2001 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8 petrol from North America


Like a mistress: pretty but high maintenance


We have owned 3 other BMW's, and it is always the same story: after 50,000 miles, pretty much EVERYTHING starts failing. Yes, the basic motor and transmission will go 200,000 miles... but everything else -- the electrical system, the sunroof, the struts, the radiator, the electric window lifts -- will fail between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. You will hear lots of glowing reports about the 3-series, both here, and in the trade magazines. Be forewarned: the folks who "love" BMW's usually don't have to PAY for them!

General Comments:

If you want handling AND affordability, buy a Lexus.

Lovely interior and brilliant seats.

Excellent handling.

Horribly expensive to own and maintain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2011

20th May 2011, 01:02

I couldn't agree more. Bimmers are the most overhyped, overrated, overpriced cars on the road. Perhaps it's a German thing; there are not too many German cars that are not very expensive maintenance nightmares. The technology is just not as great as claimed.

I have had 3 sets of front brake pads, 2 rear, 2 rotors, all 4 window regulators broken multiple times, broken rear coil springs, idler and tensioner pulley bearing failures, leaking shocks and struts, water pump, heater valve, AC problems, broken interior and exterior trim pieces, headlight lens leaks and frosting over, poor fuel mileage, failed $250 key fobs, emblems that lose the finish paint on it.

All this with less than 65,000 miles.

I already see that the cooling system problems (water pump, overflow tank, thermostat housing, hose inlet/outlet are next due to crappy plastic parts). I'm going to cut my losses and get rid of it before I'm broke and have a junk heap on my hands.

2001 BMW 3 Series 320d SE 2.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


At 130000, the engine had to be replaced @ €2500.

2010 running costs €250.

Wheel fell off.

Current problem with the back wheels.

A/C doesn't work.

CD changer is only playing 3 out of 6 slots.

Many more little niggles.


General Comments:

Very classy car, and looks great. Pity the reliability doesn't live up to standard expected from a german executive car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2011

5th Mar 2011, 18:09

Everything you have said is true. My son got a "deal" on a 2001 Beemer 3-series... the first week, we did $1700 of repairs! It is a nice car with a beautiful interior... but reliable or affordable? Not really... perhaps the typical BMW owner is able to ignore practical concerns, such as affordability and easy of maintenance?

2001 BMW 3 Series 316Ti Compact 1.8i petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Surprisingly good, get a manual though. Pity mine hasn't got a sunroof


One coil pack failed at about 69,000 km.

General Comments:

I thought being a 1.8 (yes, 1.8 on a 316ti) 115-bhp car, weighing 1,200 kg, it would struggle. But having a manual gearbox helps, and easily pulls the car uphills at open road speeds without a problem. Very surprised, coming from a 160bhp V6 Galant and a row of Audis.

Unusually frugal - my previous cars average only 8.5 km/L (11.76 L/100 km, 20.2 US MPG, 27.7 UK MPG) due to terrain and only get to 12 km/L (8.33/28.5/36.36) on long drives; this BMW averages 11.5 km/L easily, and on recent trips out of town, even did as high as 16.5 km/L!

It may be a hatch, but it is only 100 kg (or, one male passenger equivalent) lighter than my Galant and other Audis, so it is not a light car. So I suppose the manual helped there again.

The seats are very good for long distance driving. Support in the right places. Better than the Galant or my previous A4. And the BMW doesn't even have lumbar support adjustment!

Steering is communicative, offers good feel. Well-weighted. And even has steering controls, a luxury in 2001, which I thought was a gimmick until found out how well-designed it was.

Controls are all tactile and damped.

Doesn't feel as "carved-from-granite" as the older E36 3-series cars though, whose doors felt like concrete with the glass welded and not a single rattle. This one feels more conventional.

At suburban speeds, the gear ratios feel they could be better spaced.

The outside temp gauge is very accurate, either spot-on or within a degree of the correct temperature; the Galant's was always 3-4 deg C too optimistic.

On NZ's coarse-chip roads, quieter than the Galant, on par with Audis, but not as quiet as a Hyundai Sonata nor a 5-Series BMW. May just need to change tyres, not much else can be done.

Mine was well-equipped - in a rare gray-green metallic, it even had the walnut dash, cruise control, reversing sensors. I only wish it had a sunroof.

Overall, this car was much better than expected. It's basically a 3-series with a hatchback, which makes it much easier to park (shorter, without the length of the boot). Comfy seats, frugal, nimble, and details were well-thought out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2011

28th Feb 2012, 12:36

Update: 86K km. Just had a service done. Routine servicing was straightforward. It needed new front brakes - my mechanic showed me the parts and was amazed that all the pads wore equally evenly, down to about 3mm. The discs themselves couldn't be machined anymore, because it wouldn't meet minimum requirements, but never warped. I guess there's something to be said for original equipment (or OEM).

Besides that, I had him check two bearing-like sounds coming from the front, worried it may be a failing water pump. Wasn't the water pump, they replaced a pulley and a roller, and at the same time the drive belt (now 10 years old, still the original one).