1996 BMW 3 Series 323i 2.5 straight six petrol w single VANOS from Sweden


Cheap and fun performance


Water pump broke at 240000 km.

One ABS-sensor broke.

Brake disks worn out.

Radiator cracked at 290000 km.

Back suspension spring broken in both ends at 330000 km.

Back suspension dampers worn out at 240000 km.

And that's all. Incredible.

General Comments:

The European version is has its performance figures understated from BMW, guess they wanted people to buy the 328i instead. (And that probably why it's called 323i, although it's a 2.5l engine.)

BMW says 170hp and 0-100 kmh in 8.0 seconds. My own measurements indicate slightly above 180hp and 0-100 in around 7.1 seconds.

By far the most reliable and fun car I've owned. The previous owner even rang me up a couple of years later to ask if I wanted to sell it. His BMW 323i E46 (the next model) had a lot of faults. I must say I drive like a mad thief most of the time, and it's fantastic that almost nothing broke on it in all those years.

Cons: Hard to fit a stroller in the boot. That's why I had to sell it. Rust resistance is slightly below average. If equipped with anti spin, then it's a quite good car on snow, but it's a bit too "fun" if doesn't have that option. Insurance expensive here where I live.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st September, 2010

2nd Sep 2010, 08:02

The 323i uses the smaller manifold off the 2 litre version I believe. Same with the 328i. Fit the 325i manifold to a 323i badged car and it will then produce the same power as a 325i. After all, it is the same engine. Do the same mod to a 328i and you will see a power increase from 190bhp to 220bhp (ish). All the info is on the BMW forums for those interested.

10th Apr 2011, 17:20

The 323 engine and 325 engine are not the same. The 323 and 328 are M52 engines, alloy block with steel liners, the 325 is an all steel block. The M52 replaced the M50, the 323 and 328 both replaced the 325, the engines are more efficient, and the 2.93 diff ratio offered better economy than the 3.15 as fitted to the 325.

I've owned all... Trust me.

1996 BMW 3 Series 318ti Compact 1.9 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A nice car, but not what I expected from a BMW


Roof lining falling down.

Driver's side power window regulator stopped working.

Car dies whilst driving, then resumes.

General Comments:

Pros: Rides very well for a small car, and the performance from the 1.9 petrol is exceptional. 5 speed shifts smoothly, electric sunroof, loud horn, it is pleasant car to drive.

Cons: Awkward styling where the rear looks like it's been cut off, non-adjustable steering column, heavy steering needs more power assistance, cheap and rattly dash plastics and door trims, questionable reliability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 15th August, 2010

1996 BMW 3 Series Compact 1.6 from UK and Ireland


The lower end of affordable german engineering


Both anti roll bar drop links worn.

Rear shock mounts worn and noisy.

Clunking from front N/S, probably a ball joint.

Steering column bush worn making the wheel slightly loose.

Seats rattle on their mountings.

Heater motor noisy but works.

General Comments:

The car is very easy to drive and the auto box is excellent. Not particularly powerful for a BMW, but cheaper to insure.

The interior is quite plain, but generally well put together. An armrest would have been nice, as would a tilting steering wheel.

Although the engine is excellent, it seems as one suspension item is fixed, another wears out and needs to be replaced, which lets the car down because other than that, it's nice and quiet to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2010

5th Aug 2010, 19:33

Agreed, there are a number of suspension parts which need to be replaced regular. It seems BMW like to design their cars in this way. The rear shock mounts are an absolute doddle to change and cheap too. The drop links for the roll bar are easy too; just two bolts. Both jobs can be done in under an hour with very little expense.

I had a ball joint go on the front of my 3 Series.. a nightmare I never want to revisit. The part itself is cheap enough, but getting the thing off is just impossible.. You have to replace the whole arm unless you can get the tool to do it. I recommended finding a specialist who has the tool and can replace the joint, as opposed to replacing the arm and associated bits and pieces. BMW's... love em... hate em...