1997 BMW 3 Series 316i 1.6 from Ethiopia


Solidly built sedan


Blower motor resistor caused erratic air conditioning fan and eventually failure - waiting for parts.

Brake stop switch failed, causing unreliable tail light operation - replaced.

Front door handles do not open the doors if left in the sun due to wear - light maintenance.

Starter motor sometimes misses on first try - needs reconditioning.

Ambient temperature indicator started showing -37c, and I'm in Africa! Brrrr!

Exhaust shroud needs replacement.

General Comments:

This car has a solid, high-quality feel to it, great handling on the roads, secure maneuvering, overall a great driving machine. However, several small components are not as reliable as even older model Japanese cars.

I drive in a city with an average altitude of over 7,700 feet above sea level (about 2350 meters), robbing power from the engines and reducing acceleration performance. It could use a nice turbocharger. Unfortunately, I could not afford a higher engine capacity because of outrageous tax on anything above 1799cc.

Suspension holding up well considering local conditions such as numerous unpaved roads and potholes in abundance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th July, 2007

1997 BMW 3 Series 318i touring 1.8 petrol from Netherlands




Front brakes everything replaced, still not good.

Rear suspension rubbers need replacement badly.

Squeak's and noises from everywhere.

General Comments:

Handling OK, but not super.

Not so quick.

Not well build, not any better than my Citroen BX that I owned, rattles and squeaks from interior and under the hood.



Seat upholstery wears very fast.

Seats are just too small, not comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th July, 2007

23rd Jul 2007, 19:40

I also had problems with the brakes. They "wobbled". You replace everything and it would return after a few thousand Kms. I even replaced all the brakes with the 328 vented discs and after a while the same again. I have read on another web site that the problem is actually worn suspension parts that will warp the front discs. When I had the suspension checked I did have worn parts. I have now fixed the suspension so lets see how it goes.

And yes the seats are small and do wear out very quickly.

1997 BMW 3 Series 318is 1.9L petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A car to judge others by


Nothing major, minor bits consistent with general wear and tear, nothing that could leave you stranded on the side of the road.

General Comments:

This is my 3rd BMW. My previous vehicles.. Fiat 500, Mini Cooper s, Triumph Dolomite Sprint, TR7, Rover P6, Honda Civic, Toyota Corona, Saab 900 Turbo, Mercedes 280SE, Then my first bimmer, an e30 1990 318i. I still have it with 250k on the clock, its hard to fault, reliable, safe and economical. The chassis is what makes you come back. I then found a 1991 E30 318is. Anyone who is critical of an E30 318is has no idea what they are talking about or is driving something mistreated.

The E36 318is is more refined, but has lost the boy racer feel of the E30. The E36 is a beautiful car with clean lines and excellent build quality. It has ample space for 4 adults and their weekend luggage. The digital dual zone climate control is too fiddly, but all the other instruments are effective. The driving position is excellent. The doors could be heavy for a light person, but shut with a satisfying thud. Safety is much more than airbags, take off the door skins of a BMW and you will find crossmembers that don’t appear in your new Toyota. The economical and lively 1.9 4cyl lacks the acceleration to go with the looks.

For the purchase price, these cars put almost everything else to the sword. Don't go near a BMW without a complete service history, these cars are designed to be serviced by the book. Also, stay away from your BMW dealer after purchase; they are at best – incompetent. Find a specialist who has been around a long time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th April, 2007