12 March 2014
No car is perfect. So I won’t pretend that my 5 star rating suggests that a BMW 3 series touring is either. I bought my 318 M sport as a year old car in 2006. It was the last of the E46 model and was packed with virtually every extra except heated seats, but had leather, Bluetooth parking sensors etc. It was terrible in the very wet or icy conditions common to North Scotland winters (spring summer and autumn- lol). On a normal dry day it was FANTASTIC... So for the most part it was a delight. It was my first BMW and the quality leap from other normal cars was instant. In the 6 years I drove the car, covering 51k, the car felt and looked as good as day one. Over the period it was economical - I reckon it cost £2.5k a year to own including depreciation, insurance, servicing, etc. £45 a week for pleasure comfort and reliability made this a much better option for me than a company car with its tax implications etc. I sold the car a year ago and bought a Fiat 500 - I followed my heart! It was an interesting experiment and it cost me £1450 over the year. I have just bought another BMW touring a 320i MSport with 9k on the clock for £11k with almost same spec as my last car, only the newer E91 model. I can’t wait to get it and feel like I’m returning home. I’ll let you know if my enthusiasm is justified.
Submitted: 2013-06-16 | ID: 10520
Had a few BMW’s over the years, but this one is the best; good on fuel, comfortable on long journey’s, has all the normal BMW gismo’s which all work well, done 141.000 miles now with very few problems. Very spacious interior with nicely laid out dashboard. Normal problem with BMW is parts are very expensive, but other to that beautiful car to own. Be careful when buying though, as the last one I bought had massive problems and stank of oil inside and out, only came to light 2 days after buying and the dealer swore blind that there was nothing was wrong with it! It was a hell of a job to get my money back. Runflat tryes are a great idea but on this model very noisy and very expensive. Buy a spare alloy and fit normal tyres, which are much better and cheaper. Bottom line is a great looking car, fun to drive, economical especially on long journey’s. Just a great car, my opinion only. Go and buy one.
Submitted: 2013-03-04 | ID: 10217
Bought new after owning a 2008 320d Touring for two years. The 2010 320D Touring has been so impressive in all ways. Throw away the Bridgestone run flats and fit standard radials and the vehicle is in another world again. Mind you the poor old things had covered 49 000 kms on our New Zealand highways. Fuel consumption has averaged 6.0 l/100kms over 60 000kms. No mechanical failures, but I’ve changed the oil between BMW services. Super six speed auto and the Brembo stoppers know what do do whenever they are asked to perform. What could be improved? The seating is less than average and would accept nothing other than the sport seat option in leather. A spare tyre is essential in New Zealand as my last tyre failure (Bridgestone runflat) cost $2400 before we were back on the road. Listen up BMW as I am not happy about that at all! I will buy another when the new model arrives, but it had better have a spare tyre and increased oil changes per km.
Submitted: 2012-07-26 | ID: 9609
I bought this car as a replacement for a older 318. Having had good service from that I fancied bigger and it certainly delivers. It goes really well and returns 56/60 mpg on a run and 36/40 around town. All the gizmos inside still work and it has just made 188,000 miles!! Yes, it’s had a new turbo 18 months ago, which is the only major part that has failed. I have thought about a newer one, but I have been told this will go another 100K with ease. The only down side is rear space, which is not that big.
Submitted: 2012-03-06 | ID: 9099
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We bought this car from friends who were emigrating and it has been great, until an injector went! Trying to remove the injectors is a major job and BMW is loathe to let you have sight of, let alone hire the tool they use. We also discovered that when the injector blows (quite scary) there is a distinct possibility of a screw getting into the manifold. It happened to us, and the car has had to have the engine reconditioned at a cost of £2,000, right at Xmas. It’s funny when these things happen and you start researching, you realise that it is not an uncommon problem at all. I have lost confidence in the car now and I will sell on in the new year. I will NOT be buying another one.
Submitted: 2011-12-16 | ID: 8727
A fun car to drive returning 43mpg running around suburbs and 50mpg on steady motorway plods. Nice performance and comfortable seats. The big downside on the M sport with run flats is the harsh ride on any, but a smooth surface. The sound system is designed so that if you set it for traffic reports you get them all the time and it’s impossible to interrupt/stop the ones of no interest. I have had niggling problems with the iDrive system, with two visits to BMW in 6 months for faults.
