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BMW 3-Series Compact 320td ES 3d (2003/53)

BMW 3-Series Compact 320td ES 3d (2003/53) - Owner Review

Currently getting 45-55 MPG, it's a great size, seats 4 people in comfort, looks great, drives very well either in urban or motorway conditions. Only criticism is the ride is fairly abrupt (especially over speed bumps) but hopefully dropping from 18" to 17" wheels will improve the ride comfort.
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Review submitted by
Richard Sharpe on

BMW 3-Series Compact (01-04)

Summary

4 out of 5

What does this car say about you?
Not much - it's just a car...

What do your friends / family / neighbours think of the car?
They think I've made a sensible yet enjoyable purchase. BMW reliability and build quality mean I will enjoy the car while I own it, and the resale value will be better.

Would you buy this car again and why?
I would, without hesitation. I'd like to try the 6 cylinder 2.5 litre model to see how the petrol engine version compares to the diesel. Love the torque of the diesel, and the economy, but miss having a petrol engined car which is traditionally more of a drivers car.

What are you likely to buy next?
Probably a BMW, maybe the next evolution of the compact which is obviously the 1 series. Coupé version is stunning to look at, and is a true evolution of the BMW E30 and other 3 series marques. That said, I'm extremely interested in electric/diesel hybrids, especially if they're small hatchbacks, and even more so if 4WD is an option. Lightweight, small engined cars with low emissions, low running costs, that are cheaper to insure, are definitely where we should be heading with car development.

Buying experience

3 out of 5

Type of dealer you bought from?
Independent

Did you buy this car new?
Used

What price did you pay?
£6,700

When did you buy the car?
April 2009

Did you get a good deal and why?
I did - the car had a previously repaired windscreen so I had that replaced before purchasing it, and it came with a 3 year warranty (from a third party).

Is there any special reason why you bought this car?
I wanted another BMW, and wanted a small hatchback. I'd heard from a friend that the compact was a good drive. Saw one in good condition, test drove it, and that was that.

What was the dealer like?
Not bad, but not great. They weren't prepared to fill the fuel tank up at all but after some pressing and haggling they did agree to put six months tax on the car.

Driving it

5 out of 5

What's it like to drive?
While the car is definitely solidly built and not the lightest car in this bracket, it remains very positive and engaging to drive, which makes it enjoyable under any conditions.

What's it like to park?
Very easy - electric mirrors tilt quickly to show where the kerb is, power steering allows the wheels to be turned freely and easily, and being a diesel you can park it just by easing off the clutch without needing any engine revs.

Living with it

4 out of 5

Have you had any problems with the car?
Rear brake hose failed and caused the disc/pads to become contaminated with fluid. Had the caliper and both discs/pads replaced under the warranty. Bushes are about to be replaced on the front - car came with 18" aftermarket MV2 alloys which are too hard for the car. Recently purchased 17" M-Sport BMW alloys to soften the ride a little. Car also has an annoying juddering/stuttering on occasion, which so far has not been isolated.

What's most practical about your car?
Currently getting 45-55 MPG, it's a great size, seats 4 people in comfort, looks great, drives very well either in urban or motorway conditions. Only criticism is the ride is fairly abrupt (especially over speed bumps) but hopefully dropping from 18" to 17" wheels will improve the ride comfort.

Favourite gadget, option or accessory?
Probably the quick-steer steering rack; it makes the car very agile and handle extremely well.

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