Used BMW 3-Series Saloon (1998 - 2005) Driving & Performance

Review by Parkers on
In the closely fought compact executive market, one model stands out from the rest: the BMW 3-Series. It has history stretching back to the 1980s and has built a solid reputation, and is the car of choice for every young middle manager.
4.5 out of 5


Thirteen different engines are available across the 3-Series range from the base 316ti (1.8) to the supercar-rivalling M3 (3.2). Flexible and powerful new engines are the most sought after – especially the responsive, refined 330d diesel, which is a cut above other oil-burning executive models. The pick of the older engines are the four cylinder 318i - which is a good all-rounder and the incredibly quick and luxuriously smooth 328i/330i six cylinder cars.

4.5 out of 5


Larger than the model it replaced, this 3-Series is not the out-and-out driving machine like its forerunners. There are still kicks to be had, but it feels safer and more refined. Competitors like IS200 offer give it a good run for its money, but don't quite match the overall experience. You'd be hard pushed to tell which end is driven (the 3-Series isn't as tail happy as models of old) but it's safe and well-balanced yet still sporting, particularly the more potent or Sport spec models.