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.
Air con fail (condenser).
Massive oil consumption due to worn valve seals.
Head removed to find piston cylinders disintegrating - engine was scrap.
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.