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BMW 3-series E46 (1998 - 2005)

5
reviewed by Duncan Gafney on 18 August 2020
5
reviewed by Anonymous on 10 November 2018
5
reviewed by jim edgar on 18 July 2018
5
reviewed by Jonathan Pickard on 13 July 2018
4
reviewed by Anonymous on 7 April 2018
5
reviewed by Anthony Cope on 3 November 2017
4
reviewed by Jonathan Wells on 29 November 2016
5
reviewed by gleadam on 3 October 2016
5
reviewed by De Sisti on 21 February 2016
3
reviewed by pbirl on 7 February 2015
4
reviewed by enfield007 on 28 August 2014
1
reviewed by richalbin on 5 June 2014
5
reviewed by jm1 on 9 December 2013
4
reviewed by smartweasel on 29 October 2013
4
reviewed by AJPM on 6 June 2013
5
reviewed by Will Green on 20 April 2013
5
reviewed by Tom S-S on 21 January 2013
3
reviewed by pieeater on 28 December 2012
4

318i SE Touring Auto

reviewed by maddicksman on 28 October 2012
4
Overall rating
4
How it drives
3
Fuel economy
4
Running costs
3
Cost of maintenance and repairs
5
Experience at the garage or specialist
4
How practical it is
4
How you rate the manufacturer
4
Overall reliability

Smooth, comfortable and well built

This car replaced my E36 325TDS, and has the 143 bhp engine. It has been generally reliable until last year with only a replacement battery required. In October 09 (at 8 years old and 42000 miles) the front discs (and pads) were changed together with the rear suspension springs, one of which had broken. Incidentally I understand from my dealer that the spring in question (the smaller of the pair on each side) can be left broken with no adverse effects other than a slight deadening of the ride. However, in April this year (after only 1100 miles) the left front caliper seized (progressively) and ended up scoring the (new) discs, so these were replaced again! Apart from these problems only tyres, servicing and an A/C top up have been required and it has been a reliable car.
It is good to drive and the 143 bhp engine is smooth and can deliver adequate power when required. Fuel consumption from the auto box is average as you would expect - around 25 mpg in town, with 32 achievable on motorway runs at the legal limit and an average of about 27.
Oct 2012 (52,700m). Since my last input the car has required some work (but nothing which kept me off the road) in the last year related to well-known model problems, as follows:
Heater "hedgehog" replaced. A/C top up. Oil leaks rectified - rocker cover, vacuum pump, and the seals for the two microswitches on the front of the engine which control the valve timing. Now we have no more hot oil smells in the cabin.
The main point I would like to make is that this continues to be a very refined and capable car, which I can honestly say compares very well with the E91 (I just bought a nearly new one with identical spec so I can make a valid comparison). True the E46 handling is not so sharp, and the mpg some 20% worse than the E91 but it remains a taught and rewarding car. There is no trace of body rust and despite a majority of muddy country lane driving the underside is sound and corrosion free. Anyone with limited funds to spend could do far worse than a used E46 but check the service history and previous owner's bills file if it is available.

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2
reviewed by 320touring on 17 July 2012
2
reviewed by 320touring on 17 July 2012
2
reviewed by ploddit on 28 May 2012
3
reviewed by RupertRocks on 17 October 2011
3
reviewed by RupertRocks on 17 October 2011
4
reviewed by 01884* on 22 March 2011
5
reviewed by fady on 18 August 2010

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5
submitted by Anonymous
4
submitted by Surrey59
5
submitted by Anonymous