2006 BMW 3 Series 325 Coupe 2.5 inline 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand
Solid, reliable, classy & safe
Bought a NZ NEW vehicle from a dealer who got it traded in from an elderly person (owned since new). Came with a full service history and is in a very good nick.
I have owned the following similar models (older generations), so my review is based on similar spec older generations.
1989 325i E30 Coupe Manual.
1993 325i E36 Coupe Auto.
1999 323ci E46 Coupe Manual.
All 2.5 motors.
Wouldn't compare it with sedans of lower or higher spec, or the 5 Series that I have owned.
The best parts with the E92 Coupe 325i are:
1) Beautiful body design with great front appearance, and the rear has much better finish compared to a sedan.
2) Fair size coupe. Large enough, but not too big.
3) Since 325 sits somewhere in the middle. Hence they're low key, which means people who want to abuse them generally don't target these; they buy the bottom end 320i, or the 330, 335 or M3, hence the chance of getting a neat one is fair.
4) The 2.5L is not super fast, but provides sufficient torque and adequate power when needed.
5) Extremely smooth, along with slick gear changes.
6) Very fuel efficient. On the open road it will do 6.5L/100km, & in the city around 10-11L/100km
7) Unlike the turbo models - it doesn't have too many complaints (of course there are always lemons out there, but this is my own collection of thoughts from different BMW forums that the 325i is a safer pick, and my last 3 had also no major issues during the time I owned them).
8) None of the body parts is shared with the sedan (this is rather generic for the E92). They should have really called this a 4 Series, rather than waiting till the F30 models :)
9) The pillarless doors do not leak any wind, hence the cabin is very quiet, just like the sedans. The previous generation suffered from wind noise.
10) Precise handling and well selected suspension for this type of coupe.
11) Fairly robust engine, and the transmission feels solid - unlike other autos I have owned. I don't have to pray for a smooth shift when the engine is cold.
12) Lots of cool features added as extras, but I don't want to go too much into details - but just to give an example: when you sit in the car, the seat belt gets pushed towards you by an automated arm, so you don't have to turn back to pull it.
Room for improvement:
1) Power steering feels heavy.
2) Run flat tyres aren't my cup of tea. Introduces road noise too.
3) Driver's cup holder location is not very handy.
4) Bluetooth isn't very user friendly.
5) Tyre wear is rather fast.
6) Interior is a little dull looking compared to its competitors (Audi A5 or Merc C Class Coupe, although they were designed a lot later).
I haven't owned this car for long, but put on reasonable km to get the feel of it. Found this car very solid. Also the pre-purchase inspection did not find any leaks or signs of wear. The previous owner seem to have done only the usual maintenance on time (e.g. services) and that has kept the car in good shape.
What I have right now is fully stock, and I plan to keep that way. May get some nicer wheels and window tints, but the factory design is very elegant.
Overall I am very happy so far. Apart from a service and transmission fluid change, I have done nothing else really. Thanks to the gentleman who provided me with the contact details for a great BMW service person.
At this stage, it feels like I won't be bored with this any time soon. Have gone through a few car changes over last 12 months, and none satisfied me fully till I got this one.
Anyway, if you're looking to buy a 325i coupe - I highly recommend this specific model. A manual would be fun for sure, but to be more practical with traffic, an auto does the job better for me, although it's little sluggish compared to a manual.
A few tips for people who are looking into buying this, especially if you're in NZ:
1) Buy NZ new. Most NZ new are German built and exposed to a known environment. Also people here generally look after them, hence they last lot longer.
2) Try to track down one with less owners, preferably from a mature owner, with a full service history if possible.
3) It's worth spending a few hundred dollars and getting it checked by BMW authorized mechanics.
4) Avoid Singapore imports. Due to humidity - lot of electrical issues. I have learnt the hard way.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd July, 2014
Agreed on buying NZ-New. They're not always available or cheap, but never mind BMWs, I notice that the oldest running cars around, even Mitsubishi Mirages or 1988 Corollas, are almost always NZ-new.
Also, an ex-Mitsi mechanic friend has told me that when a tech service bulletin from the factory comes out, they routinely upgrade the parts required on cars free of charge as they come in for service, even long after the warranty has expired.
Japanese imports are better than Singapore, but even with low mileage, they can still have problems. Just my observation on having had both NZ-new and Japanese import cars - Japanese and German.
As for not sharing a single body panel with the sedan, that can be a liability - when you do need a part, and the coupe lighting fixture is "just a little smaller" than the readily-available sedans, it is annoying.