Stories, how-to, and reviews from my personal tuner shop... my garage.

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Specs, history, pros/cons, and stories about my own 330i.

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my 2001 330i Sport 5-Speed


SPECIFICATIONS (Numbers in yellow are after my modifications)
TYPE:Front engine, rear wheel drive CHASSIS:Unibody, fully independant suspension
ENGINE:24 valve DOHC Inline 6
Weight Dist (f/r)50.1/49.9 50.0/50.0
Displacement182 ci, 2979cc Curb Weight3281 lbs 3255 lbs
Bore/Stroke3.31/3.53 in Wheelbase107.3 in
Power225hp @ 5900rpm
322hp @ 6200rpm
Length176.7 in
Torque214lb-ft @ 3500rpm
297lbft @ 4800rpm
Width69.2 in
Compression10.2:1 Height53.9 in 52.1 in
1st Gear4.21 0-60 mph6.2 sec 5.2 sec
2nd Gear2.49 Drag.32 Cd
3rd Gear1.66 Top Speed135+, BMW says 128 166+
4th Gear1.24
5th Gear1.00
Final Drive2.93

I became the proud owner of a 2001 330i on November 17th, 2000. I was driving by Camelback BMW (now at a incredibly beautiful new location and renamed BMW of North Scottsdale) one day and decided to look around. I never imagined I could afford a BMW at all, I was just looking. I even test-drove a blue 330i with the Steptronic automatic transmission. I was very disappointed in the lag the transmission took to downshift and it seemed underpowered. I asked the salesperson about a manual transmission and he said they don't normally carry them. I figured my day was over and returned the car to the dealership. On my way out, I spotted a silver sedan with the Xenon headlamps. That was one of those "must-have" options I was interested in. Turns out, this particular silver bullet also had the sunroof, M Sport package, aluminum trim, and low and behold a 5-SPEED!

Now, this gorgeous piece of work stickered for just over $40,000. I have owned many cars in my time, but nothing this expensive. I said "what the hell", and filled out the credit application. I did hear back the next day from Stuart, my sales rep. He said "Come get your new BMW!" I was literally in shock and left a weekend network install project to go pick it up. I haven't regretted the outrageous payment yet!

PROS: The best thing going for this car to me (besides it's just HOT styling) is the flat-ass torque curve. The Double-VANOS system that BMW used on this M54 engine is just fantastic. Dinan even admitted that BMW already milked the ECU chip for all it's worth. Only a quicker throttle response can be programmed. The DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) works like a charm, ruining my fun at smoking the tires. Thank You BMW for letting us turn it off. I am impressed with the handling, but I will still stiffen up the roll bars and maybe coilovers. I am even satisfied with the Harmon-Kardon audio system and considering the $4,000 stereo in my Maxima, that's says a lot.

CONS: The sunroof shade and the power windows have given me trouble, but they are known to BMW and have repair procedures. The sunroof has two clips that guide the shade into the roof on a track. If you ever use the sunroof, it is very possible that these will break off at one point or another. Word of warning: an "internal memo" seen during service that said they will NOT fix these as somehow it is our fault that they break. Second, the windows. I have already had a regulator (window motor) go out. It made a clicking noise and wouldn't roll up. My buddy has a 323 and has had *SIX* regulators replaced so far. Apparently, there is a plastic pulley that the window cable glides on and the edges get brittle and chip off (I don't know if the Arizona heats helps that process along). Last I heard, BMW was working on a permanent solution. Another note: That same dealership "memo" said to not fix "noisy" regulators, just broken ones.


After three wonderful years with my '01 330i, the first project car has a new home. An Air Traffic Controller in San Diego saw the car listed online at auction and made the successful bid to take it home. A fine gentleman, he flew out a couple days later with his girlfriend and took the car for a spin after having it inspected by BMW. He immediately fell in love with it and to this day still drives it around southern California. So, if you are in the area, and see a fast moving silver 330i, wave to him and give him a thumbs-up!

The Third Day - 400mi
Here I am, still showing off my new toy. I take Greg and my neighbor, John, with me for a spin. I make it around the corner in my subdivision and see two imports go whizzing by. A red Integra and a blue Civic hatchback. Both lowered and with Columbian exhaust. Greg says "play with them!" Sounds like fun, so I give it some go-go juice and chase them down. Two turns and they let me pass. Awww... Wait, they start giving chase. I step on it, but lightly since it is still in break-in, and easily lose the Civic. The Integra falls behind but manages to keep up. Now, I don't know what is going to happen when we stop, so I pull into a stranger's driveway.

I don't get out, but Greg tells me that this kid has gotten out and is heading for his trunk. I open the door to see him coming towards me with a baseball bat. Bad move. I put my leg out on the ground and ask him what his deal is. He is all pissed off cuz he thinks I flashed my brights at him. If he knew anything about cars, he would know the characteristics of Xenon. I told him he didn't have any idea what he was talking about. He was just a 17 year old punk. He slowly made his way back to his car cursing. That could have been ugly.

The First Day - 31mi
The very first day I had the car, I drove it to Flagstaff. My roommate, Greg, was up there visiting his brother. I grabbed my other roommate, Rog, and headed north. We stopped in Cordes Junction for a drink and asked how the roads were. The clerk at the gas station said her friend just came down the mountain and said it was the worst weather he has driven in a long time. We continued anyway, determined to find out how well this "DSC" system worked. About 50 miles short of Flagstaff, it started to snow. Personally, I have never driven in a snow storm. This was a first. I managed to get behind a large truck who was cruising along at about 50 and tailed his tracks all the way up.

The car never flinched once. Except for the first traffic light inside town. We took the corner at a normal speed, but 3 inches of fresh snow on top of ice was too much for my wide sport rubber. The tail end started to let go. I felt it and began to counter, but didn't have a chance. I felt the car jerk straight and a little yellow hazard symbol blinked on my dash. The DSC at it's finest. So, THATS what it does!

  © MarvelPhx