Re: my '00 9-3 base v. my '01 325i(no flames) - Saab General Bulletin Board -

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Re: my '00 9-3 base v. my '01 325i(no flames)
Posted by Seamus (more from Seamus) on Mon, 13 Nov 2000 09:10:18

In Reply to: my '00 9-3 base v. my '01 325i(no flames), chris g, Fri, 10 Nov 2000 11:29:53
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Chris, thanks for coming back and posting your thoughts. Sure this is a SAAB site, and everyone wants to read about SAAB, but we're all here for some entertainment as well (aren't we?), and a littel "cross-town" rivalry never hurt anyone.

For now, the BMW has an advantage over the 9-3 in some ways. The BMW is off and running on a fresh platform, while the current 9-3 is at the end of its life cycle. Like everyone here, I hope the NG 9-3 will be an improvement. In some ways (structural rigidity), I'm sure it will be. I hope it doesn't lose the unique SAAB character though. We'll see.

I haven't driven a new 3-Series yet, only rode in one, so I can't make any realistic comment on their handling and acceleration. With the exception of the driver footwell, which is tight in the 9-3, they are both roomy for their size. But other than the footwell, I prefer the SAAB. I did appreciate the BMW build quality. The fit and finnish, rattle-free structure, the tactile feel of all the switches, etc, all appeared top notch. SAAB is pretty good, but they have some work to do here.

What's the HP of your 325? Does it actually use a different engine than the 323 model? I had thought that BMW's switch to the "325" designation was just a nomenclature change and that the engines were actually the same (the 323 still used a 2.5 liter), except perhaps the addition of the DBW throttle and some other refinements).I believe the 323 was (still is) 170HP. Unless the 325i makes significantly more than that, I'd be surprised if the 325i could outrun the SAAB 0 - 60, even the "base" 9-3. Certainly not a 9-3 SE. Would have to see actual tests. The September Car & Driver tests the new 3-Series Wagon (designated as 323i), which has 2.5 liter engine, 170 HP, 181 lb-ft torque @3500 RPM. Its 0-60 time was 7.4 seconds (5-speed). Granted, the wagon would be slightly slower than a sedan or coupe. Their only reeal knock on the 2.5 liter is the lack of low end torque.

Maybe my perception of BMW might change if I were to drive a 325Ci, (definitely if I drove an M3), but, if spending my own money, I'd still probably prefer the SAAB. For me, they just have a certain look and driving "feel" that I like. And they are, for me, the perfect "Jack of All Trades" car. A unique driving "feel" and styling (even though the basic 9-3 body is 8 years old, it is, to me, still more visually interesting than the somewhat generic-looking new BMW 3-Series), sporty (but not sports car) handling and acceleration, and the unbeatable utility of the hatch. And yes, I like the value for the money, and the fact that you don't see that many of them around.

You made the choice you felt was right for you. Best of luck with your new car, Chris.
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