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I had this car for approximately four years, only selling it last week and already missing it. Four years ago I decided to sell my Corsa which was my first car as I was getting fed up of driving a 1.0 engine sized car. It was lovely that my insurance was lower with my Corsa and it took less petrol, but I hated the fact it was so powerless and needed so much acceleration to get it to move from a stopped position.
My husband and I decided on an older BMW 318i, as we couldn't afford a new one and it is such a waste how quickly the price drops every year from new. We bought a red saloon and it was in very good condition for the age of the car, especially from the outer body. The previous owner was the first owner and had always kept it in the garage so the paintwork was still very shiny and bright. It had been used a lot though and the mileage was very high so we were not sure how lucky it would be for us, and how much work it might need in the future.
The cars drive was very comfortable and smooth with the seats being much more spacey then I was use to. I had electric windows for the front two windows which would occasionally give me problems. A few times the front driver's side window would come out of place, this my husband was able to fit and once while he was away I got it fixed my a mechanic. It did not cost me a lot.
It did give me a few other problems which is understandable for a used car during a four year period. I did get the car serviced regularly and it is annoying that the only car service that can remove the functions that light up when it is due to be serviced is from BMW. On the whole it ran very smoothly and seems like a very strong car from outside and inside. It had plenty of life even after nearly 150000 miles on the clock. We felt secure taking it on long journeys, and the kids had enough space in the back to stretch out when needed.
As it is a 3 series car it wasn't the largest shape but compared to my little Corsa, at times I did struggle to park in tight spots. It was a shame it did not have a parking sensor. Also I agree with other reviewers that this car is not good in the snow. However this model looks stylish and is easy to maintain in my experience especially with good alloys and leather seats. In a few years time I would love to get a 3 series Coupe due to my positive experience with BMW.
as ive said previously if its japanese or german theres not much can go wrong, ive recently been driving the 318i coupe and i have to say i was rather impressed, the 5 speed manual gearbox is very smooth and has no troubles what so ever, this is a very well rounded car meaning theres enough torque to pull you away and still enough power at the top end to have a respectable top speed. 0-60 was somewhere around 7+ seconds mark which i can personally vouch for it bieng quick enough to get you out infront of the wagon and its 15 car convoy on the A75 :P
my personal opinion of the design is that as with most bmw's it still looks good even though its pushing 10yr old, they are well built and well designed both inside and out. the dash layout and cockpit in general is very refined and one of the better looking and classy interiors of the motoring world and wouldnt look out of place in another 10years.
the full leather interior which should still be in great condition in most looked after models and with a badge like this, wouldnt you?
its quite a big car but the coupe feels a lot smaller than the saloon and there is a lot less space in the back when compared to the mercedes clk and less power too but it is still a phenominal car.
handling is very good and is responsive handles a lot better than the saloon for obvious weight distribution reasons and the merc is a lot heavier but then i think the merc is a classier car altogether.
a great performer and handler, looks good both inside and out. quite pokey but great value for money. mercedes clk is in my opinion the better car but more expensive tobuy and maintain.
This car is big, bold and beautiful.
I love this car it is built like a tank yet drives like and express train. I usually change my car every 3 years, yet I now have owned this one for 5, and have no desire to change it yet. I, like some other reviews here prefer this older shape to the new one. It has a real masculine shape about it.
For a 318 it has some power to it, this car will go, go, go and with the rear wheel drive it corners as if it on rails. It is so responsive, a real drivers car.
The boot should be more spacious, a lot of space is taken up by the rear wheel drive mechanism, but it is generally ok. Inside It can take 5 adult passengers quite comfortably.
The BMW factory fitted stereo is only average at best, I eventually replaced mine.
Servicing is expensive at the dealers, but you can go 2 years between them, as you only take it in when the service mileage counter tells you. So it almost balances itself out.
Rear springs are problematic on this version, I have had to replace one every year. This costs about £100 each time, so not too bad, but a tad annoying.
