I have owned my 318Ci for 18 months now and have to say it's the most refined car I’ve ever owned.
I’ve had faster, sportier cars but the BMW is in a class of its own. It handles bumps and undulations with consummate ease. The cabin is quiet and rattle free and the seats are supportive but a little firm - but this pays off on long trips.
I once drove from Croft in Yorkshire to Kent without stopping, and when I climbed out I had no aches or pains. The cabin at night is a great place to be, the orange glow from the clocks and overall cabin lighting gives an air of well being.
If I were buying again I'd go for a bigger engine, don’t get me wrong the 2.0Ltr Valvetronic is very good, but lacks low-end grunt.
If I had one real gripe, it's the dual-mass flywheel that makes pulling away smoothly very difficult.
Servicing costs are not too bad with £130 for the first and £190 for the second.
Yes, I’d have another. More to the point, though, what else would I have, as nothing comes close.
Its striking features are a superb diesel engine with plenty of low-down grunt and amazing acceleration. (You wouldn't think it was a diesel when driving, judging by the tone of the engine). It has super road holding when taking bends at speed (even in the wet), and very good running costs. It doesn't use much juice and insurance costs are reasonable.
A must is a fully leather interior, otherwise it will not quite feel that special. Equipment is well set out apart from the silly position of the hazard warning lights button. It should be in the driver's field of vision. Are you listening BMW?
The cabin does not quite match other marques for that luxurious feel. Instead it's rather more sporty. I am not a fan of the black aluminium cube trim and I don't think there is an adequate range of alternative trims available. Why couldn't I have had plain or brushed aluminium to go with the silver body?
Maybe more space is needed in the rear.
BMW have tweaked the 3-series body all over. Most noticebly at the front. The indicator lights curve upwards instead of down. I think this makes it look pretty, which is not what I want. The previous design had a more menacing look.
18" alloys fit the bill perfectly and give the right stance to the vehicle (more choice of wheel choice at 18" would be welcome, though).
Overall, a joy to have and drive.
I actually own the very car you feature in your road test photographs. It is an ex-BMW press car and as such has every conceivable extra I could ever want.
It is a complete joy to drive in all conditions and I look forward to the drive to work in it everyday.
It is smooth and refined when it needs to be, but powerful and responsive when the situation demands.
I test drove both this car and an M3 before buying and, while the M3 appealed for many of the obvious reasons already written about it, this car provided everything I wanted - without being a ridiculously expensive second-hand purchase.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
I once owned an 04 GT (the version with the stupidly heavy clutch - a built in gym for your left leg). I've driven both editions since and must say…
I bought my TT 2 years ago, second hand (99 model)with 40k on the clock. Since then it has done 40 more. Service costs have been £250 a time. Timing…