14th Mar 2001, 11:50

The 3 series is a nice car but totally without character. However beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say...

As for the last guy saying you get a lot of attention driving one... where exactly do you live? In my part of London they are more common than Vectras and Mondeos and no one bats an eyelid if you drive one. You would probably get more attention driving a Fiat Multipla :-)!

As for the quality, have you ever sat in a new Audi A4? The build quality of a 3 series simply does not compare. How they can put cheap rocker switches on the stereo & climate control systems on a £25K car I will never know. It's not like BMW don't make huge profit margin on their cars already without having to resort to cost cutting of this nature.

6th Apr 2001, 15:51

I am not a BMW 3-series owner, but did contemplate buying one. I never did and don't regret it either. They are too common for starters, no one gives them a second look (in London anyway). Also I have seen these dressed up 318SE models at the traffic lights trying to show some performance and you leave them behind!

16th Apr 2001, 10:46

To the original poster!

If you are going to go from an Impreza Turbo (Japanese rubbish) to a BMW, unless you are "downgrading" why are you not looking at an M3 Evo?

You can't compare a 318i to an Impreza Turbo!

BMW's are very good cars, but I believe that although the latest shapes are very comfortable, they have lost the fun factor of the old models.

I am actually on my 8th BMW at the moment (A 1994 540i Touring 6 Speed Manual), having owned a few 318i's (and one 316i) I can say that although they are not the fastest of cars, they do the job - and well.

The E36 Shape (last shape) is a nice car, I owned a 96 328i Touring Manual before my 540i Touring, and the 328i was a very fun car especially with its M Suspension... and it went pretty fast for what it was.

My point being, if you want a fun BMW, rather than a "comfortable" one, then go for the older shapes... the new shapes are too round and too designed for corporate drivers. BMW are no longer making great looking, fun sports and prestigious cars - instead they are starting to make "normal" cars, and in my opinion this is definitely not the way BMW should be going...

22nd Apr 2001, 15:09

Do you really expect anyone to take your opinion about 'drivers cars' seriously when you call the Subaru Impreza, Japanese rubbish?

20th May 2001, 10:32

Original poster here -

By some miracle I have been able to exchange my BMW mid-lease. Amen! I now have a car which is the exact opposite in many ways that the E46 BMW 318: a Honda Integra Type-R.

Fast, hard, raw and capable it drips with personality, yet it attracts almost no attention from non-petrolheads.

I made a terrible choice with the E46, now remedied - thank God, although my comments re: the 318SE E46 still stand.

20th Sep 2001, 14:16

Wait a sec.

The 318 is the base model.. It does all the things that a bmw with a larger engine does.. but it doesn't have the go!!.. I'm not being funny, but, reality check here, If you want a fast car don't buy one with a 1.8 litre engine. This is not complicated.

The 318 is for people that want a bmw, but don't want the associated high insurance costs or fuel consumpsion.

29th Jul 2002, 17:14

Honda's compared to BMW's is like McDonald's compared to a 5 star restaurant. One is cheap and fast and the other one is luxury and has class. In addition, BMW has a wider choice of engine sizes. It's not fair comparing a top of the range Honda type R to a base-model of BMW.

30th Jul 2002, 15:15

I run a car leasing business in the UK and we often buy BMW E46 either new or used in all engine sizes. There is no doubt that the sixes are superb, the old 1.8 is quite ordinary in comparison, but you pay your money etc... however recently we have taken delivery of the new UK built Vanos engined 318s and this is without doubt a match for any 4 pot engine on the planet. The quality of the E46 is superb, especially the interior, the Subaru is another great product, but the attention to detail is more focused on the drive-train, they really appeal to different markets and both seem to achieve high mileages without much problem. It seems some writers on this site don't want us to have a choice of car,to dismiss any BMW as rubbish is simply quite startling!

19th Dec 2002, 08:15

E 30 Series.

I not sure what qualifies a 'petrol-head'.. but I've had a few different nationalities in my time... including British, Italian, Swedish, Japanese and French. About half of these were new. Despite being the oldest vehicle to date, I am still bewildered by the level of quality and refinement that BMW managed to cram into the 88-92 E30 series (this vehicle must have been designed in the early seventies??). I've often heard mechanics mention that this is BMW's 'best' model range to date.

The current 3 Series (E46?) seems a beautifully crafted car, and I recently test-drove the 330d Tourer with a view to purchase. (v.v. quick..) Incredibly however, I felt that my (now ancient) E30 Tourer was both smoother and more solidly built... perhaps I've lost the plot completely here.

Am I now condemned to looking at a c-class, A4 or V40?

Alternatively, does anyone know if the post-88 E30 convertibles are of a similar quality to their hooded counterparts. (And did they ever come with an interior roof lining?) I might just save the money and get one of these too.

27th May 2009, 09:21

I have a 318ise and I can tell you they are not boring at all, you just need to know how to drive one.

Also my mate has a e30 2.5i, and that is rapid. We have been going on a closed road at 150mph. It's pushing out roughly 200bhp, and can easily beat a supercharged Mini even round corners. Trust me, I was involved in the race.

If you don't know how to drive the car to get the most out of it, then you shouldn't be driving it! I beat a Merc compressor in my 318ise because the bloke who was driving was frighten of the roundabouts instead of using the over-steer to his advantage; he just slowed down, pathetic.

27th May 2009, 17:00

A 328 is 193 bhp and will do 150mph. An e30 with 200bhp should be just as quick.

28th May 2009, 13:24

I have a red 1995 328 and its still red, not turned pink yet :)

25th Sep 2009, 10:49

After reading all of the comments above, I'd just like to have my say if I may?

First of all I had a E36 318i in black 1995, I loved it so much, it was a rapid smooth drive and I left everyone waitin at the traffic lights and I'm a GIRL, well Girl Racer that is, it was so easy to be doing 40mph without realising!

I have since upgraded to the 1999 316i SE and love it just as much as the other one with the added extras of course!!!