1997 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.6 6-cylinder from North America


Outstanding car


The stock 11-button onboard computer didn't work when I bought it, turns out they all fail. I had a guy install a much more reliable 18-button OBC with a rewiring kit, and it works great.

In-windshield radio antenna made for lousy AM-band reception. Had an audio guy install a conventional power antenna. Radio reception is now perfect.

Climate control worked intermittently, had the dealer replace it.

Brake light was out. Turned out it was a loose bulb. Works fine now.

General Comments:

I love this car! Outstanding handling and acceleration, great braking. Very quiet in the cabin with all the windows rolled up. This may be an 11-year-old car but it's near perfect in every way.

I tested the highway mileage on a 10-mile-long flat stretch of California freeway at 65-70 mph without any undue acceleration or braking and no gear shifting. Air conditioning was off, windows were rolled up, no passengers. 34 mpg. Around town 22 minimum, 28 maximum. That is pretty excellent by any measure.

One thing I really like: No cam drive belt. This one has a chain drive which should last well beyond 200,000 miles, according to things I have read.

Bought it for $7,000. Wonderfully solid, responsive and well-built. I am beyond impressed. What a great car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2008

1997 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8 from North America


Fast, stick to the road, but be sure to buy one in a good shape


The wipers motor broke two times and worth 300$. The second time was on the warranty.

The rack and pinion broke at 180 000 km (1200$).

Sadly most of my problems were linked with the fact that the car was wrecked 3 times (3 different owners).

Few problems with braking lights. They don't want to work well.

The screen of the onboard computer is almost unreadable.

General Comments:

Very very fun to drive.


Not cheap to run, but economical on gas on the highway. 9.5l/100km.

Stick to the road better than many sports cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th April, 2008

1997 BMW 3 Series 318ti Compact 1.9 16v from UK and Ireland


Worth the money. A decent car


4 new tyres. Budget ones on the front and AVON ZZ3’s on the rear.

New ball joint and rear sub frame bushes required for MOT.

Needs a new brake pad wear sensor.

Electric windows need attention, but still work.

Had to get a new locking nut, as the teeth messed up on the old one.

General Comments:

I previously owned a Saxo VTR. I had been looking for a 3 Series Coupe or Compact for a while. I spotted the 318ti for sale for £1500 in a side road. It's black, with BMW 16” alloys. Very tidy with good paintwork, and had 90,000 on it at the time. I get a lot of comments on the car as people seem to like it. I think it could do with a small spoiler like the later versions have. The interior is OK to look at and well put together; would have been nicer in a darker colour though.

The car has a good driving position and the seat is very adjustable. Everything is pretty much where you would expect it to be, and within easy reach. The only downside for me is that the seats aren’t good for long distance. Rear leg room isn’t great unless the front seats are pulled forwards a lot.

The gear change is good on it, pretty direct. Only issue I have is that sometimes it won't go into second when I’m slowing for a roundabout for example. Pretty scary when you haven’t got enough time to stop anymore, so you have to go across in third with cars coming at you!

The handling is good on it, but it rolls a lot and doesn’t really inspire confidence as much as the VTR did. You get a lot of feel through the steering wheel, and you know what the back end is doing as well, which really helps in the wet. Too much throttle in the wet, and sometimes even on dry roads will make the rear step out far too easily for my liking. Still, if you’re a good driver then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Don’t get into one of these cars and start driving fast unless you know what you're doing, or have experience of rear wheel drive cars, otherwise you might get a shock.

The car has ABS and all round disks. I haven’t got any complaints about the brakes.

The cars fuel consumption seems poor. This is probably to do with my driving style and rising fuel costs though. This is my biggest issue with the car.

The engine is a 1.9 16v with 140bhp. It is capable of performing very well, but has to be revved hard to do so. It's pretty useless below 3000rpm due to having its max torque at 4500rpm. Once you get past 4500rpm, it starts to push you back into the seat, and will do so until about 100mph. I’ve had 135mph out of it when I bought it six months ago. I think it would probably go a little bit more, but I will never know, once was enough.

Overall this is my favourite out of all the cars I’ve owned. It’s cheap for what it is, hasn’t had any unexpected faults, and people like it. Next car will either be a 325i coupe, Corrado G60/VR6 or maybe a Focus ST170.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2008