1990 BMW 3 Series 318i 1.9 from Australia and New Zealand


Don't buy one


Noisy engine. Thought this was a lifter noise. Had them replaced at AU$450. Didn't fix problem. Still makes an annoying tap tap noise while driving. This seems to be common problem, with no effect on reliability... etc.

Rust. Don't ever buy a BMW with sunroof. After purchase, I noticed the headlining packed with rust, and the thing leaked like a bucket. I sealed up the sunroof with black silicone, doesn't leak anymore.

Clutch is due now, vibrates when warm in traffic. Selling car so won't fix.

Steering column got a stiff point after long drive. Discovered this was due to being a right hand drive places the column right next to exhaust manifold, which heats up on long trips. Sprayed continually with WD40, solved problem.

Electrics, wipers stay on in damp weather. Couldn't fix. Could be dangerous, as causes blurry windscreen.

General Comments:

Reliable. Never broken down.

Handles well, very comfortable. Good power and economy for a four cylinder.

Oil gets sludgy very easily. Again, a common problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th February, 2006

1990 BMW 3 Series Touring 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Sweet used car find, exceptional!



General Comments:

16 model years old, and it still is in incredible shape; no rust and completely solid.

Manual transmission is smooth shifting.

Touring model has a lot of extra space for cargo and hauling small items.

Back seat could use more leg room.

Build quality is best I have seen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th December, 2005

1990 BMW 3 Series 325is 2.5 Liter Inline Six Cylinder from North America


This is the car that is responsible for BMW's phenomenal reputation.


Radiator has cracked and leaked coolant. Required replacement.

Air conditioning clutch seized. I removed the v-belt that connected it to the rest of the engine. Zero dollar service cost. I have no air conditioning now, but in Canada, that's not a very big problem at all.

General Comments:

The performance of this car is excellent especially when considering how inexpensive it was to purchase used (in very good condition.) This classic BMW is very agile, and the factory M-Technik sport suspension (which is standard on the S models) allows it to corner in a very flat manner with minimal body roll. The suspension is not plush however, it is tuned for performance. The car is also very fast for the money (0-100km/h in 7.4 seconds with a maximum speed of 215km/h.) Throttle response is excellent and the engine shows no hesitation whatsoever. The engine loves to rev. The rear-wheel drive layout is excellent in dry and rainy weather, but it does requires you to remain focused while driving in snow.

The car does not leak any oil (or any other fluids.)

The exterior of the vehicle is representative of the styling in Germany during the period (1984-1990.) The design is timeless. The car's body is lean, taut, functional and businesslike. Exterior rust is non-existent. Fit and finish is on-par with cars ten years newer. Everything is well engineered.

The interior is ergonomic and very business-like, with everything placed where it should be. The sport seats (which are based on a Recaro design) are very good, with lots of side bolstering. The temperature gauge is temperamental during start up, but it stabilizes and gives a correct reading once the engine warms up (I haven't diagnosed the problem.)

The steering is direct and well weighted. It is not watered down whatsoever.

The most startling thing about this car to me is the visibility from the driver's seat. Front, side and rear visibility is incredible, most likely due to the large greenhouse and low door line. The blind spots in this vehicle are minutely small.

The manual shifter is unfortunately sloppy and has a lot of excess play and travel, but this is due to worn-out plastic bushings. In original condition, the shifter is faultless. Replacement of these parts costs a reasonable amount.

The clutch is great, and it is weighted nicely (it doesn't feel like you're stepping on a marshmallow.) It also has great pedal feel; you can tell exactly where the clutch engages and disengages.

The timing belt (it is actually a belt, not a chain) must be replaced every 60,000km, or you risk serious damage to your engine. The cost of replacement is about $280 Canadian at my local BMW dealership. It would most likely cost less at an independent garage. This is the car's only serious issue.

If you're looking for an inexpensive, reliable, agile, classic German sports sedan, this is your best bet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2005

5th Apr 2006, 05:15

I absolutely agree. My '89 is by far the best car I've ever owned. A fabulous performance vehicle without the flash. I'd recently had driven the car with the exhaust manifold gasket blown for a whole year until I could afford to get it fixed and it ran... not the best... but it ran. I also had the timing belt replaced because it was time and, yes, that is the only serious issue with the car. Mine I bought for $5500.00 with 140000 miles on it and it WILL last as long as I want it to. Parts are plentiful and inexpensive. A true classic of a car.

19th Jan 2009, 09:40

2 years ago I purchased an 89' 325is... it wasn't in the best condition, but wasn't bad for 800.00...

Since then I have probably put 20,000 miles on it - when I purchased it, it needed rear wheel bearing... I paid 40.00 dollars for it and 80.00 to have it installed...

I've hit not one but two deer in about a months time with it. The second deer took out the 2000.00 worth of body work the first deer caused... I couldn't afford to fix it the second time round.. so she is ugly as sin. But runs like a top...

No AC - the entire system was removed by prior owner... heater blower fan doesn't blow... so we only get heat when the car is rolling...

I've even driven it for the last year and half with a cracked distributer cap... sputters when it's rainy, but that's it..

My only problem with this vehicle is it is very expensive to maintain... but... the car is fast and reliable. Never has it left me stranded... I love it...

4th Feb 2010, 20:57

I have 2 BMW E30 325i convertibles, I would not trade them with any other new car, they are the best, expensive to fix if you can't or don't know how to use a wrench.

But if you can use tools, then this is a car for you, puts a big smile on my face all the time, even when they are not running it makes me smile just by looking at their beautiful lines, what a work of art. Thank you BMW for making them so nice and good.

And at the same time, shame on you for making your cars look so Japanese looking.