Beautiful, comfortable, quick, and with enormous road presence
The rear brake cables have corroded - noted at the last service (78000 miles) - but cheap to sort out.
Oh, and at the assembly plant, they fitted cardboard Blaupunkt speakers - what were they thinking?
For starters, this car looks the absolute business. EVERYONE comments on the styling of the E36 coupe. In my humble opinion it's the best looking BMW ever.
My last car was a Ford Fiesta and so I've not got much to compare it to, but the BMW is THE most comfortable car I've ever had the good fortune to drive. No more back pain for me, and I regularly drive from Edinburgh to Sheffield, which is around 4 hours. It could take 24 hours for all I care when I'm in the Beemer.
As for actually driving the thing, it's amazing. The acceleration is by no means record-breaking, but easily quick enough to embarrass most of the boy-racers I come up against. It cruises with ease on the motorway, with more than enough oomph to get past all those caravans and tractors one finds on the A-roads in the north of England. On the more winding roads it is a joy - the BMW goes exactly where you point it. Oversteer is possible if you push it hard, but let off the accelerator and the car rights itself whilst making you feel like a Rally pro. To be honest, it's like playing Gran Turismo (drive safely and observe speed limits please kids!)
The fuel economy has been a pleasant surprise. At the moment, it costs around £45 to fill up from empty, and I get around 400 miles from it.
The only real downside of this car is the stereo. I don't know about you, but if I were buying one of these brand new back in the day, I would have been pretty miffed with the standard set-up. On top of that, after-market upgrades are made an absolute nightmare because of the speaker placements. You either need to cut through metal bodywork to get anthing decent in the rear, or go for some adapter speaker pods. These are expensive for what they are (I paid £29.99) and are fiddlier than a fiddler fiddling with a fiddle to get fitted right. Not really much of a gripe though. It depends on how much you like your music.
All in all, if you're looking for a new car, and you've got around £2000-£3000 to spend, get a 318iS. You will not be disappointed. Think twice about a white one though, because they are a nightmare to keep clean!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th September, 2005