1998 BMW 3 Series SE 323i from UK and Ireland


Power, comfort and the feeling of owning one of the best cars to ever come out of Germany



General Comments:

I have an E46 (Current model 1998-2004) and it's six years old, but still drives better that my last 3 new Vauxhall cars.

The 2.5 is a very powerful engine and I get about 40MPG on the motorway.

Cream leather is absolute luxury and looks fantastic.

The auto-dimming rear view mirror is good idea.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th November, 2004

1998 BMW 3 Series 318 iS 1.9 4 cylinder 140BHP from UK and Ireland


Good quality reliable motor


Catalytic converter failed. Replaced under warranty.

Nothing else I can think of failed on the car! It just worked, time and time again. Even when the battery was flat after an ex left the lights on for a day!! She still started 1st time!

General Comments:

Handled well, great fun, but a little twitchy in the wet (which is what we want). Not so good in the snow/ice, but still never got stuck (driving in Scotland during winter included.

Practical and quite cheap to run however the interior could have been a little more interesting, too much black plastic.

Not a fire breathing 911 beater, but a nice cruiser and fun on the back roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2004

7th Jul 2006, 09:58

I bought a 1998 BMW 318is E36 model (all standard no mods) last year (2005) with 42K on the clock. It now has 55k.

I have owned a Honda Prelude, Cavalier, Citroen and Ford Escort in the past.

The very first thing I noticed with this car is the rear wheel drive and how it affects handling. This car STICKS to the road, the 50/50 weight ratio is noticeable with no under/over steer and absolute pleasure to drive around winding roads.

The torque also needs mentioning, it has the same pull along the rev range, so even if you are doing 60 and put your foot down, you are going to feel the engine pulling the car faster and faster with little depreciation, a lovely feeling.

The car is VERY reliable, oil consumption is normal, and engine temperature never fluctuates. It starts in any weather conditions first time, and is a very comfortable drive. The body/paint is showing no signs of rust.

The only thing that has gone wrong with this car is my passenger window jammed, which I hear is common. I tapped the inner door panel a few times and it started working again.

I WILL be trading this car in for the E46 in the next 12-18 months. It is true what they say - 'The Ultimate Driving Machine'.

1998 BMW 3 Series 318ti compact 1.9 16v from UK and Ireland


Sporty and refined


Nothing really, everything still feels tight and new, the paint is still shiny and the the interior is really hard wearing.

Had to replace the battery.

General Comments:

This car feels very smooth and refined yet has a sporty drive.

Much better ride and steering than my MK4 Golf GTI or the Audi A3s that I test drove before buying this.

Insurance is relatively low (only ins gp 12)

Servicing and parts cost less than Volkswagen or Volvo!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th January, 2004

12th Mar 2004, 23:43

Why would you give it a sad face if all it had go wrong was the battery?

23rd Aug 2006, 05:41

Perhaps it ran off with his mrs?

1998 BMW 3 Series 316i Touring 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Small, quality car that's good to drive



The only replacement apart from service items has been the rear suspension bearings at 43,000 miles.

General Comments:

Very well built, solid and reliable.

Even though it's at the bottom end of the range it still feels like a prestige car.

Reasonably sporty handling and good road holding.

Quite practical.

Good motorway cruiser.

The engine is very smooth for a 4 cylinder. However the downside is poor performance and fuel consumption. Usual range is 27 - 33 mpg.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2003

1998 BMW 3 Series 323i coupe 2.5 from UK and Ireland


Fantastic Cruiser, now at bargain prices


Central Locking went just before the car was three years old. Fixed under warranty.

Passenger electric window was triggering safety stop, even when there was no obstacle. Fixed under warranty.

Accelerator pedal squeaks. I have taken it to BMW twice, but never repaired.

General Comments:

Considering this is a car with only 170bhp the straight line performance is stunning. This is even in comparison with a Volvo T5. 0-60 is out of the way in a shade over 7 seconds. The straight six engine is faultlessly smooth and always responsive, pulling cleanly from very low speeds even in third or fourth gear.

Handling varies. Around town and the tight corners you have to slow down, which is sometimes frustrating when I compare it to my old 306 GTI. This can all be forgiven however on the motor way where the car remains as solid as a rock, even at monumental speeds.

The car is very well screwed together, very few rattles if any have occurred. The body-work still looks brand new which is impressive after a five year life in London.

Fuel economy is not great, but it’s what you would expect from a 2.5 litre car, averaging about 21 – 23 mpg about town and 30'ish on a motor way stint.

As for dealers, there are a lot of very polite people at BMW, of course at their prices they can afford to be. The problem is you're in a ‘catch 22’. A newish BMW without BMW service history is impossible to sell. My advise would be to shop around when you get the car serviced. For an Inspection 1 service in London, I was quoted £420. In Newport the same service cost just £290.00.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2003

29th Mar 2006, 13:54

Agreed, fantastic car, I have a '96 323i - 10 yrs old with 75K miles in the clock ; the only additional comment I would make, which was a deciding factor in my purchase is MPG - I do a lot of mileage through my sales job, London;yes 20mpg ;if I take it easy, i. e gear changes @3000 rpm -I get 36 mpg - great all round car.