The E46 325ti Appreciation Thread

The E46 325ti Appreciation Thread

Author
Discussion

BigTom85

Original Poster:

1,786 posts

110 months

Friday 28th August 2015
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I too had always overlooked the compact, but at my budget every 330i I looked at was rusty.

I stumbled across a 325ti at a dealers and gave it a go, and boy did it just feel alive compared to the 330i. The engine seems to rev out better and has more sparkle than the 3.0. I don't think there is much weight difference, but the compact has less weight over the rear end and less of an overhang, it makes it really quite playful smile

The noise is fabulous too, no doubt helped by the sportier exhaust note and the induction noise sound generator thingy.

They really are lovely to rev out. The 5 speed box is quite closely spaced too making it a joy to thrash around a b-road.

I'm really loving mine at the moment, it's much more enjoyable to drive than my old e36 328i, although probably no quicker in reality.

If outright pace or numbers are a priority then look elsewhere, but for outright sts and giggles, it takes some beating.

Rally Ax

43 posts

140 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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It's one of the best kept secrets out there !lol

s m

17,237 posts

142 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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BigTom85 said:
I too had always overlooked the compact, but at my budget every 330i I looked at was rusty.

I stumbled across a 325ti at a dealers and gave it a go, and boy did it just feel alive compared to the 330i. The engine seems to rev out better and has more sparkle than the 3.0. I don't think there is much weight difference, but the compact has less weight over the rear end and less of an overhang, it makes it really quite playful smile

The noise is fabulous too, no doubt helped by the sportier exhaust note and the induction noise sound generator thingy.

They really are lovely to rev out. The 5 speed box is quite closely spaced too making it a joy to thrash around a b-road.

I'm really loving mine at the moment, it's much more enjoyable to drive than my old e36 328i, although probably no quicker in reality.

If outright pace or numbers are a priority then look elsewhere, but for outright sts and giggles, it takes some beating.
As to the weight difference between a 330 and 325ti it is significant if you put them on scales ( or at least the 330 and 325ti I owned were )
As for pace, a 325ti is about 9mph down on a 330i top end if that's important to you, however that shorter rear axle ratio means that although a 325ti needs an extra gear change to hit 60 it's only 2 or 3 10ths of a second behind on pace to the 60 increment( in gear, like for like the Compact is a smidge quicker )
Certainly there is very little difference between my cousin's 330saloon and my 2.5ti ( although mine has the BMW Performance air box on which is supposed to add 2 or 3bhp ( not enough to be noticeable in other words ) and a bit more noise)
Originally the project brief was a sort of M3-lite, a car to put fun into the E46 range, hence the intro on the Compact of faster steering ratio, uprated suspension, sportier exhaust sound etc. Some of these filtered down to the rest of the range ( steering, suspension updates etc ). 330i engine was tried too but was obviously faster than the non- M range topping 330i so got canned ( plus the weight additions for transmission components etc took away some of the ethos )


A fair few of the suspension components are uprated over a 330i ( front anti roll bar, shocks )

I prefer mine to my old E36 328i as well ( and I preferred that to my 330 saloon )

Still, I don't think we should be mentioning all this as otherwise it keeps them cheap in case I need to buy another smile

Mr_B

10,480 posts

182 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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I've had a black/alcantara 325ti 6 speed with the facelift and sport pack bumpers for a year or so now and think it great. Was £1800 and seemed a bargain when wanting a small RWD car with a decent amount of power, reliability and everyday usability. It's on a set of Avon tyres which are comically bad in the wet and make for lurid slides at every roundabout. That damn rear wiper doesn't work despite trying a fix on it, and the drivers window one touch wont send the glass to the parked position. It drinks a bit more oil than my old E36 325 despite having half the mileage (115k) of that car and the fact I was driving the e36 in the ground to kill it as it was rusted to buggery. Shame it doesn't have a LSD or it would be pretty perfect.

Broomer

20 posts

57 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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I bought my compact nearly twelve months ago to use as a track car instead of using my Honda S2000 as I don't feel safe in a convertable when on track really. I really like it, but after one track day in it spent understeering at almost every corner I just use it as my every day car now.


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Broomer

20 posts

57 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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christoferlloyd

73 posts

97 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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Mr Tidy said:
BigTom85, you are so right about fun factor!

They just seem such a bargain compared to other E46 models, even though all the other body styles seem to rot!

My nephew drove mine earlier this year and decided he wanted one - I found him an 03 plate facelift SE in black with cream full leather and rare electric sunroof (was tempted to claim it myself and give him mine!) and I think it was running about 2,500 rpm at 70 in 6th when I drove it back.

The only car I can think of as a suitable replacement is a 130i for the blend of performance and practicality, plus of course RWD but they aren't cheap! Probably because they seem to get a lot of love on here, but I suppose that is understandable.
Having just sold my 130i and had a 325ti before that, I'd say the 325ti sounds better and handles better too (partly thanks to proper non runflat tyres - it just would not understeer!). If you could put the 130i engine, brakes and interior in the 325ti, with the 325ti sounds effects it'd be perfect...




Mr Tidy

7,649 posts

66 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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[quote=christoferlloyd]

Having just sold my 130i and had a 325ti before that, I'd say the 325ti sounds better and handles better too (partly thanks to proper non runflat tyres - it just would not understeer!). If you could put the 130i engine, brakes and interior in the 325ti, with the 325ti sounds effects it'd be perfect...

quote]

Ooh that looks like a lovely 325ti - good colour and on a 53 plate it must be a facelift model.

