To go BMW or not?

Dave

Distinguished Member
Hi all, following my recent accident I'm looking for a new car.

The problem is MPV's simply aren't floating my boat. While I love the practicality of them, we rarely go away, carry more than us 2 and the 2 kids or need the space it offers.

I'm also struggling to find one in the spec level I want. So, am I mad to start looking at old 3 series BMW's? I can easily get a high miler 2 litre diesel for 3 to 4 grand which is what I'll be getting from the insurers for my old car and the spec level and overall quality will be miles ahead of any MPV I can get.

I'm just unsure on running costs and space, I doubt I'd even get the pram in the boot of a 3 series to be honest.

So anyone got any opinions?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I don't know how big your pram is, but the boot on my 3 series Touring isn't a bad size. Although it's a newer model I don't think they have changed that much over the years.

However, read up about various issues on the diesel BMWs such as 'swirl flap failure' to make sure you don't get caught out. I think they've improved in recent years, but I get 47-48mpg out of my 320d Touring and I don't drive ecomonically. If I do then it easily gets over 50 mpg and that's with over 180PS under my right foot.

I never did understand the mentality of buying a car that can fit everything in it (like you might need once a year for going on holiday for example). We managed fine when my son was a baby and his sister was 9 and we had a 5 series saloon and the OH had a Ford Orion. When I was young my parents had a Mini Cooper S and I had 3 sisters, so 6 of us in a Mini (not a BMW Mini either of course). :D
 

djbsom

Well-known Member
hi Dave, I can't think of a better all round family car than a 320d tourer. individuals might fine tune the exact model (I would go for a 330d with an auto box) but just browse a few car magazines and see the glowing reports for yourself.
Dave.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Yes it is thirstier, but it depends who you ask as to how much: 330d owners seem to claim that it's nearly as economical as the 320d, though I think you might have to drive with a pretty light foot to achieve that. Doesn't seem much point having a car that you can't afford to put your foot down in (to me) so rather have the 320d and be able to drive without worrying since I know it'll always get me enough mpg to mean my business miles are covered. I couldn't have a 330d for work anyway, so not really applicable to me, but you get the sentiment I hope.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
Cheers folks, I'm pretty much set on a 3 series. Just need to talk the wife round. :D

I've found a 2005 320D SE with FBMWSH for just 4 grand. :eek:

I'll go and have a look tomorrow.
 

djbsom

Well-known Member
Is the 3 litre diesel much thirstier than the 2 litre?
I don't think there is much in it but that is what I meant by different folk "fine tuning" the model choice. I don't use my "personal use" car much as I use my school car 90% of the time. This means I don't really care what mpg or ins group my play car is. So, I place things like driveability, engine noise and relaxed distance munching higher than the qualities that I judge my school cars by.
That's why I like cars like 530i, xj 4.0, various cars with the rover/buick v8, Senator 3.0 (remember those?), etc.
For someone looking for a recent "all in one car" where mpg and ins group are considerations - I would go for the smaller engine. You never really feel too under powered, it's just a shame the engine doesn't sound BMW'ish.

Dave.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice guys, I'm also looking at the 2 litre petrol models due to the low mileage we tend to cover.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
You'll probably get a new/lower mileage car for your money by looking at the petrol version, but take into account that when you come to sell it there will be much less demand. As much as I love my 3.0 petrol Z3 weekend 'toy' I know it won't be easy to sell in the future, though I don't intend selling it any time soon, so not an issue, but something to take into account depending on your circumstances.

There may be less to go wrong with a petrol model too, but don't think that they are unbreakable: BMW seemed to like using plastic impellers on their water pumps for example, which aren't as durable as metal ones. Mine was replaced just before I bought the Z3 otherwise I'd have done that job soon after.
 

ab1385

Member
I found the 3 series relatively small, and ended up with the 520d instead.

Depends on how much you'll be carrying passengers in the back, and how much you'll be carrying prams and other things at the same time.

I'm not sure how prices vary between 3 and 5 at that age, but there wasn't that much in it for a high-ish milage 3 year old model.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice all, put a deposit down on a 2004 318i petrol this morning.

