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