicker than the IS300 (obviously!)... but for some reason full throttle in the IS felt more "vicious". Probably because of the harder seats in the IS300 causing you to feel the pull of the car more. 200 km/h (125 mph) in the 330i came up quickly and without any effort... I was surprised the salesman let me take it up that high! :jawDrop:

Something I did find odd is that I felt very disconnected from the road at times in the BMW. This shouldn't be for the Ultimate Driving Machine . :blush: For some reason... although the car did handle the turns very well... there was this "mushy zone" you had to pass through before the car would start handling confidently again. There was always this "wobble" and/or looseness before the car would bite into the road and take off. It was very unnerving at times!

Something else I noticed were that the brakes were very grabby... and I don't mean this in a good way. I'm not sure of this myself... but the salesman told me the car had Brake-By-Wire . This must have been the case... because the car didn't always seem to grab as I wanted it to. A small pulse on the brakes would result in the brakes grabbing really hard for an instant creating a really unsettling feeling. But under aggressive driving the brakes were more than fine.

To me the handling of the IS300 felt much better than the 330i. I feel much more connected to the road in the IS... and had much more confidence in its actions. The only thing that the IS obviously suffered in... in comparison to the 330i I drove was power. But then again these are two different generations of cars and the IS350 will probably mop the floor with the 330i.

The worst part about the BMW 330i is the price. My jaw nearly hit the floor when he told me how much it costs. The 330i starts at just under CDN$48,000... and to get it off the lot... you need to plunk down CDN$60,000!!! :jawDrop: That's a helluva lot of money!

So in conclusion I must say the BMW is a very fun car to drive... but I did NOT have an orgasm while driving it! So I must ask... what is all the hype about? It's a good car... but it's not like it's that much better than the competition.

I look forward to driving the IS350 to see how well it stacks up against the 330i.

Anyways... this is just a view from an average IS300 owner!
 
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I feel the same way.

I drove a 330i with the sport package and active steering about 6 or 8 weeks ago. And I have to say, i didn't enjoy it nearly as much as my IS. The bmw was nice, quick, but wasn't as fun as my IS. Another thing I noticed during my drive, nobody looked at the car. We all know from driving our cars, that even stock a stock IS gets a lot of looks, the bmw just doesn't have the same quality.

As far as the drive goes, the drive-by-wire all needs a lot of work. Both the gas and brake have this weird, non-linear feeling. I found myself constantly flooring the 330, something i don't think i've ever done during normal driving on my IS. The interior, and nav system left a lot to be desired. Too many shortcomings for a car in this category with a sticker near 50k!

I'm not up for writing a full review, but in short, give me the old 330 over this one anyday. I'm not bashing bmw because i drive a lexus, but this is not on of their better works. I drive dozens of cars every week (valet), and a new 3-series doesn't excite anybody.
 

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price of the 330ci will be a killer. damn near 50k for a 3 series coupe? i looked at the guy like you must be kidding. my dad piad 53k for a 530 sport 2 yrs ago.
 

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There prices will decrease sales, along with there crappy customer service and new model issue's... Let's just see..
 

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I also drove the 330i sport steptronic a while back and had similar opinions as you. I must disagree on some parts.


Crester said:
From the exterior... I'd say the front of the new 3 looks very "badassed"... and is actually not as bad as it looks in pictures. The rear on the otherhand is another story... it makes me want to puke. The interior of the car I found to be very "cold" and sterile. Everything worked... but it just had this cold feeling to it... it excited me as much as looking at an old fridge. The whole interior was black except for a metal strip going across the centre of the dash. The IS300's interior is way more unique... and the IS350's interior looks WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better to me.
I found the interior of the 330i to be excellent. I loved the layout and how solid and smooth everything felt; even something like the way the turn signal stalk functioned nicely and felt like they put alot of effort and engineering time into the whole car. As far as pictures go, I think the 330i wins the interior comparison to the IS350, but thats just me.

crester said:
Now for driving the car... I find it odd that although there is a push button starter for the car... you still need to insert the key fob into the dash! What's the point of that? I think the IS350 has a much better system where you can just leave the key in your pocket and then start the car.
I also mentioned this to the sales-person when I test drove the 330i, I commented on how useless this is. But its not a huge deal.