Not sure I would want a 130i interior - all 325tis have the sport seats and mine has the optional full leather, but I would love an N52 3 litre in it! (My other car is a Z4C which has an N52 with a sound generator..........)scratchchin

Mr Tidy

7,649 posts

66 months

Saturday 29th August 2015
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FWIW a 325ti has just gone on AutoTrader near me with about 85,000 miles on a 51 plate with the rare electric sunroof for £1,400.......(but sadly in Pistachio with only half-leather).

Decisions, decisions!confused

s m

17,237 posts

142 months

Sunday 30th August 2015
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christoferlloyd said:
Having just sold my 130i and had a 325ti before that, I'd say the 325ti sounds better and handles better too (partly thanks to proper non runflat tyres - it just would not understeer!). If you could put the 130i engine, brakes and interior in the 325ti, with the 325ti sounds effects it'd be perfect...



I think when my ti is too worn out I'll probably go for a 130 as well ( only in coupe form where they call it a 125i )

Probably get something like a different exhaust to give it a bit of the 325ti snarl and maybe a couple of other bits. Will miss the usefulness of the hatch but the 130 just looks a bit stretched to me compared to the E82 coupe/E46 hatch

BigTom85

Original Poster:

1,786 posts

110 months

Sunday 30th August 2015
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Worn out?! Surely with regular maintenance and keeping on top of repairs, these will still feel tight at 300,000 miles? wink

s m

17,237 posts

142 months

Sunday 30th August 2015
quotequote all
BigTom85 said:
Worn out?! Surely with regular maintenance and keeping on top of repairs, these will still feel tight at 300,000 miles? wink
smile

I tend to fancy a change by 200k

4X4 R

8 posts

43 months

Monday 31st August 2015
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Hi

I bought Chris' ex 325ti a few months ago. I wanted a light, "modern",6 cylinder, rwd car with a reasonable price. 325ti was the only option. It took me a while to find one with the spec I wanted, low miles, and with all the normal issues sorted. The only thing missing is the xenon lights.

Handling is really good, the weight is really well distributed... You cannot tell it has a heavy engine up front. Steering is excellent, engine is more than enough, brakes are good but they overheat relatively easy..

I just want a bit more engine noise..Well, actually a bit less of sound insulation, a bit less of refinement.

cheers

Funk

20,342 posts

148 months

Monday 31st August 2015
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I'm itching to change cars at the moment and these seem to be something of a bargain.

Is it the same M5x engine as in the E36 325/8i? Sounds like the same things need looking at; water pump, rad, intake boot (all of which I've done on my 328i).

I've just been sufficiently warned away from a leggy E65 745i as a potential moneypit...

Edited by Funk on Monday 31st August 23:36

helix402

4,361 posts

121 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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The engine is the M54. M50-M50Tu-M52-M52Tu-M54. (M56-US spec low emission). That's the evolution of the engine. All share the need for new cooling system components after a while.

BigTom85

Original Poster:

1,786 posts

110 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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4X4 R said:
brakes are good but they overheat relatively easy..
I've found that too. I'm hoping a pads/discs/fluid change will sort it though for spirited road use. 330i brakes are an easy swap but then I wouldn't be able to fit my winter 16" wheels...

s m

17,237 posts

142 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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BigTom85 said:
I've found that too. I'm hoping a pads/discs/fluid change will sort it though for spirited road use. 330i brakes are an easy swap but then I wouldn't be able to fit my winter 16" wheels...
There are 16" aftermarket alloys from AEZ or AT Italias that will clear 330 calipers/discs but I don't know of any 16" OEM alloys

chillbill

66 posts

79 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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4X4 R said:
I just want a bit more engine noise..Well, actually a bit less of sound insulation, a bit less of refinement.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GtK38nkFZM

The Don of Croy

4,776 posts

98 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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Here's one I sold earlier...







...well in 2011 actually.

Very nice car - I wanted a hot hatch but also preferred six cylinders and some creature comforts and these ticked the bill.

Bought from Cooper Tun Wells - cheapest car on their forecourt at £10k in 2007. Sold after 35k miles for £4.1k - so <17pence per mile depreciation, plus a further 12ppm in costs (including insurance).

Only faults were some 'lazy tappets' under warranty (all 24 valve actuators) and the boot rams (also warranty).

The weak point was radio reception - abysmal. And driving on packed snow.

Other than that, a hoot to drive and usually >30mpg. If it had had a sunroof I would not have sold it.

Best feature (other than engine and drivetrain) was the 'load-through' parcel shelf, which had a compartment in it and hooks for hanging shopping bags. Such overkill.

In the brochure it advertised the key storing all the fault codes and being 'read' at the dealers - has anyone ever done this?

Leins

6,544 posts

87 months

Tuesday 1st September 2015
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As an aside, does anyone remember the TV advert for the E46 Compact, with the car being driven up a windy road to a large modern house on a hill? Inside, a dog (red setter IIRC) runs through the house to greet its approaching owner, sliding about and knocking things over

Can't remember their message to be conveyed, but I'm wondering now if they were trying to say that the previous shape was an uncontrollable dog biggrin (I loved my old E36 Compact too btw)