Submitted: 2011-12-14 | ID: 8720
My first BMW, replacing a totally unreliable Mercedes 220CDI. Overall, I am pleased with it. It does what it is supposed to do, returns an average of 37mpg with a mix of London driving and fast motorway work. Far short of claimed figures! With 67,000 on the clock, it remains totally reliable, and I can’t fault BMW servicing and customer care. I find the seats only average, and feel they could be wider, but then again I am a stocky build, so it may just be me! I feel safe in the car, and it remains rock steady at high speed, the engine never sounds stressed, and has bags of torque meaning hills pass unnoticed. Certainly would recommend one without hesitation!
Submitted: 2011-10-17 | ID: 8429
I’ve had this car for nearly 3 years and covered 50,000 carefree miles. It’s the 4th Bimmer I’ve bought and yes it handles like a dream, especially in the wet with the DTC switched off! Sure it’s very tail happy, but totally predictable, ’though more tricky to catch perfectly and hold sideways than my previous E60 530i, the 3.0l petrol being much more progressive than the 3.0l turbo diesel’s massive torque surge at 2000rpm! It can (and has) caught me out when I’m not delicate enough with the throttle and/or quick enough with the opposite lock. In the snow it’s even better craic, ’though as I live in a hilly area; I’ve invested in a set of winter tyres as there are a few very steep inclines I can’t always get up. This car’s a great car for anyone who seriously enjoys driving a well engineered car - sideways!!!
Submitted: 2011-09-11 | ID: 8279
Foolishly I bought one of these cars after reading magazine reviews, and not getting off my jacksy and test-driving one. I think in M Sport trim they are a fine looking car and once I got used to rear wheel drive, it was reasonably OK when chucking it about, but couldn’t hold a candle to an Alfa 156 sportwagon I had a few years ago. The seats in the M sport are very uncomfortable and definitely not suited to any ’bigger-boned’ individuals and the ride will remove your fillings from your molars, especially with run-flat tyres on. I ended up taking the risk and re-shod the car with new alloys and decent ’normal’ tyres and did notice a slightly better ride. Build quality was OK, not what I expected from a marque, interior trim is easily marked, and plastics easily dislodge, the computer never worked correctly and told me I needed new brake pads when I had just had them fitted at a service, and the run-flat indicators failed twice when I had punctures which subsequently resulted in the tyres shredding and coming off the rims(which according to BMW is impossible yet it happened to me twice!!) I also found the whole BMW dealer thing a bit ’ Stepford Wives’ with lots of forced smiles, false tans and power-dressing - You sell average cars, get real! It was pretty economical @ 40mpg and drove OK but I won’t be rushing back for another BMW in the forseeable future - don’t believe the hype..like wot I did!!
Submitted: 2011-03-27 | ID: 7445
I have mixed feelings about this car. It is great to drive, very sharp turn in and minimal body control. It will cruise comfortably on the motorway. It does put a smile on your face. However, there are also some downsides to consider when living with the car. Mpg - 34mpg average over 3 years. Not very close to published mpg of 47mpg. This car is called "touring", not estate. That is because it’s boot is about the same size as a Golf hatchback. Look elsewhere if you need a bigger boot. Two large suitcases pretty much filled it. The glass of the read window opens seperatly from the boot, this is very useful. I had leather seats (not sport) and found them fine, if a little lacking in lateral support. Raising the seat involves shifting your weight - a VW ratchet style system would be preferable. As another reviewer states, this car eats tyres. I bought 3 sets of tyres for this car and traded it in with barely legal tyres. £1,000+ per annum for tyres is way too much. I spent more on tyres than fuel. And thats only doing 12,000 miles per annum. There is no option other than Bridgestones or Michelins (even more expensive). Going to non-runflats doesn’t work for me as there is no spare and tyreweld is no good with a blowout. The hydraulic control unit failed not long after the warranty expired. BMW graciously paid for the part (£1,500) and I paid for the labour (£300). Servicing is not cheap, but you buy a premium brand car so you should expect this. 5 stars for driving 1 star for running costs.