I have to agree with the previous reviewer who said that this car is terrible in the snow, it really is bad. I live at the top of a small lane with a fair incline, in the recent snowfall I had to resort to taking a big run up and flooring it all the way, otherwise it just doesn't go anywhere, even flooring it has it;s problems, the back end can start to swing out, I had to beep my horn at some pedestrians and wave them out of the way, as I was so worried the back might side swipe them.
As you only have to put up with kind of snow for a couple of weeks every year this is not really a major issue.
This car still makes me smile when I drive it, even after 5 years. It is obviously not without faults, but the positives far outweigh them.
Of all the cars I have owned this has to be the best so far, in fact my last three cars have been this model I have been so smitten. I hadnt been a fan of BMW until this model was introduced, I still think this shape is nicer than the new one.
The ride is exceptionally smooth and handles great round corners, although the rear wheel drive takes some getting used to especially in the wet as i found out to my embarrasment when driving my first one down a wet, muddy country lane. Once you get used to this trait it's not so scary but if your new to the marque then go easy until your familiar with the beast!
The coupe version sticks to the road much better than the saloon and sits much lower, with a stiffer ride, however putting some wider lower profile tyres on the saloon does help matters.
The interior is laid out so that everything is in reach of the driver, the dashboard actually curves around the driver and the controls are all simple and easy to use, not over complicated like on some newer cars. The thing with buying a BMW brand new is nothing comes as standard, except the fresh air inside, so sometimes getting a second hand one with features even as basic as split folding rear seats can be hard so try and get one with as much features as you can.
Buy an example that has been cared for and reliability wont be a problem, however one fault I have had on all 3 cars I have owned is the air bag light illuminating. Each time this has been down to the driver's seat retainer, which Im told is a common fault. The first two occasions it was fixed under warranty, the third unfortunatley cost me £70 to remedy.
The other common problem Ive encountered is the front wishbones going, Im still recovering from the shock of the cost of this! This hasnt dampened my enthusiasm for a truely brilliant car.
Having tested the Saab 93 and Jaguar X-Type I was most impressed by the 3 Series . So I bought one! More specifically I went for a 318i Sport Auto which overall is a great car which combines amazing engineering and build quality with a sporty nature. The main highlights of the car for me are as follows: Exterior Although the design is now around five years old it still looks great and has an appearance that won?t date in years to come, especially if you consider the looks of some of its newer BMW siblings. The finish of the paintwork is impeccable (mine is in Mystic Blue) and all the quality of the fittings make it feel like the car has come out one complete mould rather than bolted together. One gripe is that when closing the doors they need a firm push to shut properly other wise they don?t fully close. The Sport version is equipped with all the options of the SE plus M Aerodynamic Kit, M Alloy Wheels, sports seats and steering wheel and sport suspension. These really add to the look of the car and transform it into an almost M3 look alike giving it much more an aggressive look. Interior This is an area in particular where I felt that the 3 Series Sport was miles ahead of others I tested. The quality of the interior in very impressive and thehe driving position is incredibly adjustable (although lacks lumbar adjustment) and very much tailored toward the driver while remaining very comfortable for passengers. All the controls are logically placed and the switchgear has a solid and quality feel about it. There are plenty of cubby holes for storage although a cup holder is a noticeable omission given that they are pretty much standard in most cars today. Space in the rear is ample rather than generous but three adults will sit comfortably. The only other minor gripe is that the glovebox, (like the doors!) needs to be shoved hard to close properly. Boot space is very generous given the size of the car and you can easily fit a family?s worth o
