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BMW Reviews

Bayerische Motoren Werke built aeroplanes during WW1, but following the Armistice in 1918, it was banned from making flying machines. Instead it turned to motor cycles and cars; with its first being a licence-built Austin Seven named the Dixi. BMW quickly progressed into making onto its own very fine sports and touring cars including the lovely 328.

Turbulent times WW2, with BMW coming close to bankruptcy and turning to Isetta and 600 bubble cars to help sustain it after trying to re-establish itself with a glamorous V8 powered range built in Munich. The 700 and subsequent ‘Neue Klasse’ models from 1961 saved the firm, while 1973’s 2002 Turbo was the very first turbocharged road car to be made in Europe. Today’s BMW ‘Series’ cars are effectively an evolution of the Neue Klasse and 2002, and are established as some of the best cars that money can buy.

Good: Dignified beautifully-made BMW saloon, quick and powerful
Bad: Rare in the UK, and expensive - very expensive - to repair
Good: One of the most beautiful cars ever made, excellent performance, an all-time great
Bad: It costs an arm and a leg to buy one
Good: Packed with charm and fizzing with fun
Bad: Probably not ideal for a Friday evening on the M25
Good: Fast and elegant
Bad: Rare and expensive
Good: Four wheels for improved dynamics
Bad: Still has a front-opening door
Good: Good looking, economical, fun to drive
Bad: Rusty and getting parts in the UK can be a challenge
Good: Sporting models good to drive, and well made, BMW's future starts here
Bad: Rust is an ever-present problem
Good: Great to drive
Bad: Rot, high parts prices
Good: Easy to work on, solid, high quality components, great fun to drive
Bad: More 1960s and '70s BMW corrosion, high parts prices
Good: Fast and roomy, and very cool
Bad: Survivor numbers are low, rust and corrosion are can be extensive
Good: Big, pretty, pillarless coupe still looks fresh today, fast in all forms, but impressive all-rounder in fuel injected form
Bad: As with all BMWs of this era: rust and high parts prices
Good: Utterly cool and desirable
Bad: Everybody knows and values for this limited-run car reflect this.
Good: The first mass-produced European turbo car
Bad: Turbo lag, rust
Good: Timeless styling, wide range of four- and six-cylinder engines, excellent to drive, especially steering and gearchange
Bad: Rare, and rusty
Good: 323i is the iconic sports saloon of the era, fast and tuneful, build quality, ergonomics
Bad: 316 doesn't have the same all-round blend of appeal as the larger engined cars
Good: Room for four, fast in 635CSi form, well behaved, good looking and ever so cool in the right colour
Bad: Parts costs high, lots now now longer available, watch out for abused examples masquerading as cherished classics.
Good: Huge, sinister looking, wide and imposing
Bad: Tuneful engine encouraging fast driving, and that means heavy fuel consumption - especially in the smaller engined versions
Good: Drives like a proper supercar, despite having an apparent lack of cylinders
Bad: The usual supercar issues of visibility, practicality and running costs - but who cares?
Good: Great to drive with limited slip differential and Getrag gearbox, plenty of straight line speed too
Bad: The last of the rampant rusting BMWs
Good: Understated looks, fantastic performance and soundtrack, the definitive fast BMW sports coupe
Bad: M Sport engine can be very expensive to rebuild
Good: Good value, comfortable and - sometimes - pacey 1980s executive saloon, with many modern car features, such as ABS and variable servicing
Bad: Relatively worthless despite their advancing years, 535i can be a troublesome car to drive quickly in the wet
Good: Cracking drive, awesome six-cylinder soundtrack, and excellent performance, understated looks make this a brilliant Q-car
Bad: Rare and valuable now after years in the doldrums so very few bargains, expensive to run and - more relevantly - fix
Good: Image-defining 1980s saloon, lots of options, saloon, coupe, estate and convertible, as well as four- and six-cylinder engines, all well-engineered and good to drive
Bad: Lots of thrashed examples with questionable history, be careful when buying
Good: Sweet to drive, beautifully balanced handling, fast, agile, and possibly the finest sports saloon to emerge from the 1980s
Bad: Left-hand drive only
Good: Large barge with six- and V12-power, all drive well and go hard, lots of interior room, especially the long-wheelbase cars
Bad: Electronics problems in higher-mileage cars, high parts and servicing costs
Good: Great drop-down doors, good fun, and a sweet handler
Bad: Expensive for what it is
Good: Good to drive, roomy, great value at current prices
Bad: Not really seen as classic cars yet despite their age
Good: Brilliant super-saloon with excellent handling, strong performance, awesome soundtrack and communicative steering
Bad: Lots and lots of abused examples out there, horrendously expensive to fix engine faults - especially compared with low values for less-than-perfect cars
Good: Distinctive super coupe with strong performance
Bad: Bore liners can degrade on original 4.0-litre V8, V12 heavy on fuel
Good: Some great engines. Good ride and handling. Classy looks. Performed well in JD Power Customer Satisfaction surveys.
Bad: Electrical niggles. Some complaints over paint quality and assembly standards.
Good: Excellent build quality. Good balance of performance and economy. Plenty around to choose from.
Bad: Clocked mega-mileage ones around now. Average crash test rating. 316i and 318i are unremarkable to drive.
Good: Decent rear wheel drive handling. Some status. Plenty of choice.
Bad: Unremarkable looks. Turbo and injector problems with diesels. Hard on suspension components.
Good: Luxurious and capable, with a comfortable ride and decent handling.
Bad: Hard on tyres. Afflicted by wide-ranging niggles and problems. Bore liners of early V8s can degrade.
Good: Excellent drive on the road and very capable off it. Commanding road presence and sky-high image. Five-star crash test rating from June 2003.
Bad: High second-hand prices and expensive to run. Not pedestrian friendly in NCAP tests. Diesel engines susceptible to hydraulic lock if driven through floodwater.

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