1995 BMW 3 Series 325i 2.5L I6

Summary:

Reliable, comfortable, and sporty - what more can you ask for?

Faults:

VANOS began to rattle and had it replaced - $250.

Entire suspension was getting tired and replaced (front struts and rear shocks) - $500.

Window tint peeling - $300.

Blower motor - $200.

A/C compressor - $250.

Front lower control arms and bushings (including ball joints) - $350.

Stabilizer bars - $150.

Spark plugs - $70.

Fuel filter - $80.

Door locks are sticking - haven't repaired.

Glove compartment warping - haven't repaired.

Premature seat wear - haven't reupholstered.

General Comments:

Easy to say that this has been my favorite car I've ever owned. I've owned over 15 BMW's; many being e46's and M's, and this model seems to be better constructed and much smoother to drive.

The gears are very easy and seem less to shift through, but are easily maneuverable when a quick downshift is needed - NOT the case with any manual e46 I've driven. Sloppy gears - not as fun and "tight" to drive.

The interior is not holding up as I had expected, but there are no rattles that drive me crazy (again, unlike any e46 I've owned).

My M5 was an absolute NIGHTMARE - long story short, it needed a new engine after 3000 miles of gentle ownership. I re-entered the safer world of the non-M 3-Series. Came across a good deal from the original owner. Too bad I purchased around the time it started needing the 150k mile maintenance, but every penny has been worth it. I'm 17, and the seats feel very sporty for me, but at the same time they are extremely comfortable. With the new suspension, the car rides and drives much better (with the help of new front end components as well).

These cars are much much better than any e46 I've ever owned and driven, which is safe to say that e36's are better than e46 IMO. Yes, I know what I'm talking about, I've owned MANY of them, so I can commit to that comment. Take it from somebody that has weeded out the best choice of 3-series, e36 is the best by far. Yes, the e46 may look a little more modern and sleeker (that why I was continually purchasing them), but when it comes to the basics and construction, the e36 feels like it's built better and a lot more fun to drive. I cannot speak on behalf of the 318i, but the 325i is one hell of a car.

If you can afford approximately $300 a month on repairs and maintenance, you cannot go wrong.

I have averaged about 26 MPG city/highway. I don't have a heavy foot.

If you are wanting a 3-series, then I would strongly recommend the e36 as more of a drivers car. Handling is uncompromising. The e46 is more of a cruiser.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th September, 2012

29th Sep 2012, 12:55

$300 a month can buy you a new car if you have a decent trade of some cash to put down. It will certainly buy you a very reliable used car.

1st Nov 2012, 11:08

Original poster: my car hasn't needed any additional repairs and I've driven it 10k miles. Maybe I misspoke about $300 a month. I was caught up in replacing many original components. The car is now good to go. For a CASH CAR, this is one to get. I'd much rather spend money on repairing my car (now estimated $100-$150 a month) than throwing a monthly payment away on a new car, plus the repairs it'd also need. New doesn't mean repair free. I've explored my options - that would be a mistake. Just giving my two cents; you don't have to agree until you own and enjoy one to the extent I have.

1995 BMW 3 Series 325i 2.5L I6

Summary:

A driver's car with soul!

Faults:

Both driver and passenger windows need new clips to hold the windows in place.

Fuse blown for front fog lights.

Third (high mount) brake light is out.

General Comments:

This car, so far, is great! This sedan is all about the drive. Whether going to the corner store or cross country, it seems determined to make it memorable for you.

Although I have only put 2000 miles on it so far, my experience with BMWs include a 1983 320i, 1986 325e and a 1988 528e; all of which were great cars.

BMWs "seem" to not be put together as well as some other cars. My 1991 Lexus LS400 now has 210,000 miles, and should do 400,000 easy. I also had a Mercedes Benz 300e that was overbuilt almost to a fault. This 325i by comparison seems very robust mechanically, but the interior plastics aren't bad, but just don't do the rest of the car justice. If you're not an enthusiast and you just want a car to commute or that will be near zero maintenance, I don't recommend this car. Don't get me wrong, I'm crazy about BMWs myself. They just need proper maintenance in areas you wouldn't think twice of in other cars. For instance, I have only replaced shocks and ball joints on my Lexus, but this BMW will need almost every one of its suspension bushings replaced, and twice as often. The reason is that BMWs work their suspensions hard in order to reward the driver with the spirited performance they are known for. For the enthusiast, it's just paying your dues. For the commuter, it's nerve wracking.

What's it like to drive? Well, turn the key and the engine comes to life with a raspy snarl. Then it settles down into a slightly lumpy idle (good stuff). Slide the gear lever into 1st (I'm manual only when it comes to BMWs) and release the clutch, and the car moves out with a slight squat from its rear suspension. Once in second, you press the gas pedal to the floor and the sedate nature of the car changes as the car lunges for the horizon. By third gear, it's hard to believe this car only puts out 192hp, and the sound from the exhaust says "German racecar!". By the time a corner arrives, the car leans more than you expect, but it holds its line with tenacity. In fact, this car is the utmost joy to drive through curves.

At the end of the day, the extra maintenance is worth the driving experience. No BMW I have ever owned has left me stranded. Then again, I always performed the necessary maintenance when required. Neglect one of these cars, and you're asking to be let down in a big way.

Great car, but for driving enthusiasts only in my humble opinion.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th December, 2010