1998 BMW 3 Series 318ti Compact 1.9 petrol from UK and Ireland




Camshaft sensor, traction control sensors, oil and coolant leak, replaced thermostat, kept up with oil changes so the engine seems OK.

Cosmetically the exterior of the car has seen better days, but it is over 20 years old now. Interior is in very good condition however.

General Comments:

A fun little car to drive, the Compact 3 series is a great first BMW. Looks great in red with original alloys. Last of the older shape I believe before the newer model came along in late 1998. Though I think they made this Compact model well into the year 2000 with the older shape.

1.9 petrol with the auto box has a nice turn of speed in sport mode. Only does 32 mpg on average though, not great today.

Cabin is nice and refined, quality materials have stood the test of time. Very solid feel.

Pretty good to drive.

Not worth a heck of a lot (£1000 - £1500?) and I don't think this particular model will become a classic or rise significantly in value any time soon.

Generally been a great car if a little expensive to run, as per BMW, but I'll probably hang onto it as a second car despite its age, as it still runs well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th March, 2023

4th Jun 2023, 00:38

I owned the model after, a 316ti 1.8 manual. I still see a lot of the older body E36 ones around, used as daily drivers, so they have proven quite durable. When I got my current car serviced at an independent mechanic, I got the automatic version of my E46 hatch as a loaner, I was actually quite surprised that even with the 1.8 engine and around 116 bhp, the car was pretty brisk, didn't feel sluggish. If your car's still in good shape, just keep it. It was clearly built well, and except for the odd issues (I also had to replace a cam angle sensor on my previous hatch - pain in the neck to get to), it's just normal maintenance expenses. All the best.

7th Jun 2023, 11:48

They were good cars. I had a 325i saloon back in the mid 1990's, fast, smooth, terrible on fuel but it was a company car and I wasn't paying! I loved every minute of driving it, put 100,000 miles on it with no major breakdowns.

1998 BMW 3 Series 318 Ti 1.8 gas from Brazil


If you are single and a player... amazing car


1 - The BMW symbol fell off the wheel. Was replaced free of charge.

2 - I don't like the engine sound... sounds like a motorcycle.

General Comments:

Very reliable.

Everything has the feel that it's 'made to last'. The doors make no noise and are very heavy, which shows my previous statement.

Subzero A/C!

Amazing paint... the black is so shiny, everyone stares at your car when it's parked in the sunny areas.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th November, 2011

1998 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8 straight 6 from North America


One of the best cars I ever had


Front lower control arms with bushings.

Airbag lights.

Power window.

General Comments:

It is a very well built car with outstanding performance and handling. You can find some very nice e36's for relatively low prices if you look around. If you're after an E36, do your research and buy the best one you can afford, as they haven't been made in 12 years. I'd stay away from neglected examples. They can be VERY expensive to fix.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th April, 2011

1998 BMW 3 Series 323ic 2.5L inline 6 from North America


Great car for a small amount of money


The biggest issue I have had with the car was with the crank position sensor and the applicable wiring. Cost $370 to fix.

Other than that, I have had to replace the plastic rear window; $142 installed myself (royal pain in the butt).

Replaced O2 sensor last week, $102.

Also had to replace a plastic intake pipe due to it splitting - Cost $65 from a dealer.

Basic maintenance is relatively easy; I bought a Haynes manual as a guide. I have changed the spark plugs, and ignition coils ($200) for all parts. Also did serpentine belt, tensioner, and two pulleys (about $200). The O2 sensor was easy too. I am a novice DIY'er, and I have found that compared to my 2001 Saab 9-3 I owned previously, the BMW is a real breeze. I was afraid to even touch a thing on the SAAB, because it was so expensive to repair.

I have found that this model has a great ownership base full of people willing to offer advice on forums, which has been very helpful diagnosing faults.

Local BMW dealer very helpful and friendly, even though my car is older.

Found a great indy that does great work only for BMW, SAAB, Mercedes etc.

Biggest "routine" maintenance item is an oil change, as the car requires almost 7 quarts of oil. Not a huge issue, but it is a little more $$$ to have the oil changed or to do it yourself. Don't take the long response I have written in the wrong context; most repair work has been routine, or mileage related.

General Comments:

This car, despite the mileage, is a joy to drive and own. Compared to my Saab, which was newer and had 83,000 miles on the clock when I dumped it, the BMW is tighter, feels more planted to the road, and is much better made. The black leather interior is in amazing condition with no rips, tears, wrinkles, or fading.

Performance is not bad with the 2.5L, as long as you are not afraid to rev it up a bit from a stop. Once you are cruising, or on the highway, the engine provides plenty of get up and go, requiring few downshifts to overtake slower traffic.

Recently drove a 6000 mile round trip with the car, and I had no issues. Fuel economy was an alright 30MPG, combined with majority highway @75MPH.

My car has the 5 speed manual, and the manual top, and seat. I would recommend the manual top and transmission, as these seem to be the major trouble spots, costing a lot of money to repair, with a high likelihood of breaking down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th June, 2010