Clonking from front suspension at 16,000 miles.
Misfire (coil pack) at 24,000 miles, and again at 43,000 miles.
Drivers side bonnet catch difficult to engage from new.
Intermittent erratic idle (never fixed).
Rainwater entering the passenger foot well from a door seal at 40,000 miles.
Beautiful car in many ways, but the reliability has been unacceptable for a car of this price and so-called quality.
The 318i uses a detuned version of the 2.0 engine from the 320i, and isn't exactly a ball of fire, but if you work it hard, it goes reasonably well. It's very smooth and eager to rev, and there's a noticeable pick up in both pull and response past 3500 RPM, which makes it worth using the revs.
The gearbox isn't as sweet as BMWs of old, with a slightly stiff feel to it, which hasn't really got better with miles. There's also quite a whine on 2nd gear, which has been there from new. BMW tell me this is normal.
Handling is lovely. The balance of the car in fast corners is a joy, and the steering, while being slightly artificial in feel like most electric PAS systems, is beautifully accurate, fast, and has no free play or slack.
Equipment on this SE is pretty good. Dual zone climate, parking sensors, cruise control, CD/radio with aux input for the iPod, electric folding mirrors and 17" alloys. No bluetooth as standard though, which is a disappointment.
The interior overall though is a great place to be. Materials, with the exception of the easily marked plastic "aluminium" trim, are all of high quality, and the standard of construction is flawless. Great seats and driving position too.
Biggest gripe is reliability, which frankly is appalling on a car of this price. Lots of problems, which Google suggests are well known and frequent on this model. Thankfully the dealers are good and helpful, although there's often a 2 week wait for a courtesy car.
I've also never known a car with such soft, easily marked paint. It looks very secondhand at 3 years old, despite regular washing and polishing, and never being subjected to an automatic car wash. The slightest thing seems to leave a scratch or a chip behind.
This is a company car, but if I'd spent my own money, I would have to say the reliability and quality problems would definitely take the shine off owning it. BMWs are not what they used to be in quality and reliability terms, by a long way.
23rd Dec 2014, 13:14
Watch out for cam chain failure caused by poor crankshaft sprocket design, which slowly eats the chain. Whole cam chain assembly is located at the bulkhead end of this infamous engine (N47 designation). Extremely expensive to rectify.