Submitted: 2010-09-17 | ID: 6139
Great car, does most things really well. Falls down on two thing. It eats tyres, more to the point, the side wall wears down way before the main tread. I have done 40,000 kilometres and the second set of fronts have gone. The first set wore down to the canvas on the walls after 15,000 kilometres but loads of tread on the main and over here in France a new set of rubber will cost you £1,300. The second thing that lets the car down are the seats, they are not very comfortable for long trips: France to the UK and your back is killing you.
Submitted: 2010-09-16 | ID: 6134
Sad to say I just can’t get inspired by this car. It has no soul. Of course its efficient at what it does but I’ve been more excited by old bangers I’ve owned for various reasons. Gets nowhere near the claimed MPG, stereo is not very good and basic aircon is so far removed from where the best climate control options are these days.
Submitted: 2010-07-20 | ID: 5715
The best 3 series model yet. The 1400 changes have made this model the greatest yet. The difference between the 2009 and the 2010 places the new version at a higher level in all ways. Suspension-wider track and obviously new generation run flats come together to create a comfortable highway cruiser and a better than usual performer on our twisty uneven New Zealand roading system. Motor smoother, quieter, more economical. Transmission 5 speeds that change without fuss, noise, quickly and easily overidden with the manual system if required. Who can match the economy and performance of the automatic transmission? Just watch the fuel gauge on the dash and agree. Brakes probably industry standard, progressive, and work well when required to do. A really wonderful motorvehicle.
Submitted: 2010-07-15 | ID: 5675
I have had a new BMW 320d SE Touring since July 2009. I have now covered 20,000 miles. I chose the standard seats, thinking they would be fine (I test drove one for 20 mins with the standard seat). The seats are horrendous, there is no lumbar support, are incredibly hard, giving a sore backside after only 20 minutes. All in all making this the most uncomfortable car I have ever owned. I would choose to drive a different car in a heart-beat, but I’m stuck with it for 3 years. BMW tell me there’s nothing they can do, if I want the comfort sorting out they told me to go and see an upholstery specialist! Thing is I know 3 other people who have a similar problem with the same car, funny that. I have driven a 320d with leather standard seats, completely different animal i.e. more comfortable, so if you do buy this car, don’t pick standard seats!
Submitted: 2010-02-15 | ID: 4612
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Had this car for just over 2 (fault free) years now; bought as a low mileage used car from BMW for 60% of original list price. The negatives are few - radio isn’t the best; not keen on runflat tyres (can’t repair punctures which means a new tyre every time); and rear wheel drive isn’t great in the snow! Other than that this car ticks all the boxes. It’s great to drive, does around 40mpg and has performance to match any hot hatch. Now mine has run out of warranty I’ve had mine remapped and the rolling road now reports 300bhp & 485lb/ft with improved fuel economy. It’s now able to match a 335i in a straight line. Even better though is how easy it is to drive with virtually no effort whatsoever. As long as you don’t need a massive load carrier this has to be one of the best estates you can buy if you enjoy driving.
Submitted: 2010-01-19 | ID: 4348
Contrary to some reports here, I really like this car. Yes, you have to dive deep into the options list to really enjoy yourself: the 10 speaker Harman Kardon option combined with the iPod connection and SatNav/iDrive lets you drive around like a mobile nightclub, wonderful. The M Sport model comes with great sport seats (not for fat people!) and a rocky, but very stable ride which will not be to everyone’s taste. And don’t take the Lemon leather if you don’t want to clean it every week. We are quite spoilt car wise and I have to say, this is really a great car, even better than the 540i Touring that preceded this car.
Submitted: 2008-12-01 | ID: 2209
I rented one of these on holiday in France in 2004 and was very impressed. I am first and foremost NOT a diesel fan (at home I drive a 4.3L V8 Mercedes). However BMW have done a great job with the 4 cylinder diesel in this car. It would bog down off the line like all turbo diesels (what with that and the traction control I had a few nasty moments trying to pull sharply out of gravely side roads....) but once spinning it pulled quite well. It actually had a fairly broad power spread unlike most turbo-diesels with their blink-and-you-miss-it power band. The steering, gear change, brakes and suspension were all superb. I could hustle it along on the sweeping bends of Northern Provence in an effortless way (without upsetting the Mrs beside me). All in all a pleasant surprise. It’s not the most spacious of estates (the new one is supposed to be much better) but if you have to have a 2.0 diesel this must be one of the very best.
