1996 BMW 3 Series 323i 2.5 straight six petrol w single VANOS
Cheap and fun performance
Water pump broke at 240000 km.
One ABS-sensor broke.
Brake disks worn out.
Radiator cracked at 290000 km.
Back suspension spring broken in both ends at 330000 km.
Back suspension dampers worn out at 240000 km.
And that's all. Incredible.
The European version is has its performance figures understated from BMW, guess they wanted people to buy the 328i instead. (And that probably why it's called 323i, although it's a 2.5l engine.)
BMW says 170hp and 0-100 kmh in 8.0 seconds. My own measurements indicate slightly above 180hp and 0-100 in around 7.1 seconds.
By far the most reliable and fun car I've owned. The previous owner even rang me up a couple of years later to ask if I wanted to sell it. His BMW 323i E46 (the next model) had a lot of faults. I must say I drive like a mad thief most of the time, and it's fantastic that almost nothing broke on it in all those years.
Cons: Hard to fit a stroller in the boot. That's why I had to sell it. Rust resistance is slightly below average. If equipped with anti spin, then it's a quite good car on snow, but it's a bit too "fun" if doesn't have that option. Insurance expensive here where I live.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st September, 2010
The 323i uses the smaller manifold off the 2 litre version I believe. Same with the 328i. Fit the 325i manifold to a 323i badged car and it will then produce the same power as a 325i. After all, it is the same engine. Do the same mod to a 328i and you will see a power increase from 190bhp to 220bhp (ish). All the info is on the BMW forums for those interested.
The 323 engine and 325 engine are not the same. The 323 and 328 are M52 engines, alloy block with steel liners, the 325 is an all steel block. The M52 replaced the M50, the 323 and 328 both replaced the 325, the engines are more efficient, and the 2.93 diff ratio offered better economy than the 3.15 as fitted to the 325.
I've owned all... Trust me.