Good performance, fun to drive, nice to look at
Clutch replaced prior to purchase, about 209,000mi.
1 spark plug replaced 210,000mi.
Wire from fuel pump to relay shorted at 211,000mi.
Stereo head-unit as well as rear right-side speaker replaced at 211,000mi.
Muffler bracket replaced at 212,000mi.
Main brake line needed replacement at 214,000mi.
Regulator for driver's side window needs to be replaced.
Power aerial doesn't work, so radio gets no reception.
Vinyl in drivers side seat starting to crack and come apart.
Door-locks don't work, however the car can still be locked from the trunk.
Info centre (which includes clock, outside temp, date, and memo) is intermittent.
Air conditioning does not work.
Occasional slight amount of water in the trunk over the battery box after heavy downpours.
When looking at cars, I had basically narrowed it down between this and the 1988 Mercedes 190E, and chose the BMW primarily because I wanted something very small, yet still with a large trunk. The BMW fit those requirements better than the Mercedes, which was a bit bigger. To clarify, this 325 is a 4-door sedan, using the same engine as the 325e and 325es.
The handling on the 325 is fantastic, and performance is very respectable; the 2.7L 6cyl engine has plenty of power, yet the fuel economy remains very good (25-30mpg it seems). It's a great car for long trips too, the seats are quite comfortable, and even though it's a small car; you don't feel cramped at all.
In terms of looks, BMW's tend to be 'love it or hate it', and I definitely love it. So do many other people apparently, because I frequently get compliments (including two people who asked me if I was interested in selling it!) and often see people watching me drive past.
When it comes to reliability, the good news is that the things that have gone wrong were fairly minor and not terribly expensive (with the exception of the clutch, which thankfully was replaced before I owned the car). The little 'issues' it currently has don't bug me enough to warrant spending more on repairs.
I generally don't like to drive at night, especially after driving our 1986 Saab 9000 turbo, which has less than adequate headlights. However, with the BMW, it's no problem at all. The high-beams will light up the entire road, leaving no dark spots (unlike the Saab).
From my experiences E30's seem to be a little bit more difficult to drive- in terms of shifting gears smoothly- than other cars, so it may not be the best car to learn to drive a manual on. With that said, once you get used to it, it's no problem, and including all other aspects, it's definitely a fun car to drive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th September, 2004