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.

General Comments:

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

17th Feb 2009, 12:09

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.

29th Sep 2010, 09:41

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.

9th Jan 2011, 10:13

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.

29th Mar 2011, 23:51

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.

1995 BMW 3 Series e36 316i 1.6 from Philippines


BMW for life


I had to replace almost all of my suspension parts; like shocks, bushings, control arms, tie-rods, etc.

Around 80,000 kilometers. Although I already replaced the air-con, it was a still bit weak compared to Japanese cars. It's quite a drag for me to change the micro-filter every time the air-con looses it power to cool the cabin.

The brakes were sticking and had to be cleaned during 100,000 kilometers.

Key less entry system had problems due to weak batteries in my keys.

Headlights switch into bright mode kept sticking.

Had to replace steering bushings upper and lower due to squeaking sounds.

The original mesh wheels were so hard to clean. So I replaced them with 320i mags.

Replaced my old headlights with M3 e36 projector headlamps.

I'm planning to get my car repainted after all these years...

I put nitrogen gas in my tires...

General Comments:

This is my first BMW and German car.

The car has a very comfortable, but firm ride compared to other Japanese brands in its class.

I really like the upgrade that I did with the car: HID bulbs, Pioneer in-dash mp3 player with Sony explode sub woofers, etc.

Whenever I drive this car in the highways it seems to be getting faster, and the grip is fantastic during high speeds.

It does not matter much to me if the car is slow during acceleration considering the weight of the car and my engine.

Although it's an old car it still is a head turner.

It's a very fuel efficient car. 9-11kms/liter.

I'm a very proud owner of this BMW. After more than a decade of service I will never change the brand of my car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2007

27th Jan 2009, 06:17

Hello! So, you said the 316 is good enough, huh? I`m asking you, because I want to buy one. How is it in overtaking? It`s not slow, with only 105 HP? Waiting your answer, at flaviuvacanta@yahoo.com


1st Jan 2010, 19:39

I also own a BMW e36 316, and it has been the best car I've ever had. It has a lot of faults, but maybe it's the faults that make this car great.

It'll always be either a BMW or a Benz for me.

BMW's tagline is true, the car really drives like a dream for me.