2002 BMW 3 Series 316i Comfort Package 1.8 Litre N42B18 from Romania


A beautiful car that doesn't go out of style


I bought this car a month ago and I have to say I'm quite impressed. For a 13 year old car it's still a very good car. I needed a cheap banger, and for 3400 euros I bought a 316i BMW with leather, xenon, heated mirrors, climatronic, heated seats, CD-player, rain, parking and light sensors, auto-dimming mirrors etc.

I've changed, out of precaution, the timing chain tensioner and also my mechanic recommended that I change the bushes with M3 bushes, because I will have no issues in the coming years. Will see about that one. The mechanic also changed a rod arm and a bar link, tightened the direction box, and reset the ABS sensor, which had an error. I plan on changing the air filter, interior filter and do a check of the AC this month.

Also the oil has been changed. Please be cautious because these engines are known for either burning oil or letting oil drop through the seals. The seals have to be changed. From what I understand, there are like 50 or more seals that need changing in order for the oil to be kept inside the engine. The mechanic has recommended that the engine is pretty dry and this would not be recommended right now.

I'll return with news.

General Comments:

The car is very stiff, even if it came with the comfort suspension from the factory. It feels imperfections even in the most perfect asphalt. It runs on 205/65/R16 summer tyres and 16 inch original alloys.

Petrol is quite expensive, but I've managed 10-11L/100km in town and about 7-8L outside with a maximum 90-100 km/h. You don't buy it for the consumption, you buy it for the sensation and it does give you a good sensation. I've driven an e90 2005 318d and didn't like it as much.

Avoid tuned cars and bad boy looks because those are usually cars that have been used heavily. The example I have found has 145k original km and has been owned by an old lady in Austria. It's a good example and I plan on keeping it this way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th March, 2015

2002 BMW 3 Series 318i Touring SE 2.0 Valvetronic from UK and Ireland


Good car, superb chassis, concept engine destroyed by poor development


Front suspension bushes.

Exhaust failure.

Air con fail (condenser).

Heater failure.

Massive oil consumption due to worn valve seals.

Head removed to find piston cylinders disintegrating - engine was scrap.

General Comments:

I've had a variety of issues with this 318i Touring, which was a lovely car to drive and my wife's favourite of her own cars to date. Unfortunately, the glowing reviews seen here and elsewhere for the 2-litre 318i Valvetronic engine are somewhat rose-tinted.

Engine failure is inevitable on these motors due to the poor design and vastly optimistic service intervals. I would advise all parties to steer clear of the 318i versions.

Fortunately, I have a workshop and the wherewithal to sort this by engine transplant, which is my next job for the winter - I've bought a 320 with rusty bodywork to swap the running gear over - but it's far better to buy a reliable 320 or 325 from the start. The E46 BMW Tourings are good cars as long as you avoid the diesel engines and the four-cylinder petrols.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2014

7th Feb 2015, 23:49

Why? What exactly is wrong with this engine? Timing chain tensioner needs to be replaced and it does spring the odd oil leak, but it's otherwise tolerable and performs quite well.

24th Feb 2015, 14:12

Unfortunately I have found the same with oil consumption. Got mine at the end of last year, and unfortunately didn't notice the blue smoke. It had 117k on the clock with a full service history. I had read of the timing chain issues, but nothing else!

First thing I noticed was the blue smoke when pulling away from the lights, and then the oil light came on. I get under 500 miles for every litre of oil used. Yes there are also some leaks (VCG, Vanos seals), but nothing major. I do have 6 months warranty, but opted to pay for a garage to replace the CCV (breather system) as this is a common issue which cost nearly £400 (assuming if bigger issues arise I could use the warranty). This made no difference to the blue smoke or oil loss, so I reported it to the warranty company. I won't bore with the headache there, but 6 months down the line it is not sorted due to my reluctance to approve stripping down the engine at my own 'risk'. The specialist seemed to think valve seals are the likely culprit and rings less likely, but I can't risk it so am stuck with a car heading for its MOT next month, which I am sure it will fail. This is my first BMW and I now learn it's not the best engine they have built, but it's a shame; a great looking and driving car, even 17 years after its design.