77k, FSH, all the toys, leather etc, 12 months MOT, 6 months tax for the princely sum of just £3800. Drives great and is a fantastic bargain in my opinion.

I doubt the pram will fit in the boot but meh, we'll have to get a new pram.

Have been researching the diesels and the flap valve problem has put me off the high milers.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
E46 330D owner here :)

I had the swirl flaps removed for ~£180, and i'm getting 37.5mpg, thats motorway, and driving in London.
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
E46 330D owner here :)

I had the swirl flaps removed for ~£180, and i'm getting 37.5mpg, thats motorway, and driving in London.
That's pretty good for a 330. :eek:

Had we been doing more than about 6k a year I'd have considered removing the swirl flaps after getting a diesel but it's just not worth it in the long run.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
That's pretty good for a 330. :eek:
Sure is, done 470 miles on my current tank, with a little less than a quarter tank left.

That's the usual drive to work and gym, then a 70 miles each way trip round the M25, and spirited mileage on some country roads in Sussex.
 

markymark34

Well-known Member
If you can afford a 3L diesel do it without hesitation. Ive had several; 36mpg - 40mpg mixture of a roads but mostly town stuff (my average speed is 23mph) currently sitting at 38.1 mpg average over last 2 tanks. I get 42 easily on more normal driving.
 

booyaka

Moderator
I average around 36/37mpg on my 530D Auto. That easily over 40 on a long motorway run.
 

KyleS1

Distinguished Member
I doubt the pram will fit in the boot but meh, we'll have to get a new pram.
Is it a double pram? Our pram fits in my missus' polo without any issues, so not sure how one won't fit in a 3 series tourer?
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
The 330D should give you a pretty decent mpg. For the age you are looking for the 320D sounds like an old transit engine ticking away, whereas the 330D engine is smooth as silk!
 

sdb123

Distinguished Member
KyleS1 said:
Is it a double pram? Our pram fits in my missus' polo without any issues, so not sure how one won't fit in a 3 series tourer?
I think Dave is getting a saloon.
 

eob

Member
Don't know what the newer BMW 6 cylinder Diesels are like, but I had a 2001 530D Sport.
Proper fire and brimstone power and torque, just kept pulling. Mated with the ZF auto box it was awesome.
40 MPG was achievable with careful driving (hard to believe that my current Audi 2.0TDi struggles to get that today).
I took that car to over 150,000 miles and other than tyres and servicing it only ever needed a cam shaft position sensor.
It's 320 EDs that they all drive at my work and although they get 60MPG+, as Greg said, they sound like a van!
 

sdb123

Distinguished Member
eob said:
Don't know what the newer BMW 6 cylinder Diesels are like, but I had a 2001 530D Sport.
Proper fire and brimstone power and torque, just kept pulling. Mated with the ZF auto box it was awesome.
40 MPG was achievable with careful driving (hard to believe that my current Audi 2.0TDi struggles to get that today).
I took that car to over 150,000 miles and other than tyres and servicing it only ever needed a cam shaft position sensor.
It's 320 EDs that they all drive at my work and although they get 60MPG+, as Greg said, they sound like a van!
The latest 6 cylinder diesel (I drove the new 330d saloon) is a hell of a drive and mates superbly with the auto box. The performance on offer, with good economy, is amazing.
 

eob

Member
The latest 6 cylinder diesel (I drove the new 330d saloon) is a hell of a drive and mates superbly with the auto box. The performance on offer, with good economy, is amazing.
Do the new 3.0 Diesels have twin turbos? Or is that just the 3.5 Diesel?
 

KyleS1

Distinguished Member
The 335 is a 3.0 twin turbo isn't it? Not a 3.5.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Yep, 330 and 335 both use the same 3l engine. Single turbo on the 330 and twin turbo on the 335.
 

eob

Member
Thats right, I keep forgetting that the BMW badge doesn't indicate CC.
So the more powerful one has the twin turbo?
Mine just had a massive Garrett turbo. Lovely.
 

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