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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
February 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview A wholly redesigned version of BMW's smallest series will debut in spring 2005. Meanwhile, the 325 gets enhanced equipment and options for the 2005 model year.
Wood interior trim is now standard, and aluminum trim is offered as a no-cost option. Bluetooth capability is now included with BMW Assist. Sirius Satellite Radio and an iPod adapter can be installed at a BMW Center.
BMW gave its 325 coupe and convertible a substantial freshening for its 2004 models; sedans and wagons soon followed. New front ends for the 325Ci coupe and convertible feature lighting units that sweep upward as they wrap around the bodysides.
In addition to the four-door 325i and 325xi sedans and the 325Ci coupe and convertible, the lineup includes 325i and 325xi wagons. All models use a 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder. BMW's six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox is no longer available.
BMW also sells 330 models with a larger engine. Like other BMW passenger cars, the 325 is traditionally equipped with rear-wheel drive, but an all-wheel-drive 325xi sedan and wagon are available.
Exterior All 3 Series models exhibit BMW's familiar look, with four round wraparound-style headlights and a twin-kidney grille. Coupe and convertible models are 176.7 inches long overall, while the sedans and wagons are fractionally shorter. All 325 models have a 107.3-inch wheelbase, but two-door body styles are lower. Coupe and convertible windshields are slanted 2 degrees more than the sedan's.
Convertibles have a standard power top. Standard tires are 16 inches in diameter, but 17-inch wheels come in a Sport Package. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are available either alone or with an adaptive feature that steers the headlights into oncoming curves.
Interior Sedans, coupes and wagons hold up to five occupants, while the convertible is a four-seater. Space is ample up front with twin bucket seats, but passengers can't really stretch their legs in the backseat. A typical BMW dashboard holds large, clearly marked gauges.
Under the Hood A 184-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline-six-cylinder mates with either a standard five-speed-manual gearbox or an optional five-speed-automatic transmission; the automatic permits manual gear changes.
Safety Antilock brakes, traction control, side-impact airbags and front-seat side curtain-type airbags (in closed models) are standard. Rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional. The front airbags deploy with less force in low-speed impacts. BMW's Dynamic Stability Control stability system reduces engine power and applies the brakes to prevent skids.
Driving Impressions For many enthusiasts, BMW is still the standard by which other makes are judged � partly because the German automaker stresses driving dynamics. Spirited performance and crisp handling are the bywords. Most drivers will be content with the performance offered in any 325 model, which can be as much fun to drive as models in the more potent 330 lineup. BMW's manual gearshift is an absolute joy to operate.
Athletic maneuvers are the norm in both ordinary and demanding driving. The availability of all-wheel drive is a bonus for driving on ice and snow. The seats are firm and driver-oriented, but getting in and out of a 325 isn't quite as easy as in some cars.