which one is better? well, i don't think there are any advantages to the 325 except price, so unless price is an issue then he should go for the 330.
as for options, my dad just purchased a 330ci last fall and he got the sport package, premium package, and xenons. i don't see a real need for the premium package, but he wanted to have seats with lumbar. it also worked out that since he was already getting leather and a sunroof, it wasn't that much more to just get the premium package.
whatever route your friend takes, the 3 series is one hell of a car and he won't regret it.
I'd go for the 325 and save the $6,000~. I live in NYC and I'll probably won't notice HP difference stuck in traffic. Plus I could put the $6,000~ towards the insurance and hope it'll cover it for one year.
I've driven both and though I drive the 325i I would definitely say 330i. The different is much much bigger than the numbers would suggest (which is already quite a bit). Now the 325 with the 5 speed is pretty sprightly in its own right, but the 330 is downright powerful.
We have the 3.0 liter in our X5 and even there it feels great, I'm telling the truth when I say it feels almost as fast as the X5 4.4 but smoother. It's an incredibly smooth, powerful engine.
Even if I had to get a used 330i over a new 325i like I have, I would.
Depends on his budget. 330 if he can afford it. It has more features standard too. But the 325 is no slouch either. Get the sport package. My old 3 series didn't have the sport package. There is quite a difference. Also sport package helps resale value. Premium package also helps resale.
One thing to consider is to omit the sunroof and save $$$, and if in the future the car is used on the track, there is more room for a helmeted head without the sunroof. Also sunroofs reduce the stiffness of the car. That said, I have a sunroof on my Audi and I like it.
The short version of my impressions...the 325 with a manual is plenty quick enough to be fun and the 2.5 liter engine is wonderfully smooth, with a nice rush towards redline. However, the 330 has good torque throughout the rev range, and pretty much just feels like a fast car, unless you're used to something with over 300 hp.
As for options, the only "must have" in my book is the sport package on the 325. Since the 330 now comes with the sport suspension standard, you don't even need the sport package there. The rest are really all about taking your choices and paying your money. I got mine virtually stripped, with only the sport package, wood trim and heated seats.
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