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I bought this car last month and have been thrilled with how it has performed. I have owned BMW's before, and like my previous experience -this car is a joy.I do a lot of travelling and this enables me to travel in comfort and style. The only minor issue is the amount of petrol it uses, and the cost to fill it up. I guess this depends whether you are using it in heavy traffic, or on a motorway.Still, let the fuel consumption take nothing away from the car. It is a joy to drive, and I am very happy with my choice.
The BMW 320i SE was my second German car, which I drove after having moved on from an Audi A3. I purchased it with 14,000 miles on the clock at 18 months old for a substantial discount from the list price.
This version of the 3 series was before BMWs started looking angular and strange.
The model nomenclature for this car was confusing - rather than having a 2 litre engine, it was actually the smallest in-line six cylinder engine made by BMW at the time with a capacity of 2.2 litres.
The car had parking sensors (beep only, no visual guide) at the rear, a CD autochanger and climate control air conditioning. At the time of building, BMWs needed a lot of expensive boxes ticking on the options list.
Due to budget constraints, I had to go for a car with a manual gearbox and cloth seats. I was to find out on selling the car that the value was severely damaged because of the lack of leather and automatic gearbox - a salutory lesson.
The engine developed around 180 bhp and in my opinion in a saloon car would have not been powerful enough to justify an automatic gearbox, but some buyers expect this in a "luxury" car.
Having such limited power, the rear wheel drive had little effect on the driving dynamics, other than when there was snow or ice on the road and the car was undriveable.
The quality of the car was faultless, and servicing was reasonable (certainly cheaper than the Audi). The only problem I ever had with the car was some warranty work performed on the front suspension bushes.
Having a relatively small engine, the car was fairly economical; tyres and spares were reasonably priced.
Having a six rather than four cylinder engine made this a "proper" BMW to those in the know.
Overall, this was a great car for the three years that I owned it.