1995 BMW 3 Series 325i 2.5 Liter from North America
A balanced review
Suspension absolutely shot at 92,000.
Interior cheap and shows major signs of wear.
Cooling system has major weaknesses.
Performance mediocre with automatic transmission.
Gas mileage so so.
I recently bought a used 1995 325i largely based upon the reviews here. Almost everyone, with rare exception, sang glowing praises of this legendary machine. However, for those considering buying one of these cars, I would highly recommend including in your research some time spent at a dedicated BMW website such as Bimmerforums.com, and get a better idea of both the joys and perils of owning one of these cars.
Let me reveal what I have discovered from my extensive but necessary supplemental research, and my own experience, by summarizing the major problems with this car.
1) The interior construction quality is crap. Panels fall off due to a cheap plastic clip system. Seats are made of cheap leatherette, not leather, (I know some will argue this point, but check the forum) and is inclined to crack, tear, wear out faster than any other car I have owned or even seen. Vinyl on panels bubbles worse than any other car I have ever known. Vinyl is separating from the frame on the glove box door. Basically, things just feel and look really cheap and flimsy in this car.
2) The suspension fails prematurely. It might be that owners are inclined to drive these cars more aggressively because of their fabled handling characteristics, but, if you buy one, be prepared to shell out some big bucks to rebuild. My car had only 92K, but the suspension needs a complete overhaul. We are not just talking struts and shocks. And this folks is just not my Bimmer. No other car I have owned has had the suspension so completely shot so early in my life, and I have had over 50 cars, most with high mileage.
3) The cooling system. If you buy one, check this out completely. Certainly replace the water pump with one that has metal instead of plastic impellers, even if you see no other problems.
There are many other problems, but, the point is, don't rely just on this site as I did to make a decision.
I know someone will comment as to why I bought the car after seeing some though not all the problems? Well, it was cheap, looked decent from the outside, and I did not realize from my test drive just how bad the suspension was. Moreover, these cars are relatively easy to work on for the DIY. Also, I was drawn by the reputation of these cars being the ultimate driving machines.
I am sure they handle well. I don't know because I haven't fixed the suspension yet. The point to keep in mind is, despite the great reviews here, these cars do have major weaknesses. That said, if you are capable and willing to do some work yourself, and the looks and legendary handling of the car are big factors, then the BMW 325i might still be the car for you. Just do more in depth research than I did, so you go in with your eyes open.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 28th November, 2007
I've recently bought a 328i with the MTEC suspension. And it's certainly no better than the suspension on my 318ti was. Might replace it soon.
I posted the above comment. I have now replaced my suspension and it's now much better. I've been working my way around the car sorting bits out that either needed doing or that I've been warned about. The car is now brilliant, a joy to drive and I'm happy to occasionally put some money into it to keep it that way. But if it starts getting expensive then I will have to reconsider, but so far so good.
I happen to disagree with the post that said the BMW 1995 318i, or 325i had cheap leatherette. Mine was thin, durable, and still looks good today. The interior was well made and no cracks at all. If you want cheap leatherette, try the 2006 and beyond BMW models. They are made with recycled plastic, and the leatherette is very thin and cracks, as I well know, because I test drove a BMW 2007 328i, with cracked leatherette.
BMW is going down in the way they manufacture their car's interior. The days of good workmanship have disappeared like the dinosaurs.
Baaaalogna to the above post.
The interior is cheap leatherette and it is well known within the BMW community that it is. It does NOT hold up well. Look on the BMW forums and you will find what I say is true.
Now, if you have the Coupe, it will certainly hold up better than the convertible but, still it will deteriorate rapidly with time and usage. That said, if you keep the car garaged, drive the car little and, keep the leatherette treated, it will hold up but, it takes a LOT of TLC.
Even so, people love their Bimmers. I loved mine despite its faults. It is the ultimate driving machine.