1995 BMW 3 Series 318 Signature 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


Economical, attractive and sporty car for small families who like a bit of comfort


Two radiator failures.

Indicator and Brake light bulbs infrequantly fail.

Mild leaking Cylinder Head Cover gasket.

Speedometer and gauges will fluctuate widely during accelerator pedal travel.

Speedometer will sometimes jumps 10km/h up, making it difficult to determine actual road-speed.

Lights behind dash inoperative infrequently.

Tweeter speakers on front doors situated where my knee sits causing it paint to rub off.

Rear internal door handles coming loose.

Driver's seat frame broke near inner hinge.

Transmission not down-shifting now when in sports mode.

General Comments:

Most attractive sedan from the 20th century, but this engine is too small for the ability of this car. Perfect sized engine for suburban and city driving with noticeable power increase at 3200 rpm for overtaking. Handles superbly and feels very nice to drive. Great package, and being a mechanic I spot everything and place high demands on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2007

9th Apr 2013, 09:47

Hi! Planning to buy a 1995 manual 318i four cylinder 4 door for a grand here in the USA. Its fault is the head gasket. Should I install a metal gasket or copper for durability? Please email me at gelbertc@yahoo.com.

1995 BMW 3 Series 318 SE 1.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


Reliable enough for daily use, but can still put a huge smile on your face!


Not a single thing... perfect.

Has not missed a beat in 20,000 miles.

General Comments:

I had never owned or driven a rear wheel drive car before, but this is just great. Admittedly, in the wet, or snow, without traction control, the back end creeps out under pressure, but in the dry, the BMW is fantastic.

I can't quite put my finger on why the handling is so great, but I look forward to driving to work every day. The engine isn't massive, but is decent enough to get along on the motorway without any issues, and overtaking speed is easy, as is getting from 60 to 100 (obviously track only ;-)

The SE comes with electric sunroof, but unfortunately, no aircon for the year my car was.

I now only ever want to drive BMW's. I only paid £2,600 for mine last year, but it has been so reliable, such good fun, that I would find it hard to go to any other car make.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2006

9th May 2009, 14:40

I notice you don't mention the odd driving position - maybe you're used to it. A good car I would agree and although I haven't driven one, there's a 318i SE in the family and it's a good solid car, if a bit "gutless".

10th May 2009, 07:25

Driving position is a matter of opinion. A lot of people would say the driving position is very good, or at least average. I can't fault it. Yes the 1.8 (115bhp?) version is a bit slow compared with the larger engined counterparts. There are 1.8 & 1.9 versions, both with 140bhp, which are quite peppy.

1995 BMW 3 Series 318i e36 1.8 injection from UK and Ireland


Good car, but get one with a high spec and 6 cylinder engine


Radiator hose popped off, rear shock mounts needed replacing, lower ball joint failure, rusting rear arches.

General Comments:

Good car, although I wouldn't recommend a 1.8 auto as was slow and thirsty, 2.5 minimum for an automatic. 325 much the same fuel consumption, but better pace.

My 318 handled well, better than any front wheel drive car which I have had, and felt very stable in both wet and dry corners.

Although could not even pull away in the snow as it could not find any grip, like most rear wheel drive cars!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2006

9th Apr 2013, 13:33

Radiator hoses simply never just pop off! That is very simply the signature sign of a wannabe mechanic who has failed to tighten jubilee clips!

1995 BMW 3 Series 318tds SE 1.7 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Reliable Performer


Having checked all the ABS fuses (including masters), the ABS warning icon is showing on the dashboard. I bought the car 500miles ago for £1500 and I would be grateful if anybody could post a possible diagnosis/explanation to the above. If this helps, I can hear a low pitched whine, sounding like a lose bearing, at all speeds from the near-side rear wheel. The noise is not intrusive and does not affect the performance however.

General Comments:

The good points are as follows. 50mpg, reasonable pull when the turbo-charger heats up, great handling and ride. This car is a solid cruiser and should provide plenty of low cost motoring for a number of years. I have two other E36 BMW's at my household, a 1996 323i and a 1991 325i, yet it is the 318tds' unbelievable economy which sees me grabbing the keys most often. I highly recommend the E36 especially the 4 cylinder diesel, for which I sold my 4WS Honda Prelude for, due to the complete solidarity of the whole package. These BMW's are a reasonable purchase with any engine these days, still look the part and have the reliability of a much newer and more modern machine. Myself, and probably many others, would agree the period 1990- 2000ish was the most successful for BMW as a manufacturer producing class beating cars, from the 3 to the 7 series. Once again I would appreciate any responses to my ABS dilemma to work out how minor/serious the fault may be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2006

12th May 2006, 16:55

A common ABS problem is a hairline crack on the solder of one of its relays located in the engine bay. From what I remember what my mechanic said, it is on the ABS unit. Hope that helps, and that it's a minor thing.

1st Jun 2006, 04:41

It might be the grey ABS relay. My ABS light was always on and I replaced this relay and it fixed the problem.