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.
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