f shopping in it! Engine & Transmission The 318i is equipped with a 2 litre (not 1.8) four cylinder engine and while BMW are better known for 6 cylinder engines you would be hard pressed to notice the difference in smoothness. Surprisingly noisy outside and almost diesel like in sound, it is almost unheard inside the car but when accelerating hard still has that satisfying BMW roar that the 6?s have. One disappointment is the initial grunt of the engine which for me lacks responsiveness from a standing start. If you like a quick take up you?ll be a little disappointed however this may be particular to the auto box. If you like a smooth take up however, you?ll be very satisfied. From 20mph onward however the car is a different beast and suddenly comes alive with the engine pulling hard and becoming much more responsive. For the racers the auto box has a Sport mode that takes this a step further. Engage it and you?ll feel the car is even more eager. For those that like to feel more in control the auto also has a Steptronic mode allowing you to change gears sequentially although so far I?ve been disappointed at the sluggish reponse the box has in changing gear as manual gear changes don?t feel instant and it feels as if the car is making sure its okay to change into the gear you want it to! Fuel economy is average, my mpg has been about 22 mpg (driving mainly in town and on dual carriageways). Good but not the 27 mpg BMW state. Ride Another area where the 3 was ahead of the others I tested. At all speeds the car has a cloud like smoothness but has a solid, almost bulletproof feel to it. The sports suspension is naturally firm and allows you to ?feel? the road. When cornering the car feels as if on rails, sure and precise. Bumps in the road are felt more than cars with normal suspension settings but don?t jar or reduce your comfort. The driving position feels lower and more relaxed than other cars? and the floor hinged accelerator pedal allows
gives you a feeling of being able to finer tune your speed compared to a regular pedal. Safety Airbags are all around you in the 3 Series and the car features many safety features to help stop you needing them in the first place such as Dynamic Stability Control, Corner Braking Control and ABS Brakes. Thankfully I haven?t needed any of them yet! Overall I have been very happy with my 318. I thoroughly tested the three cars I was considering and despite initially not wanting to take on the ?BMW Driver? label due to its connotations did so due to the fact it was simply the best car in all areas. Yes, it isn?t completely perfect and there are newer designs out there but its faults are minor ones and you can take assurance from the fact that it?s a well proven design.
I have to say what lovely car this is. It combines a prestige appearance, sportyness, comfort, suberb refinement, and great engines. But, this car is so incredibly expensive, it comes with 4 wheels (6 including steering wheel and spare), and a seat, it may be lovely, but unless your minted you can't get one packed with the goodies. As the great Mr. Jeremy Clarkson said in his last while on top gear, it looks great (the 318), as good as the 328 infact, but get inside, drive, and you will be disapointed. I do not necessarily agree with this though, it's areal drivers car, and the 318 is no slug (if your not used to testing supercars Mr. clarkson), and is very comfortable, but you need money to get into the well equiped, faster models. I do not agree with Mr. 'Kevinparry' when he says that it is dangerous. Sure it's a bit slippy on the snow (as I have experienced), but it needs the rear wheel drive to make it the car that it is. I have been in the new M5, a rear wheel drive beast, and it holds the road like a clegg. So, if you've got the dosh, spend it, if you don't go for a well equiped, family option. And I would never buy an A4, when I could have a faster Passat with the works, for the same as a unequiped A4 to the level of the Beamer. Don't even compare the Beamer to the Audi Kevinparry, it's a lost battle!
The BMW 318 is a lovely car, well built, a good looker and a great badge to impress the neighbours, but, and it is a but, why are they still building rear wheel drive cars, friends have said they are drivers cars, but they have never owned one. I have been driving for a 2 years and like my cars, but this one scared me. Respect your car ?? this has nothing to do with it. The BMW 318 is a heavy car due to many things, one of which must by quality, but put a slipped road infront of it or a very light sprinkling of snow and a very light gradiant and your heart is in oyur mouth !!! I have drove it at 5mph up a very light gradient in sleet and still had the car sliding sideways. Is that safe ? No ! if BMW promote its a driver cars, well why do they at the same time premote it as a prestige car ? I thought you was supposed to relax in a prestigous car ? Unfortunately the car is wasted, as I'm sure most drivers would prefer the ever safe front wheel drive like its arch enemy the AUDI A4 and after having two Audi 80's I can see why people opt for the Audi. Sorry BMW, until you change for frisky back end, AUDI will get my business.