I really, really loved this very temperamental, moody machine. When it ran, it ran like a rocket. When it broke down, it left you with maniacal feelings of despair and anger. But what a rush it was!
The elegantly dated shape of the car is eye catching. I love the shark nosed front end, and the tall greenhouse so reminiscent of the groovy European sedans of that era.
The engine is incredible, taching up to a shrieking, banshee wail around 5000. Just loved that sound! Mechanically at least, the motor is bulletproof. I've seen 320i's with 200 and 300 thousand miles on the original block. And cornering was wild; it would rocket through the tightest turns. But the automatic transmission is not the right choice for this car; if I was looking for one, I'd find one with the Getrag 5 speed. You need to be able to wind this motor up for performance.
Build quality was very good, but there were lots of little "glitchy" things, like the plastic glove box straps that routinely break (lousy engineering), or the too-fragile door panels, and the less-than-supportive seats. And don't ever try to do hard driving on a hot day; BMW's just don't seem to handle the heat very well. Still, despite the many bruised knuckles, no-starts, and overheats, I would do it all again.
A final warning: the 320i is an old car now, requiring a lot of it's owner. Despite their great qualities, this is not a beginner's car. It reminds me of a guy who said that there are two kinds of people who own old Bimmers: BMW mechanics, and those who wish they were.