BMW 3 Series Saloon 2001-2005

BMW 3 Series Saloon 2001-2005

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • It’s a good looking car and offers practicality too
  • Superb handling and engines
  • High quality interiors and good levels of equipment

Cons:

  • It’s costly to run and maintain
  • Struggling to keep up with the ’coolness’ of Audi’s RS4

Overview

The M3 is a superb car that has built a reputation for being one of the fastest and most desired cars on the road. Not only does it look good, but it can be used as an everyday car as well as being an excellent driving machine that will give most high performance cars a run for their money around the Nurburgring. It combines comfort, style, performance and an excellent driving experience into one all-round car. A CSL model was also released for a limited time that offers even more performance than the original model. The CSL feels more at home on a race track than it does on the road though and isn’t as good as an everyday car.

Exterior and Interior

The M3 is available as either a coupé or convertible and both are only available as a two-door model. Inside there is space for four adults to sit comfortably in perfectly supported seats which make longer journeys a dream, although taller passengers may find the headroom restricted. In the CSL there’s just two front seats with the back seats being an optional extra. The boot is a good size and is able to hold enough luggage for a weekend away or a couple of sets of golf clubs. The cabin is pretty much identical to the standard 3-Series with the build quality being exceptional. The sporty dials and sports seats prepare you for what the car is capable of and what you are in store for when you start the engine. The CSL comes with an even sportier feeling than the standard model thanks to all the carbon fibre lashings dotted throughout. There’s just the one trim level available, however, it comes with plenty of kit as standard and for anything else you can expect it to be on the optional extra list.

Performance and Economy

The 3.2-litre engine is immense accelerating from 0-60mph in just 5.0 seconds and there is no let up all the way until it reaches its limited top speed of 155mph. It is also an excellent car for cruising on the motorway or simply driving around town in. It’s not the most economical of engines though returning just 21mpg. The limited edition CSL is even quicker reaching 60mph in 4.7 seconds and surprisingly is more economical too achieving 23mpg. Both models are fairly expensive to insure as both fall into group 20.

Like to Drive

Around town and at slower speeds the ride feels a bit firm, especially in the CSL where the ride can even become uncomfortable, but it’s a small price to pay for the superb handling the M3 provides. The steering is sublime with plenty of feedback and pin-point accuracy in the bends and there is almost no body roll. The CSL offers more of a racetrack feel and that’s where it feels more at home. The specialised tyres it comes fitted with aren’t as good on normal road surfaces especially in the wet. The body shell is less rigid in the convertible and as such doesn’t feel as settled over rougher road surfaces, but you will have to be flying along to really pick up on it. Engine and road noise is present in the cabin, but it never gets terribly loud and doesn’t detract from the overall driving experience.

Faults and Repairs

As the M3 is built to be driven hard you can expect there to be some problems that occur over time and these mainly are seen with the brakes and suspension. There have also been a few electrical faults reported and the gearchange I the SMG can feel fairly brutal. You may want to get an M3 checked out by a professional before parting with your cash, just to ensure there isn’t any crash damage or repairs you may not have spotted. Also try and find a model that has a full service history as it is likely to have fewer problems. The maintenance and servicing costs are going to be costly with BMW labour rates being more expensive than most of its rivals. It would be wise to hunt around for an independent specialist who should be able to cut your costs by up to half.


Overall Rating:
Review by adzzz
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Quality german engineering"

Exterior and Interior

The car is classic german styling, looks good although I'm always contemplating whether or not I should change the kidney grills for the black aftermarket ones as the chrome looks out of place. Still, it's a good looking car and is definitely a classic shape, it still turns heads especially after I've given it a good clean! Inside it's comfortable, seats 5 adults without too much of a problem although as I'm tall, if anyone is in the back they need to have little legs. Mine is full leather, and looks great.

Performance and Economy

I went for the diesel - performance is good at 150BHP, and with the six speed box and cruise control I've managed to get over 650 miles out of a (60 litre) tank on more than one occasion. Average combined is around 42-43 mh which for an eight-year old car is pretty decent.

Like to Drive

I drive a lot, I have a 25-mile (each way) commute into work so I spend a lot of time in the cabin. It's functional and comfortable, and handles well, whether motorway cruising or on country roads, I enjoy driving the car and it still makes me grin (even after 50,000 miles!) when I floor it! <

Faults and Repairs

Had a couple of recent issues but as the car is coming up to 128,000 miles it's to be expected. Recently had to replace rear brakes, springs and bushes all round, and also I recently lost the front crank pulley due to fatigue which was an expensive bill. Probably spent close to £2,000 on repairs on the car in the last 12 months including tyres - so not cheap to run but a quality motor and worth spending the money on.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value

Overall Rating:
Review by BLUE
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"just how it is..."

Exterior and Interior

Same old same old. Rusting around the arches - otherwise bodywork is sound. Interior is flawless, even after 10 years! good all round viability aided by a really comfortable heated driving seat. Alloy wheels and blacked out rear windows really make the car stand out in the car parks. Full-leather interior with carbon fibre inserts in dash and door panels really set the car off.

Performance and Economy

Pulls like a train. Awesome torque and performance. Fuel economy around the doors only returns 25.4mpg on a longer haul expect 40-45mpg. Gearbox is super. Depending on your mood and how you want to drive, you have 3 different gearbox modes. Normal auto mode, sports mode or simple steptronic up and down the 5speed box. All 3 options are super in their own right. Oodles of torque for overtaking, but watch out for wet slippy corners. Back end likes to snake around, even with traction control. The braking system is superb as you would expect from a performance BMW.

Like to Drive

as with all BMW's very poor in the snow, however winter tyres are an essential if you want to remain mobile. Simply a pleasure to drive, simply don't get tired of the grunt when you put your foot down,Careful in the wet though, all the power going through those wide back tyres can easily catch you out in the wet! fun! fun! fun! <

Faults and Repairs

constantly blowing headlight and sidelight bulbs...air bag warning light problem and washer bottle leaking...apart from that everything is AOK!!
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value

Overall Rating:
Review by Jamie L
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"BMW e46 318i 5 door"

Exterior and Interior

Extremely well designed saloon car, ideal for family, very large boot space helps with those family days out shopping as well as the leg room in the back. Very well spaced car, really does feel like you are driving a rear wheel drive vehicle. The exterior has a very sporty yet tame look, it has all the usual extras expected with any BMW: air con, traction control, on board computer. Cloth seats wear very easily over short period of time however the leather interior tends to last much longer. I actually upgraded my interior to the m sport interior for this reason.

Performance and Economy

The economy on this car for me was averaging around 33mpg around town but a moderate boost to 38mpg on long journey's. The 2.0 litre engine does not offer great performance results but the overall ride of the car does keep you smiling, the car is very solid and drives very smoothly.

Like to Drive

Overall the car offers a good smooth ride, acceleration power could be worked on but i understand that if you wanted acceleration power than you would opt for possibly the 325 or 330 models. If you want a BMW with good economy you wont get much better on petrol saloons then this derivative. <

Faults and Repairs

I unfortunately had to spend £1100 to repair a fault in pump, however this was because when put under diagnostics the fault would not register, so it had to be traced manually, I had the vacuum pump and a fuel pump replaced to correct this but went direct to a BMW franchise which was costly. Other than that the exhaust has a tendency to wear near the manifold quite easily and the vacuum pumps are quite common to get replaced.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value