1996 BMW 3 Series 318 M Sport 2.0 from Australia and New Zealand


Don't buy a used one


I brought this car thinking of its name M Sport, but performance wise it's not very sporty.

Anyway, I've had to replace a lot of things.

I have to say that from 35000km to 50000km, only had to replace the CV boots and suspension arms, starter motor and radiator tank.

After 50000km trouble started; again the radiator.

At 69000km the CV boots cracked; these were not cheap parts, as they were imported from BMW Germany.

The engine started knocking for some reason.

The dealer said he couldn't do anything about any of my problems.

Battery drains quickly, brake pads last like 5000kms, tires are expensive, air conditioning is hopeless.

My wife's Primera GXE is faster, better and cheaper to run than this.

These cars are real expensive to own and operate; air filter, oil filter, and spare parts cost a lot, and it drinks petrol like nothing else.

I got my son to have a small drag race to see how fast this thing is. I got beaten by an Accord and smashed by my wife in her GXE; major disappointment, not as fast as my Legacy.

I now have a Nissan Maxima; a much better car.

I don't recommend a BMW 3 Series; they're too cheap now. I saw a 1996 for 3000 dollars, I don't hate BMW, but I have one thing to say, BMW and any other euro cars are good from brand new to about 40000kms. If you buy a brand new one, sell before 40000kms or you will lose quite a bit of money on spare parts. I brought this car in 2002 for 21000 and spent almost 6000 on parts!!! Sold for 9560; what a waste.

General Comments:

This is not that quick; it has 1995cc and my wife's 1998cc Primera smashes this. So does my son's Accord, and they cost way below than this.

Interior is superb compared to japanese cars; you feel welcomed, but other than the interior, everything else is very very crap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th August, 2007

10th Jul 2009, 12:16

I bought a used 328is with 128000 miles on it. I have had to replace the clutch/pressure plate, rear passenger wheel bearing and ball joint (I replaced both control arms with upgraded meyle ball joints). That car now has 183000 miles on it and is going strong. As long as you don't buy a car that was abused, then there's no reason it can't be reliable. BMW's are well engineered cars that, if maintained, will last well over 200k. I've had a Honda that wasn't maintained well, and suffice it to say, was a money pit.

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


Excellent family car with great handling, performance, luxury & economy; but servicing is expensive


Heater stuck on heat (middle of summer of course); replaced electronic dash heater control unit - $800.

Jumping out of 1st gear - from normal driving only. Clutch & O/haul Gearbox - $2200.

Radiator tank exploded in driveway - common I am told. 2nd unit - $300.

New windscreen - damn that flying stone - $400.

Small annoying electrical problems fuses, parking lights and brake lights - cheap to fix, but annoying.

Several front disc brake rotors - again normal driving. Is this common?

General Comments:

We bought this car from a doctor with only 27,000 Km after 4 years ownership. We have had it ever since. It was like new when we got it and it's still has that new feeling some 7 years later.

First thing that hit us was the dealer servicing costs - Ouch! Shopped around for a BMW specialist and the cost reduced dramatically. These cars need to be maintained, and we have always serviced it as required.

It's been a very reliable car, and given us much joy. Once we started using premium unleaded, it performed much better. Handling is superb, interior is great, sound system is fantastic. We have added original factory options over the years, making it an even better car:

- Boot CD stacker - 2nd hand $375

- Driving lights - $175

- Tinted windows - $400

- Leather interior - cloth seats wore out - $2000

- 328 brakes - 2nd hand - $700 - this is because we were going through front disc almost every time we replaced the standard pads; ventilated disc seems to have helped - is this a common problem?

- M3 17" wheels - these look great, and the handling is even better; but unless you drive it on a silky smooth road, it feels every bump, pebble, ant, you name it. Not sure if I would do that again, given the sore arms I now have hanging onto the steering wheel around town.

But overall we have been extremely happy, and will be upgrading to a newer model soon. We have our eye on a later model touring at the moment.

If you are after one of these models, make sure that it has a full documented service and maintenance history; otherwise keep looking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th June, 2007