1988 BMW 3 Series 320i Coupe 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


A very sporty and solid little coupe


Front passenger window motor failed at 79,000 miles.

Power steering failed at 88,000 miles.

Ignition failed at 102,000 miles.

Rear bumper started to become loose during final year of ownership.

General Comments:

The 320i was, considering its age and mileage, a very reliable and solid car which also had excellent ride and handling.

Its practicality could have been better, as it only had two doors and the back seats were rather short on space.

Fuel bills and maintenance costs were relatively high.

I paid £3,000 for the 320i when it was eight years old. Three years later I sold it to a mechanic for £1,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th February, 2006

1988 BMW 3 Series 320i E30 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand


Great car, but needs to be carefully looked after..


My power steering developed a serious leak and needed replacing at $1800.

Timing belt jumped a tooth and valves inside the engine and rocker arms were badly damaged at $2700.

Bad condition seats and fuel and temp readouts were unreliable.

General Comments:

This car is a dream to drive on fast long turns and is a rocket off the mark puts some cars to shame.

Comfortable on roads, but gives trouble on any bumps and potholes.

Good fuel economy and very good at high speeds. About 8ltrs/100kms on freeways.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th June, 2005

1988 BMW 3 Series 325i 6 cylinder. gas from North America


Great little German roadster on a budget


When I bought the car it had a bad oxygen sensor. I replaced it along with the spark plugs and the car has been flawless ever since. It runs as smooth as a sewing machine!

General Comments:

This car is one of the least expensive I've ever owned. Since I live in a small town, the car had high miles and the closest dealer is over 30 miles away, I was a bit leery of breakdowns. A friend told me, "Hey it's a Beamer. Nothing will go wrong." So far he has been absolutely right. I'd like to keep this car for the rest of my life - and I may just be able to. I have even done my own repair work on the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th February, 2005

1988 BMW 3 Series 325is 2.5 from North America


Classic BMW lines, for thousands less than new!


I had owned a 325es previously (before the Problematic 240DL Volvo), but since then I knew I had to have the quicker 325is version which was very comparable to the M3 E30. Overall, as long as the timing belt has been changed, the car will run forever. Getting 250,000 miles out of a stock engine is not uncommon when regular maintenance is taken into account.

Valve adjustments are common for all M20 power plants (used in the 325e, 325i, 325is, 325ix, 325es, and 325). After these are done, the car will usually run much smoother.

At 252,000km I had realized that the driveshaft had to be replaced/rebuilt due to the non-replaceable u-joints. The price of this can usually be pretty high, in the neighborhood of 400-500USD.

General Comments:

Overall, the car stands out among all other Japanese cars, as well as newer BMW's. It's design is so simple, yet attractive that most will think you've spent much more on this car!

If your interested in one, make sure to buy one with the timing belt recently changed, or at least with records of when it was last done. This will save you from having to purchase a new motor due to the timing belt failing. Make sure it gets replaced every 100,000kms, or 5 years, whichever comes first.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th August, 2004

1st Sep 2004, 13:42

The only thing I noticed wrong with this particular review was the remark it stood above other "Japanese" cars. BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Werks (that is an e), in Bavaria, a state of Southern Germany. Historically, BMW's are extremely reliable and as another reviewer put it, the 325IS can be extremely dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible driver. My son is considering one wherein I ran across these reviews. I didn't know about the timing belt issue, but will look into it during our pre-inspection of the car. Thanks.

14th Nov 2006, 13:26

Regarding previous comments: Officially BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). And further more, any car can be dangerous if in the hands of an in-experienced driver. Naturally, ANY rear-wheel drive car, needs to be driven with more technique and care under slick conditions.

27th Jun 2008, 05:39


I have a 318is converted into a 325iS (essentially as I have the same M-Tech suspension and discs all round married with the 325 engine from a tourer)

In the wet any RWD car has to be taken seriously, and not just the more powerful models...

In fact I found the stock 1.8 engine more dangerous than this 2.5 as it's a much revvier engine and to get decent cruising speeds you have to push it harder than the 2.5 litre, which transcends to when you're in the corners too.

In current guise I can maintain more reasonable speeds without revving as hard because it's a much torquier engine, and my driving style has also adapted to this - It had to with fuel prices these days (£1.19 a litre!).

So I am more often in 4th at roundabouts (currently I have the open 4.10 diff of the 318is still which means 1st and 2nd are very quick gears and you spend hardly any time in them, and can be doing 25mph in 5th gear without the engine shuddering in the slightest!)

I'm happy with the conversion - Love it!