I have seen a few threads lately where owners have posted up on there first few months of ownership and thought I would do a similar 1 based on my experiences.
first of all I had owned a 323ci e46 on a 2000 reg, pre facelift. I had owned this car for 4 years and recently changed to a facelift 2002 325 sport saloon, not purposely but I will go in to that later.
323ci m52tub25 170bhp and 181lb ft
325 sport m54b25 189bhp and 181lb ft
So firstly the 323ci. I bought this car from a head technician with 110k on the clock. it had lots of extras including heated electric leather and so on. the car its self was when I bought it a pleasure to look at and drive. I remember buying it and having a massive smile for a week. (first bmw ) I was instantly in love with bmw. so what was it like to drive. well in the beginning the car served its purpose well. the power was quite good in first and second and slowly diminished up the gears, by that I mean I wasn't as rapid after each gear change and on private test tracks I felt it was a little lacking at motor way speeds and above. it just didn't seem to accelerate as I wanted. the torque delivery was low to mid and that was a good feeling. I didn't have to rev it hard to get it going. but it was still maybe a bit asthmatic if you understand that. the car its self was a coupe and I loved the lines of the coupe and how it looked with 18's on. I did loads of work to this car and it served me well.
then a few months ago I bought a saloon form the salvage auction with the sole purpose of breaking it for parts, but when it arrived it was far to good so I fixed it up. that's when I decided to sell the 323.
so now the car was on the road how did it compare? well first thing to note is that this car is an auto unlike the 323 that was a manual. now the book times put the 325 .4 seconds slower to 60 and that's true, however this seems to be only in first as you can not hold high revs for quick get aways. in all the other gears it seems to pull a lot harder to the red line, this engine definitely likes the revs higher up the rev range for her to shift! and this is where the 325 comes in to its own. again on a private test track at 80 you can plant the peddle and it drops straight in to the right gear and gives you that nudge in your back! yes even the 325 has the ability to do that. the auto is not an issue once moving and hits the gears perfectly. a lot stronger than the 323 did at speed. the fuel in town is about 4mpg worse than the 323 only getting about 21mpg but at motor way speeds it seems to be roughly the same, I got 34 from it going to leeds the other day. Now this wasn't going to be the car that I wanted. but it was very ideal being a 4dr seeing as I have a small child ands a lot more practical in that way.
good manual gearbox
ok fuel economy
rear folding seats.
rust, front wings were shocking and the rear arches had also started to go.
power felt a bit lacking to me, lost a bit after 4.5k in 3rd and above where the forces of wind etc showed the lack of high end torque delivery up.
old shape was starting to look dated, even though I argued this point before I got the new shape.
2 door was impractical for me
great power delivery t higher revs.
autos sound better on full chat.
4doors better if you have children
xenon lights, a must they are superb
lazy driving being an auto when you are stuck in traffic
auto. slower set offs,
higher fuel consumption in town driving being an auto
not as good looking as the coupe, although colour coded she is looking a bit more modern.
no heated leather (although not a fault of the sport just not picked on the options list.)
so there you have it, just a quick write up of my experience's.
below is a full specification of the 2 engines if you want a read.