1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Touring 1.8 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Fabulous car, shocking dealers


Only minor, teething problems have gone wrong so far and will be covered under warranty when the car goes in for its next service:

Fuel door does not lock with the central locking (minor wiring problem).

Noise coming from a cooling fan.

Annoying rattle coming from the luggage cover.

Speakers occasionally cut out, though this seems to have disappeared.

General Comments:

This car drives superbly. What makes it such a joy to use is the refinement that has gone into all the controls - the brakes, the gear change and especially the steering are fabulous.

Having almost bought an Audi A4, and been tempted by a Saab 9-3, I was won over by the feel of the rear wheel drive BMW.

The handling is so fluent and un-fussed, while it is also comfortable to drive on long trips.

The engine sounds sweet and refined and is light on fuel. The A4s engine was, to me, a bit harsh and noisy in comparison. While the 1.8 is by no means a power-house, its power is entirely adequate for me, especially once on the open road.

The Touring model (estate) has the versatility my lifestyle demands and is certainly better looking and turns more heads than the rather common sedan, especially in 'Boston Green' which looks fabulous.

However, while the car is superb, the buying experience could not have been worse. Shelly Motors BMW, Wellington, were rude, pushy, arrogant and were uninterested in being helpful and making a customer feel valued. At one point, they engaged in a heated argument with us - raised voices and all - when I challenged their lack of care for their customers. Never have I been so livid in leaving a showroom. Unfortunately the car was precisely what I was after and this particular model is as rare as hens teeth in New Zealand. If only this car was on sale at either the Saab or Audi dealer, which were extremely helpful and were a pleasure to deal with.

I would be interested if anyone else has found BMW agents to be the most unpleasant of all car dealers. They are arrogance personified.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2002

22nd Jun 2005, 01:26

Hi, I have recently purchsed the same car in Black.

I have to say that the Dealer in Dunedin - Cookies was really helpful.

I can't fault them.

They corrected all the small glitches I needed repairing like re-gassing tailgate struts, thermostat check replacement pollen filter etc.

They even supplied the 2 engine belts for me at no cost.


20th Apr 2010, 06:49

I know someone who would tell you Peugeot are just as bad :-(

1997 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8 from UK and Ireland


Expensive to run with many faults


Rear screen needed replacing due to leak.

Rear door central locking motor failed.

Climate control broke due to a temperate sensor in the dashboard.

Gearbox and clutch needed replacing due to rattle.

Paint on bonnet peeling away.

Both rear shock absorber replaced.

New discs and pads required all round.

Bottom ball joint worn.

One rear fog lamp doesn't work (not a bulb problem).

A noise comes from the radio cassette when playing tapes.

General Comments:

I like the car due to the performance and quiet and comfortable ride.

I have been disappointed by the high running costs.

The car as needed a visit to the dealer quite often.

It has needed servicing (based on the service indicator) every 7000 miles which is nearly twice a year for me.

Including the visits to the dealer for gearbox and clutch problems, this is quite a lot for such a reliable car!

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

Review Date: 11th January, 2002

24th Jan 2002, 16:47

Could do with a little more information. The service interval is regulated not just by the mileage, but how hard you drive the car. Disks and pads all-round is not exceptional (I would expect to replace them from time to time).

When you say expensive to run, what do you mean? Fuel consumption, insurance, consumables etc.

Did you purchase a "good one" in the first place?

I am currently in the process of purchasing a 328i Convertible, I will add my review when I have some data/opinion.

14th Nov 2009, 03:30

I suffered all and more of these faults on a year 2000 728i a few years ago; window rubbers rotted, electric motors failed, climate control never worked, ABS control module went (£1200 to replace!) various trim fell off, radio amp broke (£800 to replace!), wiring fault in the lamp control module causing dull taillights... many more faults but can't think right now... VERY overrated cars, just like all german stuff.