Bought this as I wanted a BMW 6 cyl but not a barge for communting. Liked the Mini but could not see why they were so much more money for less car (and front wheel drive to boot). With the 325 you also get all the electronic aids as standard, plus better chairs and more kit.
After 18,000 miles in 18 months it has been a delight, but would not want it without the (excellent) warranty. Bought from a main dealer - cheapest car on the forecourt! - and been back for numerous engine management gremlins. Finally diagnosed as lazy valve actuator on cyl 4 (formerly tappet) - all 24 replaced under warranty. Also had new door lock, hatcback rams, and now pending radio and/or rear window aerial. All these things would be livable with if not repaired, but nice to get sorted.
Whilst they have the car I get a new 3 series loan car - quieter on the road, but I do not rate the modern dash. It no longer 'wraps round' the driver nor is it angled towards you.
Running costs OK - stretched to 17k between services and 30+ mpg rising to 35 on longer runs, a small price for the soundtrack and grunt when needed. Needs approx. 3 litres of oil betwwen services as well.
I've only it a couple of weeks, upgraded from a Mini - bought a BM as I like them and they gave me the best trade in for my Mini.
Fantatsic to drive - very quick, sounds incredible, but is thirsty when thrashed. Its also surprisingly quite and comfortable, it cruises well, which is one fo the reasons I bought it - I have a 76 mile commute and the Mini was tiresome at best. Mine has full leather, 18inch MV wheels etc and looks good (I really wanted a Coupe but couldn't find a good one for the money I wanted to spend).
The only downside is that its due to go back to the dealer for a couple of minor issues (I bought from a BM main dealer for the warranty - had 3 Minis all of which had lots of issues, but they where always sorted out under warranty).
If driven sensibly, I'm averaging around 32mpg on my commute including some enthusiastic driving down the country lanes if I go the long way! On a long motorway slog, its very good - had up to 35 out of it sitting on the M1 at 70 for a couple of hours.
So far, very happy - a big improvement over the Mini.
I bought this car as it was the limit of performance and quality that i could afford within 40,000 miles. It has not let me down- the straight six is smooth as silk, aurally pleasing and properly rapid. Interior is a classy pleasure, i recommend the leather!
As for reliability, the Compact is the only German car in the top 10 in What Car's recent reliability survey. I have driven 10,000 miles and had no problems so far, the whole car feels tight as a drum and i would believe it was brand new if it wasn't for slight wear in the leather. Brake pads needed replacing at 40,000 miles but was not too problematic.
If you need to transport 4 tall people regularly and are not willing to live with low mpg (i get about 27) then consider alternatives! I love the firm suspension and massive wheels which allow it to corner on rails with no body roll, but the compromise is the bumpy ride over bumpy roads.
Otherwise, if you are looking for some class, style, speed and a touch more originality than a Golf / A3 then i can't think of a better car in the price bracket
This is my first ever BMW and from that first test drive in my 316ti Sport I have to say "once driven your smitten".
I haven't owned any type of sports car before: my 316 handles like one on sharp corners at 40mph, but lacks accleration in first and second. But even though I keep it revved up during gear changes it doesn't burn a drop of oil.
Speaking of oil, a warning to you 316 owners: always check the oil level after a service as at two separate BMW garages my oil was overfilled by approx one litre! This is a bad thing for an engine as it will lead to gasket leaks. Since I've had my car I've noticed the patch of oil that was on the sump underneath isn't there any more.
I'm really pleased with this car: it's still an eye catcher, but I'd love a Z4 Coupe instead. Ah well, I'll keep trying the lottery.
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