Crester said:
Something I did find odd is that I felt very disconnected from the road at times in the BMW. This shouldn't be for the Ultimate Driving Machine . For some reason... although the car did handle the turns very well... there was this "mushy zone" you had to pass through before the car would start handling confidently again. There was always this "wobble" and/or looseness before the car would bite into the road and take off. It was very unnerving at times!
Was the 3 you drove equiped with active steering? If so, that could be to blame. The model I drove was not equiped with active steering and the car felt very nimble and confident; but I did feel more isolation with the 330i to the point where I was not sure when the car was nearing the limit; my current IS300 has a more attached to the road ; predictable personality which I like.

Crester said:
Something else I noticed were that the brakes were very grabby... and I don't mean this in a good way. I'm not sure of this myself... but the salesman told me the car had Brake-By-Wire . This must have been the case... because the car didn't always seem to grab as I wanted it to. A small pulse on the brakes would result in the brakes grabbing really hard for an instant creating a really unsettling feeling. But under aggressive driving the brakes were more than fine.
I noticed the exact same thing, every time I quickly released the gas pedal and touched the brakes, the brakes would grab hard making me look like I hardly know how to drive a car smoothly; it took the whole drive to get the hang of it. The sales-person said that it was because when you quickly release the throttle, the brakes prepare to engage (caliper comes closer to the rotor I guess?). After getting the hang of it I must say I liked the way the brakes felt.


Overall I was very impressed with the BMW; and to be honest i've always loved BMW cars. I just am skeptical about the long-term reliability, expecially after the warranty period runs out. Good write-up Crester, I am also awaiting the release of the IS350 to see how it compares.
 

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I'll be driving any BMW I want to this weekend. My friend is a manager up in Gainesville and I'm going back for the first football game. I'll give a great review of the 330i (fair, I promise!) and hopefully a 645ci.
 

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I always laugh at the car and driver reviews and etc. My mom who had two Lexuses, she was one of the very first to own the RX when it debuted, her only complaint about the truck was that when you went out to the parking lot there were 600 of them, and every person used to ask her how she liked it. Needless to say, she test drove the BMW about a year ago and HATED it, absolutely HATED it, she said the ride was jawbreaking, everytime the car hit a bump it felt like it was going to snap in half.

We make up a small market of car buyers who want stiff rides. It always amazes me that one of the reasons Lexus is so successful is because of the ride, yet all the car rags bash it. She now drives an SC and complains of the harsh ride of the runflats.

I think you could put a BMW 330 symbol on a piece of terd and people would by it, reputation and loyalty really help with that car....btw the back end of the car is just plain nasty.
 

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I went to the BMW Driving event down here a month or so ago.
As comparison they had a G35 and an audi A4. All were auto, with their respective sport packages. The beemer also had the active steering.
We had quite a few laps hot laps on each vehicle, what they called 7/10ths, and then two hot laps 10/10ths with the beemer.

Looks, well to each its own. As far as performance, I was highly impressed with the beemer's.

Definitely, hands down better than our IS, accelaration, braking, handling, NVH.
The beemer is in one word "sweet".

Acceleration is very spirited, it does not feel as it only has 255 hp at all, not a big difference between the beemer and the G35.

The car is very well balanced, it does not understeer/oversteer, unless provoked. The car inspires confidence with high levels of grip, and the steering transmits everything, even with the active steering. Speaking about that it has been highly controversial. I founded very communicative, and not overboosted whatsoever.

There was a bump in a part of the course, coming out of a turn and full throtle, the beemer was not upset at all by this, whereas the other two vehicles struggled thru it, I had to lift on the other two, the A4 being the worst, where I almost lost it.

I did not notice the grabbing everyone is complaining about. I was able to modulate the brakes without any issues. Plus, no fading after hot lap, after hot lap.

Out of the three vehicles for sure, the best performing vehicle.
The new IS has its work cut out, if it wants to dethrone the beemer.
I for one, was ready to sign on the dotted line to get one. Now the price, is no joke, the one I test drove was 47K!
 
