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Ive got two problems. First is a girlfriend with a taste for the BMW badge, the second problem is that she earns enough to buy a car without consulting me first, even just a little. She chose a BMW 316. My mechanic explained it very succinctly the first time I had to take it in. With the 316 all you are getting is the badge. A baby beamer, underpowered, ugly (it looks like its backed into a wall and been squashed), plain, boring and expensive (fuel, insurance, parts, depreciation). You may rightly expect the expense when you own a BMW, but not the others. It corners fine but you never really feel the speed to stretch it. Accelerate along a motorway and you will constantly find yourself waiting for the tachometer to catch up, a 1.8 has nowhere near enough grunt to move this box. Of BMWs, in the past Ive only owned a 5 series, so it isnt really fair to compare the fit level, but the internals do seem a bit cheap to me. Do not expect any modern toys as standard, at all. Space is also an issue, BMW cabins have always been a bit cramped when judged against their external volumes but this car seems to obey that rule a bit too closely. The rear seats are a no go area for any fully grown adult, or if you manage to squeeze a couple back there, expect them to start complaining very quickly. The boot also seems small. Compare this to a similar model from a rival manufacturer and it stands out even more. My dad always said all a car is for is to get you from A to B. The 316 will do that, but I think youre paying a bit too much for the privilege of strapping that bit of blue and white tin to the front while it does so.
I have had a BMW 316ti SE Compact for a year, and I am extremely happy with it. The cornering is fantastic and it goes around roundabouts at high speeds without problems. According to September 2002's Which report, the BMW 316 Compact has the lowest percentage depreciation out of a cross-section of 140 cars sold in the UK. Over the its first 3 years, the Compact is expected to lose 47% of its value, compared to the Daewoo Leganza 2.0CDX-E losing the highest percentage at 76%. Which have also reported in the past about the 3-Series being particularly difficult to steal and to steal from. The automatic air conditioning is excellent. Driving in the south of France with an outside temperature of 38ºC, it kept a cool 20ºC inside, although it does make the air very dry. The boot space could be a bit bigger, but it's not a big problem. The clutch pedal is a little stiff, but I understand this is a problem with many BMWs, probably because most BMWs are automatic and so BMW don't spend a lot of time on clutches. It's worth paying the extra £1,510 extra for the SE which came with features, that if ordered individually as optional extras, would have totalled £3,820.