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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The 3 Series' sharp chassis means it’s better to drive than its rivals

Against The looks are questionable, while rear passenger legroom is very tight

Verdict A fine-handling, premium-badged hatchback, but not as spacious as a VW Golf

Go for… 318ti (140bhp)

Avoid… 316i

BMW 3 Series Compact
  • 1. Check the engine out thoroughly on a test drive, as some early versions had misfire problems
  • 2. Alloy wheels are easily kerbed, which can knock the tracking out
  • 3. The deep front bumper is prone to stone chips, so check it carefully
  • 4. Ensure that recall work on the fuel injection pump was carried out
  • 5. If high-mileage diesels smoke on heavy acceleration, walk away
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