1994 BMW 3 Series 320iSE 2.0 straight six petrol from UK and Ireland
Lovely car with disappointing quality and economy
Drivers electric window fell out of its guides, dropped into the door and shattered.
Paintwork marked ridiculously easily and looked very second hand after just a couple of years.
Interior quality not up to expected standard - quite a lot of rattles and squeaks, and dash looked cheap and nasty.
Drank fuel - apparently they all do, but 23 mpg for a car of this size and relatively modest performance?? Come on!
A pretty good car. Revvy and silky smooth 2.0 six sounds wonderful, and provides decent performance. Lacks torque low down though, and needs to be thrashed to get the best out of it. Perhaps this is why I found it unacceptably thirsty. Even on long motorway runs and staying under 80 mph, it would never better 29 mpg average, and you could knock 5-7 mpg off this around town. If the 320 is this thirsty, what is the 328 like??
Handling superb. A bit on the soft side, but beautifully balanced, and extremely well behaved for a 150 bhp rear drive car. Steering and gearbox both nicely weighted and felt good to use. The car could be provoked out of shape, especially with too much throttle in the wet, but it was quite difficult to get into trouble with unconsciously. BMW should be applauded for sticking with rear-drive as it is superior to front drive in all respects.
The car had a good driving position with clear instruments, but fiddly fuel computer and cheap looking, and - towards the end - creaky dash were disappointing in such an expensive car. Various minor build quality and trim niggles were also unacceptable in a car of this price, and seemed at odds with the first class mechanicals and the general quality of the engineering elsewhere in the car. I can't honestly say the interior quality was significantly better than my previous Peugeot 405.
A decent, fun to drive and, interior apart, beautifully engineered sports saloon though, and very affordable these days. My company recently sold off a clean 110,000 miler for just £3000 - for a second, I was actually tempted. But that fuel consumption with fuel prices nudging 80p a litre would be just too much for the performance on offer. 60 miles per £10 of fuel for just 150 bhp? No ta!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th January, 2003
13th Sep 2005, 07:17
Yes, but it's still only 150 bhp.
3rd Oct 2005, 03:54
Thanks for the comments all.
Yes, I know it's silky smooth and makes a fantastic noise, but it just isn't quick enough for this kind of fuel consumption to be acceptable. Don't get me wrong, it's no slug, but no quicker than most 2.0 repmobiles either. Most cars will get into the 30's mpg on a motorway cruise, but this wouldn't.
Even despite the poor build quality and thirst, I still liked the car, but these E36 320i's are now pretty average in the scheme of things. At least they're cheap these days, however. This might sweeten the pill a tad.