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Discussion Starter #9
pope said:
There prices will decrease sales, along with there crappy customer service and new model issue's... Let's just see..
The sad part is... there will always be people who buy the car simply because it is a BMW. They just want the name... and those people will do anything to purchase a BMW... even if it means they have to live in it! :lol:

One of the good things I did like about BMW was that they cover all maintenance except for brakes and tires for 4 years! That's a nice treat. I wonder how Lexus will respond to that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wisky said:
I found the interior of the 330i to be excellent. I loved the layout and how solid and smooth everything felt; even something like the way the turn signal stalk functioned nicely and felt like they put alot of effort and engineering time into the whole car.
Even the turn signal took some time for me to get used to because it is an electronic switch instead of a lever/stalk. Usually if your left turn signal is on... you move the lever to the right signal direction to cancel it. But on the BMW... you would press it in the left signal direction AGAIN to cancel it. That embarrassed me the first couple times... but I guess it's just something to get used to. For some strange reason there were some moments during slight turns where I had to fight the turn signal to stay on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wisky said:
Overall I was very impressed with the BMW; and to be honest i've always loved BMW cars. I just am skeptical about the long-term reliability, expecially after the warranty period runs out. Good write-up Crester, I am also awaiting the release of the IS350 to see how it compares.

I think a large percentage of people who drive BMW's lease them and then dump them after the term is up. So seeing how BMW covers all maintenance for the first 4 years... I doubt they even care about reliability. If their car breaks... BMW will just give them another one until the one they own is fixed.

Once again... in regards to the high costs of BMW's... the salesman told me that after a 3 year lease... you need to pay back 62% of the purchase price in order to buy the car!!! :jawDrop:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
magoo said:
I'll be driving any BMW I want to this weekend. My friend is a manager up in Gainesville and I'm going back for the first football game. I'll give a great review of the 330i (fair, I promise!) and hopefully a 645ci.
Try and drive the M6... I heard it's even more of an insane driving experience than the M5! Apparently it's better than sex! :jawDrop:
 

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Crester said:
I think a large percentage of people who drive BMW's lease them and then dump them after the term is up. So seeing how BMW covers all maintenance for the first 4 years... I doubt they even care about reliability. If their car breaks... BMW will just give them another one until the one they own is fixed.

Once again... in regards to the high costs of BMW's... the salesman told me that after a 3 year lease... you need to pay back 62% of the purchase price in order to buy the car!!! :jawDrop:

So high resale value is a bad thing?

And BTW, Lexus is at 58%...only 4% difference
 

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Discussion Starter #14
HoustonLex said:
So high resale value is a bad thing?

And BTW, Lexus is at 58%...only 4% difference
Not bad when you are selling your car back... bad when you want to purchase the car.
 

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Crester said:
Not bad when you are selling your car back... bad when you want to purchase the car.

you cant have your cake and eat it too...


low lease payments need a high residual...

A 3 year ford taurus lease probably costs as much as a 325 lease since the 325 holds its value better
 

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Crester said:
Try and drive the M6... I heard it's even more of an insane driving experience than the M5! Apparently it's better than sex! :jawDrop:
M6 isnt out yet.

Sex > Driving, even an Enzo.
 

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METEORO said:
I went to the BMW Driving event down here a month or so ago.
As comparison they had a G35 and an audi A4. All were auto, with their respective sport packages. The beemer also had the active steering.
We had quite a few laps hot laps on each vehicle, what they called 7/10ths, and then two hot laps 10/10ths with the beemer.

Looks, well to each its own. As far as performance, I was highly impressed with the beemer's.

Definitely, hands down better than our IS, accelaration, braking, handling, NVH.
The beemer is in one word "sweet".

Acceleration is very spirited, it does not feel as it only has 255 hp at all, not a big difference between the beemer and the G35.

The car is very well balanced, it does not understeer/oversteer, unless provoked. The car inspires confidence with high levels of grip, and the steering transmits everything, even with the active steering. Speaking about that it has been highly controversial. I founded very communicative, and not overboosted whatsoever.

There was a bump in a part of the course, coming out of a turn and full throtle, the beemer was not upset at all by this, whereas the other two vehicles struggled thru it, I had to lift on the other two, the A4 being the worst, where I almost lost it.

I did not notice the grabbing everyone is complaining about. I was able to modulate the brakes without any issues. Plus, no fading after hot lap, after hot lap.

Out of the three vehicles for sure, the best performing vehicle.
The new IS has its work cut out, if it wants to dethrone the beemer.
I for one, was ready to sign on the dotted line to get one. Now the price, is no joke, the one I test drove was 47K!
Excellent review. I agree with you 100%.