Submitted: 2008-07-16 | ID: 1682
Overpriced and overrated. Most car mags rave on about BMW’s being superb so I hoped it would grow on me, but not so. The load length with seats folded is short and the space is not much more than a hatchback. The ride is harsh and the steering nervous and has a wandering feeling. The plastics and seating are very average. Radio is very poor quality and fiddly to set up and operate. Only 4 small speakers are provided instead of 6. Rear headrests obscure rearview even when folded down. Very short of extras which are standard on lesser makes. Aluminium trim on the dash doors and gearlever console are cheap and garish and easily scratched. Storage is very limited and central cubby under armrest very shallow and glovebox also too small to even hold the drivers instruction and service folder. Engine is fairly muted for a diesel and is very economical and I have easily achieved 60mpg without trying. Overall an average but overpriced car and not a patch on my lovely Jaguar X Type diesel which I regret not keeping!
Submitted: 2008-07-08 | ID: 1639
All those punters and the magazines can’t be wrong- loads of fun like a 60s Lotus on B roads but cruises effortlessly (and quietly) at over a ton, 40+ mpg wherever you go, room for 5 and luggage (and dogs if you must!) etc. and built like cast iron + never needed the dealer’s help. Plus you lose less than with competitors so relatively cheap to own. All the car you could ever want. The styling grows on you - stick with it!
Submitted: 2008-07-08 | ID: 1636
Probably the best car i have driven - overall. The diesel pulls from around 1300rpm all the way around to 4500rpm and the fuel economy averages around 46mpg without being driven too carefully. The handling is very good and the stability control quickly sorts out any loss of grip you may experience. On the downside the interior is a little cramped in the rear and the boot space isn’t that great due to the rear wheel arches intrusion. Also the standard fit radio is pretty awful in terms of maximum volume. It is almost like they hobbled it to make you buy an upgrade. I had an E46 before and it was much better as well as having 6 speakers rather than the 4, that the E91 has. The worst point are the looks. The E46 was, in my opinion a classic, whereas this ca looks like my 3 year old daughter made it from play dough. There are little or no styling nuances which set if part from the crowd. The coupe version looks nice and, like the radio, I wonder if they made the saloon and estate versions look dull on purpose. Having said that it, styling, space and radio aside, it is great to drive. Would I buy another? No, I’d buy a 5 series as they don’t cost much more (10% maybe) and have better looks, more room, more standard equipment and are only 5-10% less fuel efficient. The 5 series is as good to drive as well and having driven a 5 series after buying my 3 series I wonder why there are so many 3 series on the road? In summary a lovely car unless you want to use it to it’s potential and seat 4 or more people. My tip is to save up for a 5 series.
Submitted: 2008-05-28 | ID: 1500
Over-priced, over-rated and over-hyped snob-mobile. The so-called "Touring" is no better than a hatchback for which you pay a 1K premium over the saloon. The big selling point is the excellent handling (in the dry), but you pay for it with the ride. Mind you, it is a different beast in the wet. I have had scary moments at well under the speed limit! Harsh standard ride, and sport models are bone-shakers. Average quality standard kit, such as the radio and plastics, and the seats are uncomfortable and not supportive. Diesel engine more powerful and refined than competitors but still far too agricultural. Quiet on the motorway, though. Fuel economy is as claimed by the manufacturer - credit to them for that. The Auto box can’t make up it’s mind what gear to be in around town, so it "hunts" badly at times. Fiddly direction indicators are potentially dangerous. Ugly exterior stying is typical of the "Chris Bangle" era. Yes, it wins awards, But that is because all the enthusiasts care about who give out these awards is the handling. BOTTOM LINE: I wish that I had not wasted my money on this car.
Submitted: 2007-10-16 | ID: 300
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