Like somebody else here, I got this car after returning a Saab convertible due to faults and a breakdown in the first month of ownership. Luckily it was leased and I was able to switch it for the BMW.
While this was being resolved, I borrowed a 320d SE which was amazing - solid, well built, extremely fast, practical, economical and good looking. Unfortunately the garage wanted it back after six weeks when my saloon arrived. It's not as good as the diesel but still a great car and the difference in quality between this and a Saab is very evident.
Among the annoying things are that the push start button is a pain, standard alloys on SE model are too small and look cheap, mine hasn't got a 'fin' for some reason, and the petrol feels sluggish after driving the diesel, but in all it is still a great car. No doubt the roads will be full of them soon - it's a boring option, but there are so many around for a reason.
I bought this car on a 55 reg at the end of September 2005. This is the first BMW I have owned after 19 years of driving and I must say I am extremely disappointed.
The good points are as follows. It's very poweful, smooth, and have a quiet six-cylinder engine. It has good handling, is a nice looking car, and has a good layout and room inside.
Now for the bad points. The interior squeaks and rattles more than our three-year old Honda, and it has been back at the dealership for over a week due to a broken camshaft. The dealer reluctantly gave me a new 320 hire car for the week.
In the hire car, if you put pressure on the footrest, it 'popped' in and out like the lid of a jam car. I don't think I've ever experienced such bad interior build quality in a car. Now I have my car back after the new camshaft, the interior lights have packed it in altogether and I'll be calling the dealer again tomorrow.
I thought I would vent some frustration here first, and warn anyone considering this car to look at something japanese first. I have never had a car with so many faults in such a short period of time. After paying nearly £30,000 for this car, I really would have expected perfection, but this car is certainly not the case.
I have now had this car for two weeks and have covered 2500 miles. My previous car was an 04 plate BMW 318i, and my initial impression is that the new 3 Series is an astonishing leap forward from what was already an extremely good car.
Addmitedly I have paid for a high trim level on my new vehicle, however the handling, acceleration, refinement and comfort are second to none. I have driven many different cars over the years within this class and there is nothing that touches the BMW.
My only disappointment is that I didn't go for the 325i. That said, I am absolutely delighted with the car.
I have driven a BMW 320d SE recently. The test car was fitted with 19-inch wheels with very low profile wheels tyres, but despite this it was still very quiet and rode wheel. Compared to my 325Ci, the performance felt as good - just don't expect the same sound track.
The test car also had wood and lemon yellow leather which looked very upmarket. My overall impression was of a very impressive all-round car, it's just a shame the extras cost so much. The only gripe is the height adjustment on the front seats. Also, unless large alloys are fitted and the colour is right, the new shape 3 Series can look awful!
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