Product Type: BMW cars
Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Solid, Smooth, Reliable
Member Name: JCee
Date: 06/01/04, updated on 06/01/04 (13009 review reads)
Advantages: Beautifully Engineered, Smooth, Solid Ride, Quality of Interior
Disadvantages: Expensive, Servicing Costs, Ageing Design
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.
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.
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.
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.