Care for it and reap its spectacular rewards
Three days after we bought the car the coolant light came on, went to my mechanic and it was found all hoses were damaged by some sort of cleaning product where the hoses were soft and splitting. Six hoses replaced (probably not a BMW issue, but previous owner or country conditions). $1300 NZD.
Spark plugs and rocker cover gasket at 67000 kms. $870 NZD. Following this, one of the spark plug ignition coils went, so genuine part to replace. $250 NZD.
The car had an oil leak which is an ongoing problem. It used to leak onto the exhaust which would heat then smell out the cabin. This has been resolved, but I still get oil drops on the garage floor. $300 for work on this so far.
Side skirting panels all had lifted and created gaps. $200 panel-beating.
There must be a coolant leak somewhere because every now and then I have to top this up.
Currently there is a burnt petrol smell sometimes in the cabin. Possibly a leak in the exhaust system.
The car has red paint. I have been told that it is the worst colour for oxidisation, hence why pant has faded along bonnet and roof. Quoted around $700 NZD for a paint job.
Service every 10,000 kms costs $250 NZD.
The three best things about this car are its looks, its performance from a small engine and its handling. The looks is the overriding reason as to why we bought the car, it looks amazing. It is an M spec model (body kit not engine) and has been lowered on M springs and has 19" M alloys. The car constantly gets comments about how beautiful it is.
The one thing I love about this car is the handling. It truly does feel as if it is on rails, it never has any roll and corners so perfectly and tightly. This is due to the excellent M springs. There is a windy uphill road in New Zealand over the Kaimai ranges and one day I was travelling over this and racing with a V8 Holden Monaro, which clearly had more pace than my 318, but the handling allowed me to zoom around corners and handle better than the other car. I had so much fun that day.
The performance from the small 1.8 engine is very good. If the right gear is in use, the car pulls off very nicely and is surprisingly quick. The fuel economy around town is alright at 11 l/100kms. But on a long trip I achieved 750 kms on one tank (55l) which is 7.3 l/100kms.
The cabin is good with tan leather seats and wood finish. There is bad wear on the cup holders where the plastic is broken and tan colour has chipped off. The steering wheel is a little worn too. Otherwise there is no wear on the seats or other cabin items.
After buying this car we were a little upset that we had to do so much work on it. Basically, as this was the first used car we had bought privately we did get it tested, but they did not comment on the hose issues. We realised that the previous owners had not looked after it very well and we needed to spend some money to get it up to scratch. We considered that $16,000 NZD for a car of this rarity (colour, leather, engine size, M kit, looks) was not too bad.
Overall we love this car, it feels pretty cool driving it as it turns heads, drives amazingly and is perfectly balanced - a true example of why a BMW must be cared for, because the brilliant engineering of the car beneath it must be respected.
I love this car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th September, 2010