1996 BMW 3 Series 323i 4 door 2.5L 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


Piece of trash!


Transmission slips from 2nd to 3rd, and 3rd to 4th. It has been fixed twice and still continues to do it.

Spotlights just stopped working one day.

Air conditioning doesn't work, have to get it fixed.

Brake sensor was faulty, stopped me from getting a warranty.

On-board computer doesn't work, it's hard to read and tells me to check the oil and water levels every time I turn the car on, even though they are fine!

Half the time when it rains, the door lock won't lock or unlock.

General Comments:

Nice to drive on the open road, once I get past the first 4 gears.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th March, 2008

1996 BMW 3 Series 328i Convertible 2.8L from Australia and New Zealand


Expensive and unreliable


Head gasket blew.

Cooling system failed overpressure due to exhaust gasses.

Climate control has a mind of its own.

Immobiliser faulty.

Vanos jammed.

General Comments:

Whilst this car has done 200000km, and things do wear out, even with regular maintenance - the car has been plagued with cooling system & electronic issues, probably triggered by the hot climate.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th February, 2008

13th Feb 2015, 08:05

Yes. Anyone who intends to drive one of these in Australia must change the water pump and radiator, and then change the coolant every year to handle the heat.

16th Feb 2015, 16:55

I live in Phoenix, and I can honestly say that no car worth its salt here needs any "special care" to perform adequately whether it's 50C (122F) or 5C (41F). Hot weather is not a reason to give a car a hall pass for not performing well.

16th Feb 2015, 19:48

It may not be worth its salt, but that's what there is, and if a new water pump and radiator every few years is required, then so be it.

1996 BMW 3 Series 323iA 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand




Car was purchased from auction. It had a transmission flare from 2nd to 3rd gears, however, this was not apparent on the auction test track. Car drove adequately with this fault, but recently got transmission reconditioned ($3000). Now goes superbly.

Chews through brake rotors - place where I went two times apparently did the nuts up too tight.

Headlight bulb replaced.

Spotlight replaced - hit a hare.

General Comments:

Quiet, good performance and handling. Parts reasonably priced. Enjoyable car.

I get the car serviced at an independent dealer that friend's recommended, although I have phoned the local BMW dealer at times and found them very friendly and helpful.

Apparently BMW automatic transmissions are very sensitive and require regular servicing. Hence, most used imports to NZ from Japan and Singapore will require expensive transmission work between 80,000-100,000 kms.


Not suitable as a family car if the driver or front passengers are tall, as rear leg and footroom is poor

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th December, 2007

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


The 316 can be thirsty due to its weight, but it's comfortable and nippy


OK generally this car has been excellent; common problem is the driver's seat wears on the door side, due to getting in and out. Can't be helped.

Had to have the head gasket replaced at about 80+k, but that was my fault, forgot to check the water level on a return leg of a long journey. Dealer wanted £90 an hour plus parts to replace the head gasket, and quoted more than £900.

I found a specialist BMW garage who gave the car a service, MOT and replaced the head gasket for £600.

Another common problem is the wiring from the cabin through to the boot-lid; opening and closing this causes the wires in the loom to bend and eventually they snap internally. So rather than re-loom the car (I didn't even ask the price from the dealer), I inserted a new set of wiring from inside the boot-lid grommet to the rear wing grommet. This problem was found when it failed the MOT on a number plate light out.

The only other problem I've had is the remote for the central locking/alarm, doesn't always work. I don't know if they re-tune the remote or what, but at the moment my alarm isn't always on.

General Comments:

Overall opinion is I will buy another, but the 1600 engine is a little weak for the heavy car; next one will be a 318 or 320.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th September, 2007

11th Sep 2007, 08:49

How can you call the 316 nippy, its sluggish and gets left behind by corsas, saxos, etc.

11th Sep 2007, 17:15

Add Nissan Micra 1.3 to that list!

12th Sep 2007, 09:18

Also add fiat punto 1.2 to that list.

7th Oct 2011, 18:54

316i sluggish; what, and Corsas and Saxos aren't, wow.

A normal Saxo would manage 0-100k in 13-14 seconds if you're lucky.

And the Punto would barely get off the line due to the Italian's legendary reliability.