I bought my used 316ti two years ago and can't fault it at all.
Petrol consumption is low, especially on long runs, but there's not a great deal of power in first gear.
Be sure to have good make tyres on the front, as it tends to vibrate at 90mph, otherwise it's very, very good.
Beware! The rear suspension springs in this car are prone to fail after only 20,000 miles. It costs £320 to replace them (though in our case BMW paid £140 toward the cost).
Searching the internet, this appears to be a common problem on this and on other 3 Series models (hence BMW's unprompted contribution? They should own up to a design flaw and pay the lot...). I'm not looking forward to spending another £320 in 20,000 miles, hence the low rating on running costs.
This is actually my wife's car. It's an automatic and the change is fairly smooth. The car feels very solid - a bit too solid, perhaps - the wide doors are quite heavy and you'll build up your muscles closing the hatchback! The ride is a bit firm, but I find the overall drive better than my Mercedes C-Class.
Anyway, my wife is happy with the car (which I suppose is what counts) and much prefers it to her previous car - a Golf convertible which had no end of problems and was a real bone-shaker.
I bought my 316ti brand new in December 2004. After two weeks, it developed a strange noise from the front of the car every time I started the engine. I can only describe the noise as a bag of loose nuts under the bonnet.
I took it back to the dealer who sold me the car, and the head technician said he also heard the noise when he examined the car - I was told at the time that there was nothing to worry about and to carry on using the car.
After numerous visits to the dealer with the same complaint, I am still waiting for the BMW dealer to rectify the problem - it appears to only make the noise after the manual air-conditioning has been in operation.
I would like to know if any other 316ti Compact owner has had the same problem. Apart from that, I have to say the car has been great to drive.
Bought this, second hand ( 18000 miles and 2003 ) a year ago. Fairly quiet and quite punchy for a diesel. So far no problems and very nice to drive on most road surfaces but I had a difficult to control skid on an oil slick / wet road on a sharp corner at low speeds ( 30 mph ).
Surprising thing was just how relaxing it is to drive over long distances eg from south of France to Boulogne via Paris in a day. Wife and I got out feeling as if we'd just been to the local Tescos. Seats are very firm and lumbar support very good even in base seat options.
Space fairly limited but, since its a hatch, more than you'd think. Also have driven diesel Mondeos and Avensis recently - no contest for driving pleasure but you just know that reliability is going to be better with Toyotas / Hondas. Initially thought Mondeo handled better but after some long journeys in a 130 ps TDci found it quite 'sloppy' on the road and annoying to drive.
60 mpg at 70mph on m'way for 20,000 miles a year. Round town and normal mileages about 48 mpg, driving carefully. Clog it and it drops to mid 30's.
Not the 'ultimate driving machine' nor anything like a hot hatch but a decent second hand buy.
I will use independant servicing and Warranty Direct rather than main dealers to keep running costs down. Am wary of turbo lifetime so warranty seems like a good buy.
Would probably buy a BM again IF this proves to be reliable.
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