Sports package -- how much diff does it make?

I'm looking at getting a late model used 325 or 323. How much difference does the sports package make in handling?

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package, I would say that the handling is a little better. However, the added cost of the tires makes the sport package not very attractive (to me, you might feel better). Jim
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Hmmm -- the 225/45WR-17 Avon Tech M550 A/S XLs on my wife's 325i with sport package cost $99 apiece from Tire Rack, and are far superior to what came on the car, particularly in the wet. That seemed pretty darned cheap to me!
-- Larry
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It's significant, but the base car handles very well. Rather than worry about the additional cost of the higher performance tires, I'd be more concerned about ride quality. If you live in an area where the roads are riddled with pot holes, frost heaves and nasty expansion joints the firmer suspension may drive you nuts.
R / John

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True enough. I have a zhp and live in the mid-west. Our small town's streets are good by mid-west standards, but the ride is near-brutal on some portions. I think the handling benefit is worth it, but that's coming out of a '92 Corvette with autocross suspension.A "normal" driver might not be any too pleased.

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In article <BLOCKSPAMfishfry-CEC8A5.18532619052006

more, so one of the first things I did was to replace the suspension - Bilstein PSS9 coil-over kit, Eibach front and rear sway bars, Racing Dynamics front stress bar. I had the Bilstein kit installed professionally and had it lowered to the max (although later had to raise it back up a little over 1/2" due to jacking and ground clearance considerations), with stiffness set to 6 on a scale of 1-9, where 1=too soft :-) and 9=track use.
The above upgrades made/make a huge difference but obviously I do have to take care with road hazards such as pot-holes (to be avoided at all costs, especially since I live in New England, where we breed the suckers), and even speed-bumps which must be approached slowly and cautiously, if at all.
The car handles fantasic. I took it to an advanced driving class run by my local BMW CCA chapter. One of the exercises on the skid pan was to try to drift the car all the way around a circle, with the DSC fully disengaged, of course; I couldn't get the back-end to break away for more than a fraction of a second, so one of the instructors (who had just shown us how to do this using not only an M5 but also his BIG dooly pickup truck - a truly skilful demonstration) pumped my tires up to 50psi (about 15psi above normal) and took the wheel himself. He was a bit more successful than I, but even so couldn't keep the back-end out there for more than a couple of seconds before it regained traction, despite multiple attempts.
In general it feels like I am on rails - I can change lanes at high speed with two 'twitches' of the steering wheel....rock solid.
No question in my mind that I did the right thing, even though I have cleary put my warranty at risk :-(
I'll probably change the original Michelin Pilot tires for the Pilot 2s this summer - I'm expecting that to make the handling feel just a tad bit better.
JM
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I bought a 330xi and added the M series wheels, so it looks a lot like the M sports pack, but is not as harsh. I find the handling to be excellent and would NOT want to drive the car with Bilstein... harsher is not necessarily better. My last one was modded with Bilstein and stress bars... on the track it is useful, on the road it is completely pointless. I also had a 540 that was the ultimate in comfort and excellent handling... BMW knows what they are doing for general driving conditions... if that is you, then BMW suspension is great.... if you want more response and better handling (on good roads or track) then the sports pack is good. But don't think you need it... the regular is miles ahead of anything else out there on the market. I agree if you buy anything american, you NEED to modify heavily ... this is not the case with bimmers.
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response the setup I have gives me, and others (very few) that I have allowed to drive it and who are also BMW enthusiasts, seem to agree.
The guy who did the Bilstein install (the owner of 3D Autoworks, BMW racer, member of IAIBMWSP, and who only works on BMWs - www.3Dautoworks.com ) liked the way it handled so much when he'd finished with it that he was going to do the same to his wife's E46.
Anyway, like I said, it's a preference. If I had to commute in the car every day I might end up finding it a bit harsh, but I don't - I drive the BMW for fun and the way I like to drive, it fits me like a glove. For general use (grocery shopping, getting garden supplies at Home Depot, taking the dog to the lake to swim, etc.), my old Explorer does the work.
JM
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Exactly!
JM
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Malt_Hound@*spam-me-not*yahoo.com says... ... ...

They are a great outfit - truly nice people as well as very professional and trustworthy. I almost don't mind writing the checks! ;-)
I'm thinking of having them do a brake job on the car - stainless/braided lines plus replacement Bembro all round. I have to find a way of masking this 'investment' from the wife first though.
JM
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fishfry wrote:

Knowing what I know now if it were just about the handling I'd get one with a regualr set-up and put a set of eibachs on it. BMW sport suspension tends to get criticised for being too harsh.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Harsh? My 323 has the sport suspension, and I consider it quite compliant, although firm. It's the amazing feeling of luxury combined with excellent handling that sold me on the car.
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