2005 BMW 3 Series Review from Australia and New Zealand

2005 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0L inline 4 cylinder

Model year2005
Year of manufacture2005
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 2.0L inline 4 cylinder Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.6 / 10
Distance when acquired98000 kilometres
Most recent distance114000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 5 Series

Summary:

A basic car, which looks good and is reasonably cheap to run

Faults:

Oil leak from the gasket. Transmission shift was rough.

General Comments:

My 320i E90 BMW was an import from Japan, and it was German built.

It came to NZ in 2012, and I was the first NZ owner. It had 98000km on it when bought, and I wasn't surprised with an oil leak. Import grade was 4.5 out of 5, so it was very solid looking otherwise.

I have read few reviews, and saw people complaining about 320i being underpowered, which is true, but you buy this model knowing that you are aiming for the most basic car that the BMW 3 series produced. Hence I wasn't unhappy with the performance.

Fuel economy was great on open road (7L to 100km), and 11-12 litres around town, which is not too bad, but since I drive every week from Rotorua to Auckland and back (500km open road + 200 km city), open road economy was more important.

This model handles and drives great. I have owned 7 BMW’s over last 13 years, and I can only compare this with my 320i E36 sedan (1993), E36 325ci (1996 coupe), E46 sedan (1999) and E46 325ci (2000 coupe 2.5 litre).

Among all the 2 litre 3 Series I had, this is much nicer to drive, has improved handling, more cabin space, and a better front view. The rear view is poor, due to having a high headrest on the back seats and a smaller window. You do get a bit of road noise, but it’s slightly better than the E46, and lot better than an E36.

Performance wise, it can’t be compared with any other 6 cylinder 3 series model, full stop. But it does have more pull compared to previous models. Has enough power to cruise along open roads, so am happy.

Mine is in black with run flat tyres (saves the hassle from changing tyres when flat, but very expensive to replace when the treads are low). Mine came with auto headlights and an auto wiper, which works great.

What all the BMW owners need to be careful of, is that there is some rumour about BMW transmission fluid not needing changing, which is not true. Since mine was changing rough when bought – I did an auto transmission fluid change (it’s expensive – cost me about 1200 NZD), but now it drives heaps better than it was. I would have to do that one more time, as I did mine at 113k, hence the oil was extremely dirty and thick. Do make sure that it’s done by a proper garage where they know how do them. I was disappointed by BMW service, so ended up going to a Volvo garage, who did excellent job.

Otherwise, these engines are known to be bullet proof. The transmission of BMW’s has always been an issue, but I would assume the reason behind it could be people thinking they do not need any fluid change.

Overall, I'm happy so far, and it's very basic compared to the E60 5 series I had. Not many complicated computer issues.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2012

14th Jun 2012, 04:32

These engines do suffer from their share of problems. Injectors and ignition coils are notoriously unreliable. My 318i (same engine, detuned slightly) needed three replacement coils in its first 40,000 miles.

1st Jul 2012, 06:40

Yeah, I agree with you mate. But if you get a NZ new one, they seem to last better with less issues. It might be more to do with how the car is generally maintained overseas compared to NZ.

15th Feb 2013, 08:25

The road noise could be coming from your run flats; they have a reputation for being a bit rough.

15th Feb 2013, 08:27

I agree with the transmission fluid changes, I never believe that a transmission never needs fluid changed, and usually just flush them through the cooler lines.

Average review marks: 5.6 / 10, based on 1 review