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General BMW Model Discussion
All non E46 BMW model questions in here. Look below for E36, E90 and F30 specific forum. For additional model specific forums check out bimmerfest.com!

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Old 07-19-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
jkomets
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E39 540i 6MT vs E46 330i 5MT

Simple question: which pulls better at stock?

I have the choice to get one or the other for approximately the same price. I like both cars very much, and I can't seem to decide. For example, I like the luxury that the 540i offers, but the 330i is smaller and sportier, so in the end performance is the deciding factor for me.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:26 PM   #2
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I have the 540 and before that i had a E46 (320 Diesel), i like the E46 more. The 540 is a effin boat to drive.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
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54o dude, that's a V8; better low-end torque, but I wouldn't trade my car for it!
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #4
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So general 330i consensus on performance?
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:21 PM   #5
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depends on year, color, interior. tranny...,
I would take the e39 if it was manual, sports pkg...
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:25 PM   #6
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540 dude, that car is a beast
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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ZHP>540i w/ sport package >330i
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:23 PM   #8
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That E39 540 6MT will blow the doors off of that E46 330i.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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depends on what windshield fluids they both running.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:31 PM   #10
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^ what he said.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
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That E39 540 6MT will blow the doors off of that E46 330i.
+1, with this being said if you dont need/want the extra room 330i > 540i
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIDLOCK View Post
That E39 540 6MT will blow the doors off of that E46 330i.
this is true. According th dragtimes.com, the stock e39 540s are running in the low 14s, trapping mid-upper 90s. A well-driven stock 330 should do a 14.4@95. But a 330 can be made to run with a 540 NA, and can be made to destroy it with almost any level of boost, as long as it isn't an auto. The auto 330 is a failure of a car, with boost it is made tolerable, but the detriments to performance from the auto in the 330 are staggering.

A schricked+hedders+tune+3.46 diff 330 manual should eat most mild mod 540s.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:28 AM   #13
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this is true. According th dragtimes.com, the stock e39 540s are running in the low 14s, trapping mid-upper 90s. A well-driven stock 330 should do a 14.4@95. But a 330 can be made to run with a 540 NA, and can be made to destroy it with almost any level of boost, as long as it isn't an auto. The auto 330 is a failure of a car, with boost it is made tolerable, but the detriments to performance from the auto in the 330 are staggering.

A schricked+hedders+tune+3.46 diff 330 manual should eat most mild mod 540s.
Mods this, and mods that...any car can pretty much be made to take off like a rocket, but for simple sanity, we're talking bone-stock here.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:56 AM   #14
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^ totally agree.
As if a 540 can't be supercharged, cammed up, stroked out, diff swap, exhaust, headers or whatever....

I'd honestly take a 540i 6sp over a 330 ZHP. No lie, those E39s are solid, timeless beaties that shrink around you for such a large car, and the 540 is just a nasty torque monster.

I'm torn right now as I think I want a different BMW next year and I'm undecided between the E39 and E46 chassis.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:17 AM   #15
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Well, it looks like I just have to drive both again and decide for myself, because everyone is voicing exactly what I have been thinking! I won't have time to do so for another few weeks, I'll respond with my results.

EDIT: To all those speculating about what if I get auto, I know what an atrocious fail it is to drive a BMW without really driving it, and shifting is the one thing I will never give up in a car.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:44 AM   #16
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I test drove a 540 before I bought my 530. The car was too much of a boat, very front heavy with that V8. The 530 offers the best of everything IMHO.

If I HAD to keep one, it would be the 530i Sport........with or without the supercharger from my 330cic since it's interchangeable

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Old 07-21-2009, 10:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
^ totally agree.
As if a 540 can't be supercharged, cammed up, stroked out, diff swap, exhaust, headers or whatever....

I'd honestly take a 540i 6sp over a 330 ZHP. No lie, those E39s are solid, timeless beaties that shrink around you for such a large car, and the 540 is just a nasty torque monster.

I'm torn right now as I think I want a different BMW next year and I'm undecided between the E39 and E46 chassis.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIDLOCK View Post
Mods this, and mods that...any car can pretty much be made to take off like a rocket, but for simple sanity, we're talking bone-stock here.
absolutely true

I'm talking about the possibilities in ownership. My car went through everything I listed and a whole lot more.

To me modding BMWs is a lot of fun. And you become a pioneer, a record breaker. Why so easy? most people dont go to the track or do any quantitative comparisons.

I'm not sure I could deal with either car in NA form.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkomets View Post
Well, it looks like I just have to drive both again and decide for myself, because everyone is voicing exactly what I have been thinking! I won't have time to do so for another few weeks, I'll respond with my results.

EDIT: To all those speculating about what if I get auto, I know what an atrocious fail it is to drive a BMW without really driving it, and shifting is the one thing I will never give up in a car.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:09 PM   #19
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540 sport package all the way

i regret buyin my 330 every time i sit and drive a 540 manual
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:06 PM   #20
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540 is faster in a straight line, the 330 is more fun to drive. Realistically they're both pretty slow, so get the one that's more fun to drive and handles better.
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