1996 BMW 3 Series 328 i Sport Coupe 2.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


A Gem to rival the very expensive to insure M3 Evolution


The Drivers door handle came off when the plastic clip broke. The replacement cost was £8.

The Passengers door stuck shut and required to be 'persuaded' to open. Liberal lubrication of the door mechanism soon sorted the problem.

The Anti Lock Breaking System sensor failed and had to be replaced at a cost of £250.

The three piece alloy wheels tend to be easily corroded.

General Comments:

Fantastic performance and handling from a fairly heavy car.

The sport interior is an absolute delight with a combined leather cloth finish.

The seats are 5 point multi adjustable and very very comfortable.

Usual BMW efficiency of interior layout although I recommend an in car entertainment upgrade at an early stage.

Rear leg and head room in the coupe is fine if not spacious.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st July, 2002

1996 BMW 3 Series 318tds Tourer 1.7 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Cheap to run, but unreliable


Windows and sunroof relay failed.


Hydraulic tappets needed replacing.

New door seal.

Uses excess oil (1 ltr per 1000 miles).

Clutch judders.

General Comments:

Reliability was very poor. As well as the above I also had to call out the AA four times in a matter of 9 months.

The car drives well and the gearbox shifts nicely, although does judder occasionly.

Performance is rather sluggish, yet with consumption of 40mpg Urban / 58mpg Motorway, you don't tend to mind.

Admittidley it was high miler, but it did have FSH, my old '84 Mercedes 230 Estate may have had the odd rust spot and only returned 22mpg Urban, but it was better in many areas, had covered 217000miles and was totally dependable.

Interior quality is disappointing with various rattles and the glove box lid doesn't seem to fit. Seat fabric seems to wear poorly although it is pale-blue. Load area is not great, my old Mercedes 230TE could carry much more bulkier items.

The Body seems well put together if not a little tinny. Paint however had a lovely deep gloss.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th June, 2002

1996 BMW 3 Series 316i Compact 1.6 from UK and Ireland


In 11 months and 12000 miles, nothing has gone wrong.

General Comments:

I bought this car as a cheap reliable run around. I have been very impressed. The total running costs for 12,000 miles have been £100 (£80 for a service by the main dealer and £20 MOT).

Admittedly it's not the fastest car in the world, but it never intended to be.

All in all, it does exactly what it's supposed to do.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th January, 2002

1996 BMW 3 Series TDS 2.5 from UK and Ireland


Good looking reliable diesel car that delivers a refreshingly powerful punch


Replaced the fuel pump at 45,000 miles under main dealer warranty.

Replaced the clutch at 50,000 miles (previous owner used the car to tow a caravan).

General Comments:

Very good drivers car, giving both power and refinement without the higher running cost of a petrol equivalent (benchmarks quite well with the 320i, but with economic fuel consumption).

I own the standard model with half leather interior and full alarm, but in hindsight would have waited a bit longer for the SE (which adds air con, sunroof, alloys, electric pack, computers etc.).

No isolated problems, but I cannot stress how important a full dealer history is. Adds reliability and value to an already positively documented car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th January, 2002

1996 BMW 3 Series 318i Touring 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


A satisfying car


Creak from the passenger seat - fixed under warranty.

Expansion valve for the A/C just replaced, also under warranty.

BMW radio failed twice, which was also replaced with a new one under warranty.

General Comments:

A very nice car, although it is not really the ultimate driving machine. It drives a lot better than anything else I've ever owned.

Quality and build a little bit disappointing for a car that has such a reputation. Feels fast too. And people look at the car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2001

1996 BMW 3 Series 318i SE 1.8 from UK and Ireland


An expensive rip off


Driver's door lock solenoid failed.

Alternator bearings failed.

Air conditioning never worked properly, despite multiple dealer attempts to fix it.

General Comments:

Nice to drive for a non sporty saloon.

Interior quality a let down. Plenty of rattles & the standard seats offer poor side support.

Rip off servicing from the main dealers. For example I was told I needed new discs & pads at a service - when checked properly by an independent mechanic (ex-BMW) these were less than half worn.

Don't believe the myth about BMW's having good residual value (particularly by dealers!). I lost more money on this car over 12 months than any other car I have ever owned, despite getting a fairly good deal at the time when I bought it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th May, 2001

12th May 2001, 02:30

Generally BMW'S do keep their value very well. Much better than most cars in fact. The problem with this car is that there has been a massive down turn in the UK secondhand car market.

Prices have literally taken a nose dive over the last 12 months. Luckily I waited and bought a car after the down turn.

I bought exactly the same car as you but on a 1993 'K' reg for £3500. It has FBMWSH and has had only had one owner. It's in great condition and I have had no problems.

Sorry to hear about the problems you have had.

5th Aug 2001, 09:34

I'm sorry to hear about your "let down". I have a 318i sedan (USA) and I LOVE IT!!! It's a lot of fun and I have had no problems with it. 50,000 miles later it still runs great with no squeaks and no rattles. It is still worth about 75% of the original cost (in America). So, as I stated previously in this response... I'm sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied. I LOVE my BMW 318i sedan!!! I would DEFINITELY purchase another!!!

20th Nov 2005, 11:50

I have a 1996 318i with 71,000 miles. I have never had a problem with it and never cease to be impressed at how well it is put together and at the absence of any squeaks or rattles. The car feels tight all over and drives perfectly. The engine can be a little vocal, but above 3,000 rpm there is definite if not startling acceleration; it also sounds quite pleasing! I am surprised you have had so many problems and can only imagine how annoying this must be, but maybe you should buy and try another as problems appear to be the exception.

15th Jun 2008, 18:55

I heard the mid-90's 3181 had problems. You should have bought an E30! A lighter car with fewer gizmos. Mine has close to 200K with no major problems; I replaced radiator, cat, hoses.

Runs like a champ.