2001 BMW 3 Series SE 1.9 from UK and Ireland


Buy one


Absolutely nothing has gone wrong!

General Comments:

The 3 series is a very refined and involving drive. It will happily potter around town and return 30 mpg.

It is very easy and enjoyable to drive.

But! Plant your foot on the accelerator and boy does it go, a totally different car, fast, tight and handles like it's on rails! Mpg is still 25 plus!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2005

2001 BMW 3 Series 330Ci Sport 3.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Everything you need


The only fault to mention is a sticking passenger-side electric lock in cold weather.

This is not a fault, but some may find it difficult to change gear smoothly at lower speeds (it can be achieved with practice). At higher speeds changes are smooth.

General Comments:

To call the 330Ci Sport a car is a misnomer. It is more an instrument of driving because you are never in one of these machines, but part of it, a bit like an extension of yourself. So how can this be? My appraisal of the BMW system is that everything is engineered to respond instantaneously to input. Not only this, but to also provide feedback that is intuitive to the driver, i.e. you instinctively know how to respond.

My last car, an Audi 4.2 Quattro Sport, and the 330Ci Sport compare like night and day. The BMW feels like a living thing with the way it communicates to you. The Audi is more computer game – there’s a lot going on in the screen, but nothing really to tell you you’re actually doing it.

In my opinion the 330Ci Sport is a beautiful car. I really like the E46 (latest 3-Series) in any guise, but with the Sport options such as lower suspension, 18” MV wheels & aerodynamic styling II, I think it looks fantastic. It gives as much pleasure to look at as it does to drive, leaving you with a feeling of ownership satisfaction.

The ride comfort is supreme given the M-Sport suspension and 18” wheels. It simply does not crash over poor road surfaces, unlike the Audi that used to make me wince every time.

High speed stability is excellent. Aerodynamic Styling II really does work, as I find the car becomes more stable once you reach 120mph. Incidentally the 330Ci Sport seems to surge after 115mph. So it is faster between 115 & 130 than it is 100 & 115. There aren’t many cars capable of producing this kind of accelerative force well into treble figures. Just remember, under that practical bodywork is a thoroughbred sports car.

Being a bit of an engine fanatic and possibly knowing a thing or two about them, the inline straight-six is a piston-heads’ dream, especially the 3.0-litre. It is smooth, powerful, and produces a sound that has you wanting to drive mid-winter with all the windows down!

The interior is superbly designed and gives you that sense of being ‘wrapped around’, but without restriction. The seats are exceptionally comfortable given their sporty nature. The dash is uncluttered and easy to use, and the silver dial surrounds are a nice touch on this particular model. The other thing about this car is the marvellous through load facility. What more could you ask for?

The 330Ci Sport is a car you will want to hang on to. You will find it difficult to pick faults, if any. It is clear that BMW have thought long and hard about every aspect of this car. I’ve had mine for six months now and nothing appears to be an afterthought. It is truly a well designed package where you feel every component is meant to be. It is also cheap to run since nothing goes wrong, and where else do you find a 3.0-litre engine returning 30mpg? It will last years too. The body is 80% galvanised, the engine is legendary in its reliability and service life, and the suspension is aluminium and uses hydraulic anchor points.

I’ve chopped and changed through several cars in the same number of years and all have been disappointing. Finally I’ve found what I’m looking for in the 330Ci Sport and I would consider myself extremely discerning.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th April, 2004

5th May 2004, 17:00

I agree with your comments regarding engineering quality and thoughtful design, which are two areas that BMW are rightly and deservedly praised for. However, I can't agree with your comments about the "one-ness" between car and driver. In my opinion, this is something that the 3 Series started to lose with the E36 model, and to be honest was only completely present in the E30 variant.

I have owned an E30 325i Sport, an E36 328i Coupe and an E46 330Ci and in fact, would place them in this order in terms of driver involvement. I actually bought my old Sport back last month, so I now have the E30 and E46 together and the contrast is incredible. The E46 is smoother, more refined, better equipped and so on, but nowhere near as involving or as dependent on the driver.

To be fair to BMW, this is a trend which is affecting more and more cars as they struggle to meet ever more stringent and often nonsensical crash and emissions regulations, not to mention cope with the lawsuit culture that is polluting our planet, but the fact remains that BMW's ain't what they used to be when it comes to being the "Ultimate Driving Machine"