2005 BMW 3 Series 318Ci ES 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Modern classic


A lot of preventative maintenance, thankfully mostly taken care of by previous owners. Myself I bought it used in 2017 and it has been my weekend/summer fun car. It gets serviced on time and everything it needs. No major issues, but be aware these are expensive cars to run and very expensive if anything serious goes wrong.

General Comments:

Cannot believe this car is 18 years old. Stunning looking coupe that still looks fresh in my opinion. Blue metallic.

Expensive to tax at £330 per year, and it only does 34 mpg.

Lovely interior, beige leather, and all electrics.

Not over the top fast, but goes quickly when you need to move; even the automatic box on this car feels sharp, actually prefer it to manual, suits this car's lazy cruiser feel.

If only it was cheaper to run I'd drive it everyday! But no it is a lovely investment, these cars will only hold value at this age now, perhaps even go up slightly in years to come for well kept low mileage looked after cars. BMW were at the top of their game in the early 2000's with the 3 series.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2023

2005 BMW 3 Series 318Ci Coupe ES 2.0 (N47) petrol from UK and Ireland


Great to drive, expensive to maintain


Plastic guide on top of timing chain split and had to be replaced along with a new tensioner. OEM tensioner is rubbish, causes the chain to slacken, which in turn breaks the plastic guides. Mine was not rattly or making any noise, but thankfully the garage spotted it at service. It's a given with this engine.

Rear brake pipes rust and can cause MOT failure - seems to affect all older BMW cars. It's expensive and awkward to fix. Brake vacuum seal had to be replaced.

Bushings on the front wishbones had to be replaced and the car tracking corrected.

General Comments:

Well engineered, good quality interior. Handling is great and it's an involving and fun car to drive. Front seats are very comfortable. Quite good on fuel - 38 MPG on a run, 28 around town. It's a pity there are so many issues resulting from bad engineering.

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

Review Date: 7th February, 2015

31st Jan 2023, 11:16

I have much the same car, except automatic. Stunning cars when working properly. The trick is to buy a looked after car, but keep some spare cash handy - they are not cheap to run.

2005 BMW 3 Series 320i 2.0L inline 4 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


A basic car, which looks good and is reasonably cheap to run


Oil leak from the gasket. Transmission shift was rough.

General Comments:

My 320i E90 BMW was an import from Japan, and it was German built.

It came to NZ in 2012, and I was the first NZ owner. It had 98000km on it when bought, and I wasn't surprised with an oil leak. Import grade was 4.5 out of 5, so it was very solid looking otherwise.

I have read few reviews, and saw people complaining about 320i being underpowered, which is true, but you buy this model knowing that you are aiming for the most basic car that the BMW 3 series produced. Hence I wasn't unhappy with the performance.

Fuel economy was great on open road (7L to 100km), and 11-12 litres around town, which is not too bad, but since I drive every week from Rotorua to Auckland and back (500km open road + 200 km city), open road economy was more important.

This model handles and drives great. I have owned 7 BMW’s over last 13 years, and I can only compare this with my 320i E36 sedan (1993), E36 325ci (1996 coupe), E46 sedan (1999) and E46 325ci (2000 coupe 2.5 litre).

Among all the 2 litre 3 Series I had, this is much nicer to drive, has improved handling, more cabin space, and a better front view. The rear view is poor, due to having a high headrest on the back seats and a smaller window. You do get a bit of road noise, but it’s slightly better than the E46, and lot better than an E36.

Performance wise, it can’t be compared with any other 6 cylinder 3 series model, full stop. But it does have more pull compared to previous models. Has enough power to cruise along open roads, so am happy.

Mine is in black with run flat tyres (saves the hassle from changing tyres when flat, but very expensive to replace when the treads are low). Mine came with auto headlights and an auto wiper, which works great.

What all the BMW owners need to be careful of, is that there is some rumour about BMW transmission fluid not needing changing, which is not true. Since mine was changing rough when bought – I did an auto transmission fluid change (it’s expensive – cost me about 1200 NZD), but now it drives heaps better than it was. I would have to do that one more time, as I did mine at 113k, hence the oil was extremely dirty and thick. Do make sure that it’s done by a proper garage where they know how do them. I was disappointed by BMW service, so ended up going to a Volvo garage, who did excellent job.

Otherwise, these engines are known to be bullet proof. The transmission of BMW’s has always been an issue, but I would assume the reason behind it could be people thinking they do not need any fluid change.

Overall, I'm happy so far, and it's very basic compared to the E60 5 series I had. Not many complicated computer issues.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th June, 2012

14th Jun 2012, 04:32

These engines do suffer from their share of problems. Injectors and ignition coils are notoriously unreliable. My 318i (same engine, detuned slightly) needed three replacement coils in its first 40,000 miles.

1st Jul 2012, 06:40

Yeah, I agree with you mate. But if you get a NZ new one, they seem to last better with less issues. It might be more to do with how the car is generally maintained overseas compared to NZ.

15th Feb 2013, 08:25

The road noise could be coming from your run flats; they have a reputation for being a bit rough.

15th Feb 2013, 08:27

I agree with the transmission fluid changes, I never believe that a transmission never needs fluid changed, and usually just flush them through the cooler lines.