1993 BMW 3 Series 316i Touring 1.6L petrol from UK and Ireland


A real BMW that will run forever if you take care of it


Exhaust B=back box replaced.

Ball joints on both front wishbones went, causing alarming vibrations at 120km/h.

Handbrake is useless (as with all old BMW's with rear disc brakes).

Sunroof crank snapped.

Leaks power steering fluid.

One central locking actuator went.

Alternator went at 127000 miles two days before nct. (Although was probably my fault for regularly jump starting other higher powered cars)

Rear door seals went causing puddles on the floor.

Viscous fan went (got a new one from scrap yard).

General Comments:

Having owned and driven 3 e30 BMW's (316i, 318is, 320i), I can tell you that they will run forever if taken care of. The difference between a well taken care of and neglected one (ie. no service history) is huge.

I have had absolutely no electrical problems with any 3 of my e30s.

Depreciation is not a problem, as I don't think they will go down in price anymore. Maybe they will increase as they become more rare.

Parts are easy to find in a scrap yard and cheap. Never bring it to a BMW dealer. They don't want to see you if your car is over 10 years old unless you are willing to pay ridiculous amounts for parts and labour.

I never have a fear of it breaking down. I have driven a few long drives with no problems. The only problems I have had were fixed before they caused a major catastrophe.

Being an enthusiast helps as it's very easy to work on.

It is very easy to live with, once you get used to the pedal offset of course. The engine is very smooth and the handling is great. I love the gearbox. I will never buy FWD after owning one of these cars.

They can be a bit messy in the wet, but it's very easy to correct a slide after you get used to RWD. I always feel safe driving it. There is so much feeling of the road, you know exactly what's going on and when/if the wheels are going to break loose of the tarmac.

The car even though the lowest end model is quite good spec wise. It has a tilt/slide sunroof, Electric front windows, all round disc brakes and ABS.

There is almost no difference (book values) on economy on any of the 4-cyl models, so the only reason you should buy the 316i over the 318i is for tax or insurance reasons. My 316i actually is worse than my previous (now dead) 318is (318i to 16v touring conversion) on petrol. The body is a bit heavy for only 100hp, and you find yourself flooring it to merge or overtake.

The 316i is no rocket. In fact I am always left behind at the traffic lights by Peugeot 206s and Ford Fiestas with 1.2l engines, but it can take some weight and barely effect the performance.

Looks wise, it stands out. When I meet new people where I live, they ask me "Are you the one that drives that old silver estate?" I think it's a classic and has aged quite well. It is most distinctively 80s design and the standard 15" BBS alloys are perfect for it. It turns heads at traffic lights, and gets a few looks in a car park.

For its age, rust isn't much of a problem, even though I live beside the sea, and I think it did in its former home. There a few small rust spots, but they haven't spread. The paintwork is amazing for 16 years even on the wheels, a good wax job shows up my mother's 2007 Saab.

The body's sheet metal is thick and doesn't dent easily. There is no stone chips amazingly!

It is truly, along with the e34 5-series, the last real BMW. The design philosophy behind it is very different to modern BMW's. It's a classic design. The quad headlights, it's low to the ground, the dash is really low, and visibility all round is amazing, although the mirrors have terrible blind spots.

I find the lighting terrific. The halogen lights are very bright, and you feel confident driving at night. I couldn't say the same thing of my dad's Volvo.

The interior lighting is a different story. One of the worse points about the car. It's only lit by two lights above the rear seats.

The seats are reasonable, although there is little side support. The rear seats are very comfortable, although headroom is a serious problem for people over 6 foot. The car really only fits 4 people comfortably.

I would recommend this car to anyone who is comfortable working with cars, or who wants to learn. Even though it's had its share of problems, I still love it. What can you expect when it's 16 years old. I'm sure the parts I've changed won't have to be changed again any time soon. I learned to drive in it, and everything I know about working on cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2009

17th Apr 2011, 08:01

Wow, man, you really made it interesting for me, I was thinking of buying a BMW in the future, but after reading your comment I am definitely buying one.

I have owned Honda Prelude 85, Jetta 88, Audi 87 (4000 S), Golf GTI 88, Mercedes 190E 89, 323 F 92, and a Golf 93. The first 4 cars I drove in USA, and the last 3 cars in Bulgaria.

I'm 30 years old and I think my time with BMW has come. :)

1993 BMW 3 Series 325is 2.5 L6 from North America


An awesome daily driver


Almost immediately after purchase:

Rear brakes replaced.

O2 sensor for Check Engine light.

Valve cover gasket.

Most recent:

4 springs (2 on rear were broken)


All 4 ball-joints

Control arm bushings.

Still waiting:

Trailing arm bushings (driver side just failed)

General Comments:

This is without a doubt my favorite car that I have owned. I traded up from an 86 Accord that was limping along, and there really is no comparison. Even with worn suspension components, the ride was good, and a new front-end made it much better.

Now to get the rear done (RTAB makes the rear end fishtail on the bumps, and steers the car a bit randomly).

Other than that, there have been no running problems. I drive it to work and school 5-6 days a week, and it's never failed to do what I want it to do.

I average 26-27 MPG (the OBC is pretty accurate compared to hand-calculations), and the engine is very responsive. Passing slower vehicles is never a problem.

One of the best things about it is the value. I paid much less for this car than most people pay for much lesser cars. It is relatively easy to work on if you are mechanically inclined - I've done all the work myself - and parts are readily available. There are several Internet forums if you need technical assistance, or if you just want to show off your ride. I'll probably get another E36 for my son when he goes off to college in a few years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2008

15th Jun 2008, 13:56

??? This should have been posted as a 1993 Model???

16th Jun 2008, 13:26




The site is organised by year of manufacture (1992), not model year (1993). That's because model year is not used in every country.

Steven Jackson.

14th Mar 2012, 20:56

235000 miles and still going strong! One of the best cars I've ever owned. Since the initial review, I've replaced the alternator, thermostat, and fuel pump. Still averaging 27 mpg.

Definitely will buy another BMW. Been lusting after the 2005 325xi.