I used to be a "bimmer is overrated" kind of guy myself.... until I had a chance to drive the car in an autocross environment.

Interior and exterior is personal preference, so I won't waste much time by commenting on that. Though I personally prefer the looks of the IS better inside and out, the interior of the Bimmer was no slouch.

The active steering was also a controversial topic of discussion among the attendees at the event, but it did not bother me at all. In fact, it felt very good to me, very communicative and responsive. The transitions from mild to aggressive steering ratios were seamless and intuitive to me. (This may have been because I was driving hard and steering hard almost the entire time, so transitions were at a minimum?)

The 3'er was definitely the sportiest of the bunch. The acceleration, cornering and braking experience were much more visceral than the other two. Driving all the cars back-to-back really showed the importance of 50/50 balance. Where the bimmer was agile and precise, the others felt sloppy and lop-sided.

The brakes worked well to slow and stop the car effectively. However, I was not notably amazed by them, nor did I have any notable complaints. Didn't notice any grabiness with the brakes, but then again, it wasn't like I was braking for a stop sign. I was in the ABS almost every time i touched the pedal. Stopping for driver changes was the closest thing to "real world" braking, and I don't remember any abnormal sensitivity.

I only wish that they had an IS350 there for me to drive back-to-back at 10/10ths. That would have been very educational for me, as I learned a lot about the differences between the 3'er, A4 and G35. Hell, I even wish there was a stock IS300 there so that I could get a little perspective to compare. One thing I can say, when I was driving home with my IS with HEAVILY modded suspension (springs, shocks, sways, strut bars & chassis bracing) I was still able to pick out some short comings of my set up. I've been tempted to upgrade some parts further.

I guess I’ll have to wait until the Taste of Lexus event to drive the IS350 and the 330 together. Although, I have a feeling that the course won’t be as long for me to get a good feeling for the car. And I’ll probably have to get back in line for an hour to get a second drive, so it won’t be exactly back-to-back. But hell, it’s better than nothing ;)
 

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IS JOE said:
Excellent review. I agree with you 100%.

I used to be a "bimmer is overrated" kind of guy myself.... until I had a chance to drive the car in an autocross environment.
thanks, same here, I have always thought they were overrated. Not this one.



IS JOE said:
The active steering was also a controversial topic of discussion among the attendees at the event, but it did not bother me at all. In fact, it felt very good to me, very communicative and responsive. The transitions from mild to aggressive steering ratios were seamless and intuitive to me. (This may have been because I was driving hard and steering hard almost the entire time, so transitions were at a minimum?)
Same here, I was able to be very precise, low speed, high speed....and as you say, it was all seamless. Actually, I was highly impressed as well.

IS JOE said:
The 3'er was definitely the sportiest of the bunch. The acceleration, cornering and braking experience were much more visceral than the other two. Driving all the cars back-to-back really showed the importance of 50/50 balance. Where the bimmer was agile and precise, the others felt sloppy and lop-sided.
The A4 was horrible, I almost lost it a couple of times, jruhi4 was with me at the event, he'll tell you, it was not pretty. At one point I told the instructor, I am done with this one,no need for an additional lap.


IS JOE said:
I guess I’ll have to wait until the Taste of Lexus event to drive the IS350 and the 330 together. Although, I have a feeling that the course won’t be as long for me to get a good feeling for the car. And I’ll probably have to get back in line for an hour to get a second drive, so it won’t be exactly back-to-back. But hell, it’s better than nothing ;)
stayed tuned for our own review of the IS350/250.....soon ;)
 

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330i vs. IS300

I intended to buy a 330i a few years ago because it looked so good on paper. Then I drove one. Compared to IS, ride was bone-jarring and it rolled in corners. My impression was that BMW upgraded the interior with savings from front MacPherson struts. Lexus spent the money on infrastructure with double-wishbones all around, making IS a much more enjoyable drive. I'm all for upgrading IS interior - I got the Luxury Package for the black and ivory dash along with all the rest. And I like the new IS250/350 interior much better. But not at the cost of handling. My heart still skips a beat when I slip behind the wheel of my IS300. It's not about posing for me.
 

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METEORO said:
stayed tuned for our own review of the IS350/250.....soon ;)
YOU driving the IS doesn't help ME to drive the new IS :lol:

Can't wait for your review. You seem to have the same perspective as me :approve:
 
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