1995 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8i from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Good all round package

Faults:

Drop link bushings replaced.

Fan replaced due to a blade snapping.

Water pump replaced due to snapped impeller (caused by vibration from fan with missing blade, apparently).

Miles per gallon gauge doesn’t work.

I used a specialist for repairs. Much cheaper than the dealer.

General Comments:

I bought this car for £2000 in Jan 09’. It’s a 1995 328i coupe in red, or hellrot as BMW call it. It’s still in top condition for its age inside and out. It has half leather interior, but there’s not much in the way of extras.

It’s completely standard apart from a headlamp upgrade done by the previous owner. I was going to swap them back to original, but they look decent enough. It has the factory fitted MTEC kit on it so has the spoiler, the sports seats and sits a bit lower than the standard 3 series, as I am aware. The MTEC suspension isn’t what I was expecting, but still does the job nicely. I never got to drive it on a country road when I test drove it.

I bought the car with 15” wheels with 195 tyres. I didn’t feel that they coped very well with what I was asking from them, so I put a set of BMW 16” wheels with 225 tyres on and now it is much better.

Brakes probably need a proper service. They certainly aren’t dangerous but not as sharp as they could be.

It’s very well set out inside. Everything is in easy reach, all directed at the driver. You get a lot of feel through the steering, even though it’s pretty light. It tells you everything that’s going on, front and back, and gives plenty of warning before anything goes wrong - except in the wet. The tail can come loose very easily in the wet and if you’re not concentrating then be warned - it will remind you to stop day dreaming.

Dry handling is, as far as I am concerned, perfect. I like to be able to drive my cars fast (within reason) and this car can do it very well. It is very balanced. Grip from the Avons on the rear and Pirelli’s on the front help make for a good drive on a country road.

The car has a 2.8 litre inline 6 cylinder engine giving 193bhp. The engine is my favourite thing about the car. It makes a very nice sound at any rpm, and is happy to be thrashed but also comfortable just cruising around. It is the M52 version as there were no M50 2.8 engines made. The engine is a little underpowered for its size due to the smaller manifold that was fitted to the 328’s and 323’s, for whatever reason, I’m not really sure why. The manifold can be swapped for an earlier (larger) M50 manifold and then the engine remapped to suite. Which will usually allow the engine to produce 220 – 230bhp at around 6000rpm, instead of 193bhp at 5400rpm. Still, it has a healthy amount of power and lots of torque. It will still pull near to the manufactures claimed top speed, just a few mph short actually. Given enough road it may actually make 150mph, but I’m not planning on finding out.

Acceleration of the line is good considering the cars weight. It still shifts and will do 60mph in about 7 seconds. Manufacturer time is 6.6 seconds.

The car can give good MPG. It will return about 25MPG when running on 98ron fuel and 22MPG when running on 95ron. On a long run at around 70mph you can expect to achieve 35MPG, which is rather good. If you drive with a heavy foot then you can get from full to red within 200miles, so be warned.

If you are considering buying one then check if the car has had the block, or cylinder sleeves replaced as these cars have issues with their nikasil lining.

Check that the windows don’t creek when going up and down as that is a sign that they may need work doing in the near future.

Check that the suspension bushings are all in good order, they’re easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for.

Ask the seller if the car has a water pump with metal impellers instead of plastic ones. The plastic ones can snap and cause other complications.

And finally, don’t be concerned by the mileage as long as the car has a full service history and has been looked after in general. Age isn’t a major factor either. Check for rusting suspension parts and rusting arches.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2009

1995 BMW 3 Series 325IS M50B25 2.5L from North America

Summary:

Great car for the money

Faults:

Nothing aside from while getting an oil change at a local jiffy lube, they recommended I flush the coolant, so I had them do it. They somehow screwed that up, costing me $300 to replace the thermostat and fan clutch (which was weak, and had to come off to get at the thermostat, so I had that replaced while in there).

Driver's seat frame is broken, so the back leans to the right. No problem, just prop it up with something.

General Comments:

I picked the car up for $500 at a local auction with 182,000 miles on it. When I got it, performance wasn't great, so I bought a chip for the ECU from Turner Motorsports. I HIGHLY recommend the chip for better power and mpg's. Great year round car, just make sure to have good tires and keep traction control on in the winter.

Engine is strong, and with the chip will rev to 7000rpm, where it still pulls! 5 speed is very smooth and easy to drive, clutch feels great. Gets around 23mpg city, and 28 highway.

I've been driving this car hard for several months and about 13,000 miles without a problem. Whether you're just cruising around or racing all night, the car is just great. Very impressive for a 2.5L.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2009

29th May 2009, 06:38

A coolant purge and fill that they performed on your vehicle cannot cause the thermostat and the fan clutch to go out. That is impossible!! The mechanic that told you that, wow. I would recommend a new mechanic.

19th Jun 2009, 23:25

They used suction on the cooling system to remove the old coolant, causing the thermostat to fail. The fan clutch had to be taken off in order to get to the thermostat, and it was a bit weak, so I replaced it. But if it had not been for having to take it off, I would not have spent the money to do it.