ALL BMW 318 sedans and since 1997 ALL Mercedes Benz C180 sedans are now manufactured in South Africa. Some of the new Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles are now manufactured in Korea. This information has been passed onto me by too many dealers now for it to be inaccurate.
Gentlemen, Gentlemen. The 3 Series models made in Germany are confined to the 330i, 330Ci & the supersonic M3.
The other 3 Series models are made in the Rosslyn plant, in South Africa.
The easiest way to identify this is by looking at the logo that is embossed on each window. If the logo that appears on the side windows states 'Armourplate', then the model is from South Africa. If, however, the model has Sicursiv, Delodour, or Soliver embossed, then the vehicle is from the Munich plant.
My Dad had one of the newer 318 and previous to that the last of the older style 318. I liked the old car better. The new 318 is too soft and feels under powered. The older 318 still feels a bit under powered but was far more fun to drive.
Both cars were reasonably economical to run but dealer servicing was stupidly expensive. The build quality of the cars (we had) were faultless and he was a 25k a year driver.
Both were company cars otherwise they would just be too expensive.
Interesting to read all the concerns people have had with their BMW's.
I think the car maker to consider is Alfa Romeo. I know what you all might be thinking - "reliability etc", however its amazing to see how quickly reputations can change, witness 2 recent european car of the year awards in the 156 and 147.
My 1999 3.0 litre GTV is simply sublime. I'm convinced that apart from the more expensive and utterly delicious M3, no other BMW engine has come close to giving me such pleasurable driving enjoyment in the past. True, it doesn't have the BMW "thing", however it does have an air of exotic exclusiveness to it and the best reaction from the public - not "BMW envy" but genuine appreciation.
Discovering alfa's I have come to understand what "...made for driving pleasure" is all about. There is a certain civilised rawness to them that is addictive and yet they are indeed sophisticated, stylish and better value for money.
Anyway, I am enjoying mine and I am looking forward to the next generation of alfas, if the 147 is any indication of what is to come. I think Alfa's are becoming the "new BMW".
What do you think?
I think that there is no possible way that any Alfa Romeo could even match their respective BMW counterpart in terms of resale value, driver involvement, reliability or build quality.
Irrespective of the European Car of The Year awards won, every model in the Alfa Romeo lineup appears to have major problems in the areas that I have just outlined, plus major problems in dealer service & warranty backup also. Just take a look at ANY of Top Gear magazine's JD Power III's Quality Surveys held every year to substantiate this fact!
But then again, as the old saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!
I own a 2000 (w) 320dse and find some of the comments I have read hard to believe:- 'bad build quality, poor ride and handling' this doesn't sound like the car I know and love as I couldn't fault mine in any way apart from one. Mine currently has 27,000 miles on the clock and it has just had its 5th set of disks and pads fitted. The problem starts when the disks and pads have had around 4000 miles use and its around then that I get a bad judder through the steering wheel. I am not by any means severe on the brakes and can't see how my driving could be causing the fault, but I am told by my local dealer that a problem of this nature is virtually unheard of in the E46. Has anyone else come across a problem with the brakes on their car or had similar trouble?
The symptoms you have just described of the steering wheel juddering when braking is what brought me to this website. Same problem and made to feel like I was from another planet by BMW dealers. Currently suffering from extreme cumber in the wheels, have already spent a fortune and still no joy. This response may be a couple of years late, however I am sure it will ensure some other person knows it is the dealers being crafty not their sanity they are losing.
I'm also probably a few years late, but I own a 2000 5-series. My problem has been that I have gone through 3 sets of brakes discs in 3 months/2000 miles. All pads were replaced new each time and already I have massive judder... and I usually use engine braking!! My dealer tried to fob me off also, but I have asked some non-BMW mechanics and they say the 5-series in particular is noted for this problem. So much for the legendary BMW build quality. Other than that I can't fault the car!!
I have read the postings here and am kinda laughing! The 3 series has been the benchmark car in its class for eons. The original posting is total and utter rubbish! The 3 series BMW, while not perfect, is a very high quality, well made car. Bits and pieces just DO NOT fall off and they wear well to very high mileages. This is quite unlike Citroen (ahem) and Alfa Romeos (ahem, ahem, AMEN!). The handling on the initial E46 ('98 - '01) was not as sharp as it should have been, but this was hugely improved with the '02 cars onwards. However it is still pretty good! Again, the earlier 316 and 318 (1890cc) models were very mediocre engines in terms of refinement, performance and economy. These were replaced in '02; the 316 with an excellent 1.8 litre unit and the 318 with an equally excellent 2.0 litre unit. Also the earlier E46 2.0 136bhp diesel was sluggish, the later 150bhp is fantastic. In petrol models, the 6 cylinder engines are definitely the way to go. They offer class, excellent refinement, performance and good economy. Weak points on these cars tend to be bushings and suspension components, but mechanically, in terms of engines and transmissions, they are very robust and reliable if serviced properly.
My old E30 318i is the best car I've ever owned. Rock solid, not cheap and certainly not boring! The handling is unparalelled. I heard that the newer ones are crappy from my mechanic, a San Diego independent who is probably the greatest expert on BMW in the country. I took his recomendation and bought an E30. I have not regretted it. When I drive newer vehicles, I pine for the old e30, and with that classic boxy look, it LOOKS better than any BMW on the road today.
I can't agree on bad build quality. I have owned 5 BMW's in the past, including a 1989 E30 320i, a 1990 5 Series 520i, a 1995 740iL, a 1999 528iSE (I changed this for a Vectra diesel!) and lastly the wife's 2000 318iSE. I am now looking to change the 318, mainly due to the age of it and running costs. All have been very well built, reliable and superb to drive. They can be expensive to maintain, but as I was told when I bought the 7 series, "you may be only paying £3500 for it, but it's still a 50 grand car to maintain..." there's a lot of truth in that statement!
The handling I have found to be perfect on all beemers I have owned. Near perfect 50/50 balance makes a huge difference in my opinion. I have to say this though, but you have to KNOW how to drive them properly, learn how the car drives and behaves and you will be well rewarded!
Except in the snow that is, downright dangerous in my experience. But then you can always walk!
I own a 318i E46 (year 2000). The car has had a few issues (mainly engine water problems - expansion tank), but now it is 13 years old and still going strong. Gets about 37 MPG, but I drive the car fast (it is a BMW!!) and must say I still love the car, it handles well, nothing rattles inside, and it feels solid for its age.
The most important thought is, that this car will be soon a classic and the value will raise again, so I am keeping it! Do not care that it only has 118 BHP, it is fast enough for the roads here in the UK.